Being an entrepreneur and running a successful home-based business is stressful at times, and can be hectic. Success within a home-based business though, absolutely demands time management skills, or the chores that need to get done will be left undone, and procrastination, as well as a serious "personal time deficiency" will occur.
Several studies have shown that many first-time entrepreneurs spend too much time on "non-essential" activities within a business, activities that have nothing to do with business, or that have little impact on business success. At the end of each business day (when it finally ends), they are left feeling stressed out, burned out, separated from their personal lives, and worse yet, with a feeling of non-accomplishment and inefficiency.
You probably have met entrepreneurs like this occasionally in your own life. They constantly seem "busy", yet they are constantly late for appointments, don't ever have time to attend personal activities or outings, and are always stressed out about what still "needs to be done" each and every day!
A "personal time deficiency" occurs when an entrepreneur seems to spend all their time either working on the business, or thinking about the business. The entrepreneur can neglect family, friends, activities and personal pleasures, in pursuit of business functions. This is not only counter-productive to the business (creativity shines through when entrepreneurs also schedule time away from the business), but personal losses can occur to the entrepreneur. Horror stories abound about divorce among entrepreneurs, shattered family lives, and personal ruin.
What causes "personal time deficiencies"? A variety of factors:
1. An entrepreneur does not sufficiently plan every activity during the working day, with a pre-set amount of time allotted for each business activity. Without an active "work schedule", an entrepreneur can feel unrestricted, and therefore spend too much time on some activities and not enough on others. All activities should be done "on schedule" if possible and within a certain amount of time. Too much "fussing" over each activity will lead to very little accomplishment each day. Neglect of other activities will lead to a sense of little accomplished.
2. An entrepreneur becomes distracted quite easily during the business day. Personal phone calls and activities need to be kept to a minimum. If an entrepreneur were working outside their own business, for someone else, they would not have the luxury of "dropping everything" and going shopping or out to lunch, if time were not allotted for this! Also, family members and friends could not drop in and "visit" whenever they liked. A work-at-home business needs to be viewed as any other type of employment, where personal distractions could not, and do not exist!
3. Lack of a succinct business plan that effectively spells out business activities that need to be completed in an organized step-by-step fashion and that entails certain accomplishments within a certain timeframe. A business plan is essential for success in any work-at-home business, just as in bigger businesses. A business plan is the "blueprint" used for mapping out "where" a business is headed, and just "when" it will arrive! A good business plan will have weekly, monthly and yearly growth accomplishments built into it, with planned implementations towards that growth.
4. An entrepreneur does not possess enough self-motivation to "be their own boss". Half the battle of running a successful home-based business is having the correct mindset to do so. The gap between "employee thought processes" and "business owner processes" must be bridged before business organization is accomplished. Motivation is different in an entrepreneurial endeavor, as no "boss" is standing over the entrepreneur, making certain they finish the allotted chores each day.
5. An entrepreneur does not actively "separate" business and personal time in their minds, and plan their personal time as effectively as they do their business activities. Having personal time will refresh and energize, not distract from the success of a home-based business. It is absolutely necessary to plan personal activities into each day, and also stick by the plan for those activities. This is an emotional health issue, and one that needs consideration by every entrepreneur, as it is oftentimes too easy to become caught up in the business to the exclusion of all else.
Overall, all the above aspects need to be managed in order to balance an entrepreneurial lifestyle. The life of an entrepreneur is without a doubt, an "atypical" lifestyle. It is a lifestyle that needs more work and more determination than other types of lifestyles. Time and energy can be balanced in this lifestyle, but it may take a while to achieve this. When a balance is achieved, "time starvation" will disappear!
Vishal P. Rao is the owner of: http://www.work-at-home-forum.com/
An online community of people who work at home.