Small-business owners are oftentimes notoriously bad at balancing their time. It’s easy to slip into the habit of working all hours of the day and night, wishing for more time and hoping that one day we’ll find a way to manage both our work schedule and our personal life. It can get overwhelming, especially at the beginning--but it doesn’t have to stay that way.
Below are five pro tips on how to manage your schedule, and make sure you’ve got all your bases covered throughout the work day.
1. Work chronologically
For many, the hardest part of the day is the beginning. Where is the best place to start? Where did I leave off? What takes priority? It can be like a blank page staring you in the face.
Leah Weinberg of Color Pop Events tackles one thing at a time based on deadlines. “When it comes to tackling client work, if I have a lot on my plate and can't figure out where to start, I just start working chronologically,” she explained. “I look at what my next wedding is and I'll address any open to-do's on that wedding first. And then the next one, and then the next. By virtue of the industry we're in, our work prioritizes itself in a way, which is pretty fantastic.”
2. Leave with a clean slate
Nothing feels better then walking into the office knowing that everything is organized and ready to go. Morgan Montgomery of Paisley and Jade feels the same way, so she makes it a priority to have a clean workspace every day.
“At the end of each workday, I leave time to clean up my workspace and set it up for the next day,” she explains. “This includes jotting my schedule for the next day on a notepad right next to my phone, filing away any paperwork that’s been piling up throughout the day, and making sure all mail has been opened.”
3. Master your calendar
In this day and age, nearly everyone lives on their calendar, so having yours under control is imperative to managing your schedule. From appointments to to-do reminders, everyone’s calendar is different, but should be organized to a tee.
“I give myself time to get to places, and I set reminders on my calendar if I need to check in with people the day before,” said Katie Doherty of La Rousse Shoppe. “If it's in the calendar, it's set in stone. I don't cancel on people, and I don't change plans
4. Schedule in time for email
Email is one of the most important forms of communication we have with clients, colleagues and other vendors. However, you can’t let it take over your whole day or you won’t get anything else done.
“For me, it's really important that I keep my inbox under control or it can throw the whole day off,” explains Kevin Dennis of WeddingIQ. “I've marked set times into my workflow to write and respond to emails so that I'm not checking it every 10 minutes, and can be focused on other important tasks that need to be completed.”
5. Be sure to check in
Being checked in to what your team is doing and what projects they are working on should be an obvious priority for any business owner, but you would be surprised how many will let weeks go by without ever asking how things are going. Set aside time every week, even if it’s just 15 minutes, to see how everyone is doing and to keep them updated on what you’re working on as well.
Brittany Ault of Classic Weddings Group shares her policy: “Weekly mandatory meetings for all departments help everyone in each specific department to stay connected and caught up,” she explains. “It's important that everyone is on the same page, especially when it comes to dealing with a customer's issues or system changes!”
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.