5 Steps to Organize Your Business and Get Your Life Back

Time management, tech tools and finding that illusive work-life balance

Chapter 01: 5 Steps to Organize Your Business and Get Your Life Back

Managing and growing a business in today's fast-paced, technology-driven landscape is demanding and organization (or lack of) can make or break your growth stride. Managing time and talent, making the most of technology and tools and investing in the right experts are surefire ways to get and stay organized -- and gain some time back for other pursuits.

Three tips for organizing your small business

  • Start your day off with a morning routine. How you begin determines the tone and tenor for the rest of the day.
  • Create blocks of time to deal with repetitive, time-consuming tasks like email. A variety of tools are available that can streamline workflow and save time.
  • Choose a personal system or technique for prioritizing and organizing your work. Make a list of everything that needs to be accomplished in a given day or week. Circle the items that only you can do and number those in order of priority. Consider options for delegating, or eliminating the rest.

Let’s talk about delegation. Many business leaders have a difficult time giving work to others. It’s important to focus your expertise on the critical aspects of running and growing your business. Strategy, key decision-making and talent decisions are all priorities for a business owner. Tasks including administration, accounting, maintenance, and other more tactical activities can (and probably should) be handled by other team members.

“Divide and conquer” is not only a battle strategy; it’s also a great way to organize and accomplish work. Delegating work reduces the burden on you, and gives others the opportunity to contribute and grow from new or expanded experiences.

2. Organize Your Strategy: plan for success

  • Determine where you are, where you want to go and the actions needed to get there.
  • Clearly communicate the goal and action plan to your team.
  • Identify milestones and measurements that will signal progress and achievement of your goals.

3. Make the Most of Talent: Develop Your Team

Your strategic plan is a unique roadmap to the goal you want to achieve in your business. Strategic planning is an activity to organize your business efforts around this central goal. It’s important to know where you’re going and how to get there. As Zig Ziglar and others have said, ‘If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.’

Whether you’re a solopreneur, a small or a midsized business, you have a range of options for engaging other people to share the workload. Think of the image of a pebble dropped into a pool of water. The impact of the pebble causes ripples to spread outward from the pebble in concentric rings. These are your rings of influence and your available talent pool.

In a small or mid-sized business, the first ring is your lead or direct report team and your first line of available talent to manage work that doesn’t require your hands-on attention. Outer rings may be second level employees, volunteers or external vendors; all resources to be considered for work delegation.

For a solopreneur, think about creative ways to build a team of part-time employees, interns, and volunteers.

  • Identify your talent pool
  • Delegate work based on capacity and capability
  • Give employees the training and tools they need to organize and complete the work effectively
  • Provide regular feedback on work quality

Know your talent pool, their strengths, and weaknesses. This is true for both employees and other talent resources. When team members work in their strengths, they will generally be more productive and engaged. Although you’re the business leader, in all probability you’re not an expert at everything. Use your unique genius where it counts most for your business. Engage others to manage work that is a lower priority or isn’t your strength.

4. Leverage Technology: Right Tools, Right Time

  • On a personal level, Voice Assistant Technology (VAT) from Siri to Alexa can provide a shortcut for notetaking, to-do lists and automated reminders for meetings and appointments.
  • A virtual email assistant can manage time-consuming tasks for you. A virtual assistant can update contacts, schedule meetings, sort, triage and respond to emails with personalized follow-up messages.
  • Choosing a robust client relationship management (CRM) system will practically organize your client relationships for you. A good CRM keeps your client lists organized and manages consistent client contact, customer service and can lead to increased sales.
  • Automate basic business tasks wherever possible. Platforms like HootSuite and Loomly help to organize social media content and automate posting schedules.
  • Using tools with Artificial Intelligence (AI) can streamline repetitive administrative tasks. AI is already built into products like Quickbooks Self-employed accounting software and Acquisio marketing software

It is vital to your success to stay attuned to tech trends. Choosing the best technology at the right time to organize workflow, manage clients and coordinate your supply chain will free additional time for you to spend on critical business leadership. And staying informed about cutting-edge tech innovations will help you prepare for the future

5. Forget Balance - Go For Integration

The term ‘work-life balance’ is an oft-repeated mantra and an elusive pursuit. In theory, the well-balanced life has equal portions of time, energy and passion spent at work and away from work. In reality, work hours consume far more of our 24 hours each day than can be equalized with non-work activities.

  • Infuse the workday with energizing breaks like lunch with a spouse, partner or friend.
  • Shift blocks of work activities to accommodate personal commitments like moving a lower priority project to a Saturday morning so you can attend a child’s school performance on a weekday afternoon.
  • Invest in yourself for personal well-being, family and personal life.

A more realistic and even comfortable pursuit is likely the integration of work and life so that we can comfortably prioritize and attend to both work and personal business demands, relationships and other pursuits in harmony.