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Women Business Owners - The Power of Guided Multi-Tasking

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/20/2006 | Entrepreneur
Multi-tasking is a natural aspect of business for women business owners, especially those with families.

The fact is if you are a woman business owner, you are most likely already a multi-tasker of epic proportions. You know how to combine family, childcare and business tasks as a matter of course. Whether it's carpooling, deliveries, and business errands, or phoning clients, babysitters and arranging multiple schedules, you think in terms of multiple areas of impact most of the time.

When your business is in your home you have additional challenges and benefits which your multi-tasking abilities can make work for you. You can handle household chores and meal preparation in between appointments, phone consultations, or writing that new piece for your monthly newsletter. You routinely make decisions which involve multiple areas of your life more or less simultaneously.

Taking that next step of how to apply your natural ability to enhance your business success is not so difficult, but it does require a new focus. You have to start thinking in terms of the various areas of your business the same way you think of the various areas of your life. You have to step back and get a little wider view of things.

The best way to do this is to set aside some quiet time when you will not be disturbed and really take a look at what it is you want your business to accomplish, in what time frame. Using the backward planning approach works very well.

Once you have developed your general goals, rework them into specific targets. In other words, take the generalized goal, say of "X number of new clients by X" and develop the set targets you'll need to accomplish to reach that goal.

A project plan (target list) and work chart can be a very helpful tool for the next process of breaking down each target into the associated tasks required to fulfill each objective. Using these two tools, you can create the work chart for each specific area, and then see how the various targets are related. For instance, a new promotional pack for your business will have various components: brochure, logo, support materials, testimonial letters, perhaps a multi media presentation. Each of these items becomes a block in the project work chart, and completing portions of any one may provide materials for the others.

Once you have accomplished this you will have a clear picture of all the tasks required for each area of your business. Now the process of checking in on the larger picture as you work each day becomes a simple matter of using these tools to keep you on track.

Target lists and project work charts are tools often used by engineers as they develop a new piece of equipment, hardware, firmware, or software. First the targets or functions of each piece are defined and then the steps to creating each working component are laid out. By following this method, the relationships between the various targets, or, in this case, components of your business plan, are visible and easily identified.

This avoids getting the cart before the horse, or working on portions of the plan that cannot be implemented without other components also being in place.

The next step is to integrate the project work charts into a daily system of self check as you naturally group your work according to like tasks which can be accomplished in clusters of multi-tasking events. In this way you can significantly increase your progress and your business will thrive.

Once you have clearly charted targets for the business you can start to apply the multi tasking skills you aridly have to what needs to be done to make the targets happen.

The next step to optimizing your multi-tasking is to ask yourself where you do your best work. What gives you the most energy and creativity? What is the most difficult for you to tackle of the things that require your attention?

A professional counselor, in the midst of changing her business from one based on individual clients to seminars and group events met the challenge of having to think in ways unfamiliar to her by relocating her new event planning activities to her kitchen! She recognized that her most relaxing and enjoyable activity was preparing fresh foods for family and friends. When she moved her event planning to the kitchen, her natural confidence and creativity in that environment enabled her to expand her event planning thinking much more easily than she could in her office.

The food and her pleasure in its preparation, as well as her sense of well being and confidence in this environment gave her the creative energy she needed to expand her thinking and create new and different events for her clients. By providing herself with the support of her naturally creative environment, in this case cooking, she added to her creative power in an area where she had less strength and experience.

Often, by breaking up more mundane tasks with those which are more creative or inspiring, it is possible to keep your energy level higher than if you were to attempt to force yourself to do the "boring" task alone.

Learning your own personal rhythm and areas of your own natural creativity and enthusiasm and thinking in ways which allow you to tap into those parts of yourself you can greatly enhance not only the results of your work, but the sense of well being you find in your work.

Finally, as a multi-tasker, there is some danger that you can become too diversified and lose the focus and clarity of knowing what is most important in your business and in your life. By implementing target lists and project work charts as a guide to daily actions and updating them as each new target is complete you have a simple and effective system for starting each new day, and for meeting all your business objectives.

The daily action of a quick review of the target list and work chart also provides the added benefit of stimulating new ideas and inspirations to continue enhancing your multi tasking skills, keeping your work fresh, interesting and exciting.
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