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Reality Bites #1 – You Only Get 24 Hours A Day

Will she make soap too, some day?
Will she make soap too, some day?

I’ve been wanting to share with you some of the lessons I have (and am still learning) as a very green entrepreneur. Although it has been largely introspective thus far, I reckon that by giving my thoughts a written voice, not only would I remind myself how I have grown, but perhaps I could help some people out there who are thinking of starting their own business too.

Most of what you’ll find in this series, I expect, would be my experiences and what I got out of them. They aren’t by any means an expert’s advice, but rather a peek into how one young entrepreneur, a mother of two toddlers, grapples with the business of making and selling handmade soap.

So to get the ball rolling in this inaugural post of Reality Bites, I’d like to talk about time management.

Many friends and acquaintances have complimented me on being able to juggle my many roles and interests, and seemingly do well in all of them–daughter, wife, sister, mother, and currently a student in yoga and pole dancing. AND I’m still having fun while I’m at it.

It’s not entirely effortless, and getting it ‘right’ saw me making some mistakes along the way.

Deciding how much time, and *at which part of the day* to commit to a particular activity is the way I’ve ended up doing things. It has mostly served me very well, and even better when I scrutinized my priorities and desired end results. I’ll try to explain.

Being Overwhelmed, With Underwhelming Results

There was a point in time when I felt like I was really in over my head. There were so many things expected of me from other parties till I felt there was very little of me left to go around. The guilt was worst when it came to the kids, because in my fervour to work on Kinder Soaps I didn’t pay them as much attention as I should have (well, I think so anyway). I was sleeping late because of work, getting up only when one of the kids began shrieking for attention in the morning, chugging coffee for the sake of getting an artificial mental boost. My family got whatever of me that was left over after I got all sorts of other demands out of the way.

Needless to say, everything was out of balance.

The Thing That Finally Made A Difference

It was a simple act of one day taking some time to make peace with the reality of my having to wear many hats at this point in time. Bellyaching about not having enough time to do everything was never going to be fruitful (and in itself also a total waste of precious time!), so I made the decision that I was going to enjoy the process of juggling my roles instead.

It began with writing down on paper, my *desired end results*. For instance, I wanted to really engage with the kids in their every waking moment with the kind of energy and enthusiasm that could only be possible with me getting a proper night’s rest. I also wanted very much to develop Kinder Soaps in all aspects, encompassing marketing, networking, content writing, experimenting and of course, making soap.

I then attached a very strong “why” to all my desired end results. With regards to the children, it is imperative that my husband and I bring them up to be useful and responsible individuals, able to contribute to their community in whatever way possible. And for Kinder Soaps, I want it to be a vehicle with which to give back to society, apart from being a source of steady, passive income for my family.

Once I had the “whys”, the “hows” came very easily. It was easy to put a stop to handling the more complex business affairs on my netbook whenever the children were awake. Instead I have been playing and interacting with them fully, setting my work aside for the evenings when they are asleep. When they were napping in the afternoons, I could sneak  in a little time to do the easier business stuff (like taking photos of my soap), but mostly I try to plan what activities to fill their time with.

With my conscience clear that I spent quality time with the kids during the day, I could really put the right kind of energy and focus into my work with Kinder Soaps once they were both in bed. It seems that I have been able to work more efficiently, and going to bed a little earlier each night is getting easier.

My passions now dovetail quite nicely, and I feel less burdened at the end, and start, of each day. What a difference it has made.

So that’s how I’ve dealt with my time management issues. How about you?

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