What would you do with an extra hour?

00:12, Dec 11 2013

We often cram as much into our day as we can and juggle more than one task at a time.

If you could have an extra hour in your day, how would you use it?

A survey commissioned by Telstra of more than 1000 Australian small business owners found 43 per cent of respondents would choose to spend time with their families, while just 14 per cent would put time back into their businesses.

The survey reveals how many small business owners struggle to keep a work-life balance.

Yet the Research Now survey found 70 per cent of respondents said they started their businesses because it was the best way to have a flexible job.



* Clean out the inbox.

It's a bugbear for many, particularly those using more than one email address. Sam Elam, from Media Manoeuvres, says between work and personal emails, newspaper subscriptions, LinkedIn alerts and Facebook notifications, she receives at least 500 emails a day.

"I have been trying to clear it for the past six months. I usually approach the mammoth task sitting in airport lounges waiting for flights around the country, which is at least once a week but have never cleared it," Elam says. 

* Market my business.

Marketing can often be found at the bottom of the priority list, even for business owners in the marketing industry such as Sarah Morton, from Sarah Marie Communications.

"Like many business owners, I need to prioritise urgent deadlines for clients above 'slow-burn' activities like marketing," she says.

"With an extra hour I would take my own advice and proactively market myself."

* Educate myself.

Training and professional development is so enriching - when there's time. Kate Fairley, from Get Informed Insurance, says she would benefit from more time for education.

"There are so many great resources available to business owners but not enough time in the day to thoroughly explore all of them," she says.

"At the moment I devote two to three hours a week to self education in the way of articles and webinars, but find there is still so much more available, which I lack the time to fully explore."

* Domestic chores.

Getting all aspects of your life organised helps you stay in control. But domestic chores are the last thing Sharon Latour, from Marketing Bee, feels like doing at the end of the day.

"I'd like to find more time to do some meal planning and housework because ultimately after a long day of work coming home to an organised home is soothing," she says.

* Social media research.

Social media is where the real research is done, says Gabby Leibovich, from The Catch Group.

"Social media has been a huge part of our success; it's like word-of-mouth on steroids," he says.

"I get so much valuable insight from our customers about the business, an extra hour to be able to spend on social media, for me, would be an hour well spent."

* Generate new business.

Women's business coach Abbie Widin, from One Extra Zero, says just one extra hour would be enough to build new contacts and new lines of work.

"You need to be out there marketing yourself and, in just one hour each day, you can write an article for a website, you can approach three people about speaking to their clients, or you can call past clients and check in with how they are going," she says.

* Me time.

It's on every small business owner's wish-list. Eugenie Pepper, from PLUM baby and kids fashion, says she would like one hour alone to do whatever she pleased.

"Me time is very precious and rare being a small business owner with a family, but it is important to try to fit in exercise and to relax as a way to release stress and for general health," she says.

* Family time.

Insurance adviser Paul Davies is keenly aware of balancing his business demands with family time.

"I want my children to look back and remember that, even though dad worked hard, he always found time for them," he says.

* Pampering.

Some much needed pamper time would go down a treat with Amanda Bennetts, at Bennetts Wide Calf Boots.

"Between running the business, looking after my three-year-old, running the household, then family, friends and charity work, I rarely get enough time to do my nails, put a treatment through my hair," she says.

"Even a mini home facial would be nice."

* Exercise.

Brad Prout, chief executive of financial services franchise First Class Capital, says exercise has more than just physical benefits.

"Exercise is clearly good physically but it also facilitates a clearer level of thinking," he says.

"I find it great for dealing with stress, too."

Sydney Morning Herald