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Self-employed and working alone? Here's some tips for managing your working week

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by Startacus Admin

We've talked about the advantages of getting a co-founder, we've talked about the advantages of a career working for a startup - in fact, we’ve talked about lots of stuff about startups full stop.

But let’s not forget that lots of self starters, lots of Startacus members, work alone - for themselves and never intend to do anything but work for planning your working weekthemselves alone. Call yourself a self starter, call yourself a freelancer, call yourself self-employed, whatever you choose to call it, the fact is that it can be tough going when you’re responsible for managing everything to do with your business and your working week.

With this in mind, here's a few handy pointers to help you along the way. It’s like having your own little management guide to managing yourself and your typical working week.

Write down your weekly tasks

Well, you can't really manage yourself and your working week if you haven't identified what your typical jobs or tasks are on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Jot them all down on a piece of blank paper.

Write down how long it takes you to do said tasks

Ok, perfect. Now you've done this, write down how long you spend on average on said tasks. If lunch, tea breaks and chatting on Facebook, are taking up more than a hour or so of your day, you might spot a few issues at this point and a few things you can work on.

Rank your duties in order of importance - with 1 being the top

Now realistically try and rank each task in order of how important it is to your working week. Again, if business development is a key task for your new business as you have no clients, but you are only maybe only spending 20 minutes per day on this task, you’ve spotted an issue straight off. Doing this could help you identify any time management issues full stop.

Create a weekly timetable

So, what you’ve got is still just a draft at this point, but on another blank piece of paper, why not create an empty diary of your working week. We all have different expectations on hours and days etc when we work. 

We all have different expectations on hours and days etc when we work. But to help a little, here is a basic template version for a ‘pretend’ Startacus timetable for working weekmember. What? You’re not a member yet? It’s free you know! In fact here's a handy registration link where you can join! Anyhow... back to the task in hand!

Plan your timetable

Right, now the tricky bit. If your least important task is the thing you spend most time on, you need to think again! Without sounding too business-like and corporate, you need to keep the least important tasks outside of your core business hours. Again we can't tell you what your core work and business hours are, but in our example, emails, mailers, responding to enquiries, and general accounts and paperwork, whilst admittedly being important, are all dealt with before 10am, between 1.30pm and 2pm and after 4pm. Core business tasks, such as business development, client meetings, and the physical tasks that you have to do and complete can happen during the rest of the time. Again, this is our example and in your tasks list it might differ considerably.

Visualise it.

It’s great doing all this, but you need to make sure that you visualise the results and put it somewhere where you can’t ignore it!

Review and appraise

Of course, responsibilities and duties change, so make sure that you regularly review and appraise your weekly tasks and timetable and make a new timetable if you have to.

Ignore all of the above on occasion!

The reality is that sometimes you’ll need to be flexible enough to adjust or amend your timetable and your weekly tasks. When a big order comes in, or an important piece of admin needs to be completed  for example, all of the above can go out of the window  - at least for the short term. Don't be so unprepared that you have no weekly timetable and plans, and don’t be so inflexible that you can't react when the need arises.

Over and out.


If you like what you see here on Startacus, why not become a member of our growing community? It's free! And you'll get all this - exclusive access to our Business Toolkit, discounts and offers galore for your business via our member only business deals, the chance to network and connect with loads of fellow self-starters, and maybe even become our celebrated 'Self-Starter of the Week' and tell the world your startup tale! Join right here for free...

 


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Published on: 23rd September 2013

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