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BusinessPaws: How to Time Manage Your Dog Training or Dog Daycare Business

by
Megan Stanley

Time management is critical for success in any productive endeavor. Megan Stanley has some tips to help organize your dog training business to ensure you're set up for success.

Time management is a challenging area for many people. As a business owner, managing your time well is critical to prevent burnout, be more productive and create a harmonious work-life balance. This can be difficult for any entrepreneur as we wear many hats. Currently, dog trainers are in high-demand due to the pandemic puppy rush and are finding it challenging to meet those demands and take care of themselves. I am going to share some key points to handle the workload and avoid overwhelm. 

Clear your Mind

Every time I am feeling overwhelmed, I brain dump. A brain dump is exactly what it sounds like; I take every idea, task, frustration, and item that is overcrowding my brain and I dump it. The process of taking the items from my head to paper makes me feel better immediately. Every time I feel overwhelmed, like I cannot think clearly, or am unorganized, I know it is time for a brain dump. Try it. And do it any way that works best for you; on paper, the computer, napkins or putting notes in your phone. Don’t worry about the how-to of this process, just dump out everything on your mind.

Prioritize

So many people do a little bit of everything and end up getting nothing done. After you have done your brain dump, walk away and take some time to further clear your mind. Don’t wait too long to go back to your brain dump and categorize everything you wrote down. I keep brain dump sheets based on each area of my business. This is where I store my ideas and to dos and I add to them every time something new pops into my mind.

I only take items off a brain dump and put them on my task list when they are priority. Most times, we think everything is a priority. But if you are thinking about each thing you have to do, you overwhelm yourself. A past business coach taught me to do the following:

  • Grade your tasks A-D. 
  • Create A and B task lists.
  • B’s do not happen until A’s are complete. 
  • C’s move onto your task list as you complete items. 
  • D’s are items that can be delegated. 
  • Keep your A list to a max of 3-5 items.
  • Start with the most challenging ones and keep the ones you enjoy for later.

Automate Processes

The next step it to identify ways to automate your processes. Are there certain tasks that take too long? If you are feeling overwhelmed and on the verge of burnout, it is time to start looking at ways you can automate. BusyPaws is one of the best solutions for helping manage your time within your business. It takes away a great deal of administrative work, creates a better experience for your clients and provides tremendous value to your business. Read through my Technology for Dog Training Business post on why BusyPaws is a must for dog trainers and how it will help minimize your workload.

Be Disciplined 

When we are feeling overwhelmed, we take shortcuts and don’t take the time to manage our schedule and keep ourselves organized. We allow ourselves to get interrupted and pulled away from our priorities. It is critical that you schedule your time and stick to it. Discipline creates freedom and enables you to build the life you want through your habits. This includes defining your hours of work and time off. 

Take it a step further and block out your calendar based on tasks or areas of focus within your business. Take control of your time through the following ways:

  • Break you calendar down into blocks. Each block is time when you focus on specific items. For example, I schedule meetings, admin work, emails, phone calls, walking my dog out, workouts, rest, and more. 
  • Split days into focus areas for work – one day may be spent on content development, one on admin, one on curriculum development, etc.
  • Schedule time for planning what’s ahead. I do this before each month, week and day starts. 
  • Take a few minutes at the end of every day to prepare for the next so you can start it organized and ready to go. 
  • Keep your priority list in mind when blocking out your calendar.

Whenever you are feeling overwhelmed or that your calendar is out of your control, do the following:

  • Are you sticking to your schedule? Review your priority lists and calendar. 
  • Do you have too much on your plate? If so delegation or outsourcing is necessary.
  • Not possible to delegate or outsource? You need to lessen your priorities and set more realistic goals. 
  • Demand too high? This can be a sign that you need to raise your prices. Developing the right pricing strategy and charging your worth can help free up time and increase your revenue.
  • Brain dump!

Say No

It is hard to say no to a potential opportunity or to a client who needs help with their dog. Too often, dog trainers focus more on the needs of others than their own. Having clear priorities and a set schedule helps us avoid the habit of adding to our workload. It is ok to say no, even if it upsets others. When you say yes to something, you are saying no to something else. By keeping only a few items on your priority list, you can review what needs to be removed when you say yes to something. Does saying yes help you/your business more than the item you are removing? Or does it add more strain to your plate without the same results? Carefully assess each thing you say yes to and get more comfortable with saying no.

Give Yourself a Break

It’s not going to be perfect. Be kind to yourself, learn from the challenges and realize some weeks are going to be tough to keep under control. Ask for help when needed and take care of your mental health first. 

 

And finally, give yourself a break from the grind. This seems like the last thing we should do, especially when we feel overwhelmed. But you need a clear head. Even if you just give yourself a day to get caught up on some sleep, unplug and recharge. And plan vacations. Do not be proud of the grind with no breaks. You are not helping your business when you do not take care of yourself. If finances are an issue, take a staycation and enjoy time with your loved ones. Your business will thank you for it.


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