February 27, 2015

Overcommitted Anonymous

Recently I was kidding with an innkeeper friend about my “no problem”.  I find that I always feel I have more to do then time in the day to do it, and I wonder how much I bring this on myself by not setting boundaries.  She told me all of the things she herself had recently gotten involved with and laughed saying IF she had the time she would start Overcommitted Anonymous.  While this might seem funny, I think having too much on our plates is a common problem for many business owners, and I would imagine that for people who are an integral part of their communities (the way innkeepers are) it’s prevalent. 

So what can a business owner do to try and take control of their time management?  For me I found not having my email always turned on to be a time saver.  Until I did this, I never realized how intruding email is.  By only looking at email at set times during the day, I avoid the constant interruption of stopping what I am doing to read an email that doesn't need to be answered immediately or that doesn’t require a response.  Instead, I have uninterrupted time to devote to the project at hand.  The exception for innkeepers would be for emails from guests needing something immediately.  The urgency of most guest emails is eliminated with online reservations.  Even so, are you doing all you can do to avoid distractions?  For instance, do you use the same email for guests and your personal correspondences?  Keeping them separate will allow you to only be interrupted by potentially important business emails.

What about delegating?  Does it seem no one can do the task at hand as well as you?  I find this, but I have also realized how much more I can get done when I employ others to help.  Whether it’s to clean, write a blog post, or do the books, all business owners need to think about getting help when they need it.  If this frees you up to do something more important for yourself or your business, it’s a great investment; however, as small business owners carefully managing expenses it’s something we can wait too long to do.
If Overcommitted Anonymous is started will you be a member, or do you have control of your time and your business?  As always, it remains a privilege and a pleasure to promote your inn (and I didn’t check my email once while I was writing this column)!

For more information on time management, read Chapter 16  in Running a Bed & Breakfast For Dummies.

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