In my experience as a business owner, one thing I’ve noticed is a common pattern in excuses as to why people can’t do things. One of the most common excuses is they can’t find time to work on their businesses.

For example, I’ll often go to local events for women entrepreneurs and the first thing 85 percent of them say is how they don’t have time to grow their businesses because of their kids.

Don’t get me wrong, do people have a heavy load of responsibilities? Yes. However, I know plenty of mothers to small children who still find time.

This, of course, is just one example I hear all the time. Another example is blaming a day job for the lack of time. This one kind of irks me because I’m one of those people who built a business on the side of their day job. I was able to find time even though I was busy.

The question then becomes, how do we do it? How do we find time to grow our businesses and keep moving forward? In this article I’ll share my best tips for finding time to for your business.

Tip #1 Assess your priorities.

The biggest difference I see between business owners who find time and those who do not is priorities. Those who find time prioritize their business. They may not prioritize it above their families, but it’s up there.

For example, they will get up extra early to work on their business before getting their kids ready for school. Or they’ll wait until later at night when their kids are in bed.

The same applies if you still have a day job. I used to work before going to my job, during my lunch hour, after I clocked out, and on weekends. The reason is because I was clear about my priorities. I knew I wanted to run my own business and did the work necessary to get there.

The truth is if you want it bad enough you make sure to find time. Period. You also have to prioritize yourself and your business. You can’t move forward if you’re always putting yourself last. That’s true whether you’re raising a family or ten years in the business game.

I do want to be mindful of the fact that this isn’t easy. Especially if you have responsibilities that take up a lot of your time. However, it’s important to remember that this is only temporary. Your kids won’t need you as much forever. Your job also won’t be there forever. Whatever the situation is, it’s not forever.

Tip #2 Assess where you’re currently wasting time

I interviewed Michelle Schroeder-Gardner for my podcast last year. In case you don’t know who Michelle is, she makes over $100,000 a month through affiliate sales on her blog.

One of the things she says during that interview is how people spend an average of 30 hours a week watching TV. Those are 30 hours you can use for your business.

That statistic blew my mind, but I don’t doubt that it’s true. Even while looking at my own life this year I realized I spent too much time watching Real Housewives. Don’t get me wrong, every once in a while is okay, but I was wasting valuable time where I could be working or learning something new.

If you feel like you can’t find time to work on your business your job is to do an audit of what you are currently doing with your time. Other time leaks may include messing around on social media or playing on your phone.

Tip #3 Cut out the side projects that are getting in the way.

I’m currently walking a new group of clients through my six-week business coaching program. One of the students recently had the realization that she needed to cut a lot of projects out of her life in order to find time for her business.

Here’s where it’s tricky. All those projects make her some side income. The issue is they are getting in the way of her business which has the potential to make her a lot more money.

It may look like she’s giving up money, but it’s only temporary. The reality is her focus is split and it’s causing her to spin her wheels and make less money overall.

The same applies for projects within your current business as well. If you are honest with yourself, you can probably find projects that aren’t a good use of your time. For example, another client found that one offering in her business is what really makes money, whereas the others don’t yield results. She’s cutting down on the fluff and focusing on the money maker.

It’s when we focus our energy on the right tasks that we find time for our businesses and make more money. Therefore your job is to make sure you’re using your time and energy wisely.

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Tip #4 Delegate stuff in your business and your life.

I recently heard a fabulous interview with an entrepreneur who said she doesn’t cook or clean because it doesn’t pay her. Instead, she pays someone else to do those things so she can focus her time on making more money.

Now that I’ve been self-employed and delegating to others for several years, I see how true this actually is. The more I delegate, the more time I have to earn more money. It seems counterintuitive because delegating usually costs money, but it all comes down to how you use your time.

I delegate things in my business that take away from my ability to make money. For example, I have no business doing graphic design. I’ve even begun delegating tasks that I’m good at but simply no longer have time for, like generating PR.

I try to do the same in my personal life. I also like to use grocery delivery services because I could make more money in the two hours I spend going to the grocery store. I’m also considering delegating cleaning of my apartment. That’s time I could be spending doing things that move my business forward.

One of the exercises I have my clients do is to begin ruthlessly assessing whether or not certain tasks or actions are the best use of their time. Once they do this, they either start delegating or start saying no more often. Either way, they usually end up making more money and have more peace of mind.

Tip #5 Set clear boundaries with other people

One of the biggest challenges I see for my clients is how they are often twisting themselves into a pretzel for other people while clearly neglecting themselves. This includes clients and people in their personal lives.

The problem isn’t the clients or the family. The problem is usually the fact that business owners don’t set proper boundaries. For example, just because a client sent you an email with a request now doesn’t mean you need to drop everything and cater to them. They can wait until you’re available.

Again, this seems counterintuitive, but it does make you more money. In respecting yourself, others respect you too. This means they will provide less headaches. It also means you will have the time you need to move your business forward.

Final Thoughts

The reality is that not having time to work on your business is usually not true. More often than not, you can find time. Start with these suggestions and notice how much more time you actually have.