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SAHM/Small business do you manage your time wisely & still manage to sleep!?

Or work in any time to de-stress?
I'm a military wife, SAHM and a photographer. My schedule is always hectic and I always seem to be rushing to try and fit everything in. It gets so overwhelming at times that, while I love what I do, there are moments when I don't even want to crawl out of bed, lol. I'm horrible at time management and I have this awful pension to try and please everyone and of course, that never works. It may for the various people I'm trying to please, but not 100% of the time and certainly never for my own health & peace of mind. I say "YES!" to everything before I've even thought about what effects it will have on me which is a horrible habit that I've been actively trying to break. It's going okay, but now I need to work on managing my time more efficiently so that I can actually be here for my family when they need me &/or take care of myself instead of focusing all my energy on working ALL THE TIME. I don't want my passion for photography to turn into just another stressful workload or deadline that I have to fulfill - I want to enjoy it! If this sounds familiar to you, I'd love to hear how you coped :) Thanks!


Asked by SpiffySnaps at 2:25 AM on Apr. 14, 2011 in Money & Work

Level 10 (440 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (7)
  • My DH and I went through this the first couple of years we were in business....I don't necessarily regret it, because we did what we had to do to get our company established, even if that meant going out on service calls at night or on Sundays, answering work calls after hours, etc. But eventually, we got to the point where we didn't NEED to do that anymore (if we missed a call, it was okay--our schedule was full anyway) and it was burning us out, big time. We just had to set some boundaries between our professional and personal lives. That meant that I put the phone on answering service by 5:30 and didn't feel guilty. If a customer asks us to do something we don't want to do (outside the scope of our normal services, or on an unreasonable time line), then we apologetically explain why we aren't going to be able to comply, and then try to recommend an alternative for them. You HAVE to learn to manage your time and boundaries.

    Answer by vicesix at 5:19 AM on Apr. 14, 2011

  • When I had a small business out of my home I made sure there were blocks of time that I had just to myself and family. Figure out some blocks of time that you need to have like Sunday afternoons, Thursdays, whatever and make it known that you are not free during those times for business, ever! And set a time at night when your day is over and where you stop doing business related things. Just like a store posts its hours you have to have business hours that you keep. You do not have to explain why you are not available during these hours. Your business is simply not open then. GL!!

    Answer by elizabr at 8:07 AM on Apr. 14, 2011

  • Thanks for your answer :) I imagine everyone just starting out goes through something like this and it's just something I'll have to adjust to the way everyone else does.
    You mentioned going out on calls at night or on Sundays, after hours, ect...I had a question about that. Did the customers you gained from that still expect you to do it after you got to that point where you didn't need to anymore? I seem to get stuck doing things a certain way and I feel like if I do it for one person, I have to do it for everyone and that's not always a feasible option when I have more of a workload than I had before. I'm trying to sort of back away from those bad habits slowly, but maybe I should just cut it out altogether rather than trying to do it gradually...Food for thought. Anyway, thanks again for the answer :)

    Comment by SpiffySnaps (original poster) at 8:09 AM on Apr. 14, 2011

  • elizabr: Thanks a lot for your answer, too! That definitely makes sense and I've been wanting to build a schedule for myself for a while now. Just trying to meet the deadlines I have now and then start making regular hours. I do have a bad habit of feeling guilty when I can't accommodate someone at all times, but that's something I'm just going to have to get over. :)

    Comment by SpiffySnaps (original poster) at 8:12 AM on Apr. 14, 2011

  • SpiffySnaps, it really depends on the customer and the situation, as far as whether they expected "favors" from then on out. Sometimes, we have to go out on last-minute or emergency calls, because that's the nature of our business, and we accept that. But we noticed that with SOME customers, once you did it once for them, they expected you to do it all the time. I can think of one in particular who would always wait until the very last minute to call us, then expect us to squeeze her in somewhere, which complicated our schedule. Finally, after having her do this for the 10th time, I told her no, I just couldn't do it, I had nowhere to squeeze, and that I was very sorry. She didn't want to call anyone else, so she ended up just having to wait. From then on, she did a better job of trying to call us ahead of time. If she had moved on and found someone else, that would have been okay too--nobody needs a customer who is a PITA.

    Answer by vicesix at 9:12 AM on Apr. 14, 2011

  • Anyway, I guess my point is that YES, you should set up some boundaries, some policies, some regular hours, but to a certain extent, you need to remain flexible as a small business owner. Go on a case-by-case basis as far as who you make exceptions for...for example, if a new customer calls me out of the blue, wanting to schedule for a Sunday, the answer is no 99% of the time. However, if one of my VIP customers calls and needs a Sunday because it has to coordinate with something going on in their lives, then the answer will likely be yes. We're willing to go out of way for our very good loyal customers. Many of them refer a lot of business our way and it's only the right thing to do to treat them like a VIP (not to mention a smart business move!).

    Answer by vicesix at 9:15 AM on Apr. 14, 2011

  • I use Outlook to manage my time. And the word "no" is in my vocabulary

    Answer by rkoloms at 9:05 PM on Apr. 14, 2011