Let’s face it: being an entrepreneur isn’t easy, and being a mom isn’t either. If you’re both a mom and an entrepreneur, it can get overwhelming pretty quickly. And it always seems like there’s not enough time in the day to get to everything that needs to be done.
To get a bit of perspective on the issue, we sat down with Shay Cochrane, a self-employed photographer and mother to see what she had to say. Fortunately, you don’t have to choose between your family and your work! By picking up just a few helpful habits, you can become the powerhouse entrepreneur mom you’ve always aspired to be!
Chances are, you started your journey as an entrepreneur without an structure, but hear us out for a bit. As both an entrepreneur and mom, you have to consider how to balance your two obligations. You can’t exactly ignore one for a bit to catch up on the other. With only 24 hours in the day, how is it possible to do everything that needs to be done, let alone have time to yourself after? The answer is structure.
Though you may be thinking of the standard 40-hour work week, this structure looks different for everyone. Shay, for example, only spends two eight-hour days a week on her business and devotes the rest to family. At first glance, 16 hours a week seems like an impossibly low amount of time to keep the business up and running. Once you get into the details, however, it’s an ingenious and extremely polished system that anyone can use.
The 16-Hour Work Week
So, how does Shay do a week’s worth of work in two days? It’s as simple as using her 8-hour day effectively. Rather than go into her day looking for things to do, she’s already planned her entire day down to the minute, leaving no time wasted. From there, all that’s left to do is eliminate any distractions and get to work. This allows her to do an incredible amount of work in an incredibly short window of time.
Strangely enough, the most important part of her routine is that she only has 16 hours to get everything done. She treats this as a hard cutoff, not something she can bend if she needs to. Once the 8-hour day is done, it’s done, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. No messages, no emails, nothing. Though there may be leftover tasks that are bothering her, they’ll just have to wait until later.
This essentially means she’s forced to make the best use of her 8 hours. Allowing overtime would defeat the purpose of the system. Allowing what should be free time to become “one more task” time and eventually bleed into family days. The eight-hour restriction sets up a cut-and-dry boundary between work and family, giving her plenty of time to attend to both.
Know What Works
Even if you’re able to balance your business with your family, you’re still only human. You can only do so much before you have to recharge your body and mind. Build your schedule around your needs, not the other way around.
To ensure you’re able to do this, figure out where most of your time is going, where it needs to be going, and which products or services are performing best. While it can be difficult to view your own progress from an objective standpoint, you need to know which products and tasks will be the most effective use of your time.
Shay recommends using Tim Ferris’ 4-hour workweek method. Consider how you would run your business if you could only work for 4 hours every week. Naturally, a few tasks will come to mind that you can’t neglect, so you’ll end up prioritizing those. Now, consider whether or not you’re currently doing those tasks. Prioritize those, and then you’ll be able to see the places where you can save time and cut down your work hours.
The same goes for products. If you only had 4 hours a week to sell products, you wouldn’t want to waste time on the ones that aren’t as profitable. Figure out which products are providing the highest yield, and focus on promoting them over their less popular cousins.
The result of this method is a much more streamlined version of your business, one that still does everything it needs to do, but doesn’t waste any time on the less important things. The time this new model saves comes right back to you and your family, allowing you to be both a present parent and a successful entrepreneur!
If you want to listen to our full podcast with Shay Cochrane, check it out here!