Women Entrepreneurs: Managing It All Better

Posted: September 20, 2011

Time-stressed women entrepreneurs often find both business and home suffering! Here are some organization tips for women entrepreneurs.

By Jessica Chapman Clark

As a woman entrepreneur, I know how challenging it can sometimes be to manage all of the staff, vendors and tasks I have in my business. Not to mention the after-hours family obligations!

We wear about 20 different hats and spend so much time on activities to make our business run that when someone tells us to step back and strategically evaluate what’s working and what’s not working, it seems like a waste of time and energy. After all, you’re profitable. It doesn’t matter that you’re also exhausted, does it?

Do women entrepreneurs have more time?

We are entrepreneurs for a variety of reasons; more time with family, more control over our lives, more flexibility to do what we really want to do, et cetera. Since we are the masters of our destinythe time we invest in our activities needs to be focused, efficient and effective; not tiresome, frustrating and anxiety ridden because we can’t find what we need when we need it!

There is no denying the fact that effective organization techniques are an indispensible entrepreneurial skill to run any business. Most of us small business owners lose at least one hour each day of productive working time searching for and digging through piles of paper that were misfiled or misplaced. If you have staff, that is one hour of their time you just paid for, where they weren’t doing what you hired them to do. If you don’t have staff, then imagine the hour you spent looking for something could have been a billable hour in your business. So instead of making $100 in an hour you just spent $100 on your hour.

Investing time in strategically creating business and personal systems that work for you returns time and financial dividends. Imagine being able to delegate work and not have to double check it for accuracy. Imagine knowing the order will be processed accurately the first time around. Imagine you feeling 100% confident you did everything you were supposed to do every time you managed a client’s paperwork. Your customer orders would increase because customers could expect consistent outstanding results and you’d sleep better at night.

Investing time in strategically creating business and personal systems that work for you returns time and financial dividends.

Continuous self-evaluation is essential

When was the last time you stepped back and took a constructive, critical look at how your business workflow runs? Or how you personally are working in your own office?

One of the best things you can do to improve your personal working process is reclaim the “lost” hour a day. Break the hour into two 30 minute sessions. At the beginning of the day, before work, spend 30 minutes strategically evaluating your office/workflow. What’s working and what’s not working? What causes you frustration and what makes it easy for you to work quickly and calmly? Change the things that aren’t working to systems that do work for you. At the end of the day, take the other 30 minutes to evaluate your day. Write down notes of things you want to accomplish the next day and make notes of what worked and what did not.

If you’re having a tough time doing this on your own, here is a self guided program I developed to teach you the skills for stepping back, evaluating what’s working and what’s not, and how to take action to create your ideal office.

3 organization tips for women to be more productive

  • Designate: what you keep on your desk or in the drawer attached to your desk as the “hot file”. This means the projects you touch every single day and only those you touch every single day stay in this drawer. Everything else goes someplace else.
  • Label: Use little plastic tabs to label all of the hanging file folders in your desk drawer. Write the exact contents on the tab. Naming the file “clients stuff” or “miscellaneous” will only create confusion and waste your time. By taking a few minutes to label exactly what’s inside the hanging file, you’ll save hours looking for it later.
  • Alphabetize: For hot files and quickly clearing off project files from your desk, alphabetizing is the fastest and easiest way to get it in a folder and find it later.

Establishing and following some simple steps everyday will go a long way in clearing up your schedule, thereby enabling you to concentrate on other aspects of your business effectively. In the long run, you would certainly become more productive and your business, much more profitable.

About The Author: Jessica Chapman Clark is the founder of Room to Breathe™ Professional Organizing and author of The Entrepreneurial Itch Workbook. Connect with Jessica on Twitter @Room2BreatheOrg or on Facebook every Thursday during her live “Ask Jessica” sessions.

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