With a growing family comes rising expenses. This makes you want to augment your regular income with a small business, particularly one you can run from the comforts of your home. For most women who already have so many hats to wear, this can be tough. Where do I find the time?! I can almost hear you guys shout in unison! Well, there is a good percentage of women all over the world who have day jobs and small thriving businesses on the side. They proved this can be done. Read on and see how you can make a home-based business work for you by making the most out of your time.

Classify Your Tasks into the 4 Ds.

Efficient time management is the key. Get a big notebook or yellow pad. Take stock of your daily tasks outside of your main job. What are the things you do everyday—for yourself, for your husband and children, for your friends, for the community. Then estimate the number of minutes or hours you spend for each task. Next, categorize these tasks into the 4 Ds: Do. Delegate. Dump. Defer.

DO the things that need to get done now. As a case in point, don't let those letters and bills pile up in a small mountain. Read the mail, answer it on the day you receive it. If it's not possible to do so on the very day, tack your letters and bills on a place where you can easily see them. Label them with the deadline date.

DELEGATE the tasks that have to be done but can be taken care of by others. Face it, you're fit and able but are no Superwoman. You run the household, make your army work for its efficiency too. And you don't have to be bossy! Delegating can be as diplomatic as possible when you know what to do. Tag who is the best person for a specific job, say mowing the lawn or doing the laundry. You just have to explain the task clearly, provide whatever info the person needs to get the job done and trust them to be good at it. Let go!

DUMP tasks that are not important. Forget about them! I'm not to say what tasks are important or not. It's subjective and depends on your personality and lifestyle. But once you've identified tasks that you're only forced to do but have no significant impact whether you do them or not, you'll find yourself with more free time.

DEFER tasks that you need to do but can wait for another time. Once you've sorted what tasks are not urgent, you'll be able to accommodate the more pressing ones first. For example, sorting out your family media library (photo albums, videos, CDs, etc.) can be an enormous task. It's something you want to do but it's not a burning issue. You can then devote a specific number of minutes to doing this everyday. In a week’s time, you’d have accomplished this task with less stress!

Stick by the 4 Ds and you'll find yourself with free hours to dedicate to your home based business. Don’t forget to get the necessary tools of efficient time management—a datebook, a planner or a PDA. Brain dump on paper all you need to do with the 4 Ds in mind.

Author's Bio: 

Ludwina Dautovic is the director and founder of The Red Tent Woman, an organisation supporting women in small and home based businesses. They host networking events and offer business mentoring covering topics from branding to time management. Ludwina specialises in low cost and innovative approaches to niche marketing and effective online marketing strategies.

The Red Tent Woman is the 2008 MCEI National Marketing Award Winner for the 'Women in Business' Category.

If you are looking to start your own small business or have been struggling with your existing one, then go to www.theredtentwoman.com.au now and get your free gift valued at $97.