This week I met three highly talented entrepreneurs. They all had been in business for more than five years.
Each one of them said they had recently considered closing their small business.
They were struggling with burnout, fatigue and overwhelm.
Originally, they had started their company because of a particular passion, and a desire to spend more time with their family.
Years later, they’re working insane hours, the passion is pushed to the background, and they are totally exhausted with little family time.
As one of them said so eloquently to me, “I’m pretty organized but clearly I can’t get a grasp on my time management!”
Another one shared that they had such excitement for what they could do with their business but now they see their goals as almost unachievable.
He added, “as more opportunity presents itself to me. I get discouraged because I can’t even implement what I want to do today, never mind new ambitions. I can’t seem to get a handle on my time management!”
Let’s look at how you can go from chaos to calm and crawl out of the grind!
1) Time Management – Your Calendar Is Your Time Bank Account
The go-to planning tool for most small business owners is the to-do list.
And it’s been modernized over the last few years. You have your choices of apps and that make everything seem
more efficient. But as high tech as they are… does anything change?
I know my app for my grocery shopping list is a fancy to-do list.
Yet, I get a kick out of the little chime that sounds every time I checked an item off my list.
You can hear me wandering all through the store. . . chiming away feeling proud that I haven’t missed a thing!
But when it comes to time management and productivity. . .
The to-do list is a silent killer.
One of the biggest changes you can make in improving your time management is to stop using a To-do list!
This is the first step to creating systems and processes that will help your small business. A simple series of steps will aid you far more than any to-do list.
To-do lists … are the enemy of time management:
To- do lists:
-Are not measured in increments of time
-There are no indicators between important tasks or important but not urgent.
-Your work is not in any sequence of efficiency.
You simply can’t plan your work when you don’t have any idea of how long it will take.
This means that you can’t plan the next stage of any project. It’s simply a poor business process.
It also means that you don’t have any real stats on how long a particular task takes you to complete.
So how do you know if you’re
-being as productive as you can be
-on schedule to meet expected deadlines
-or even charging enough for your work?
You need to use your calendar.
Your calendar is like your time bank account.
A great place to start is to block out what you have to do in one hour increments!
You will quickly see how much or little time you have available.
I tried out running the clock for years – it doesn’t work.
Use your calendar, it’s the blueprint to your success!!!
In fact, so any small business owners don’t even put work they do every day on their calendar.
The response is…’but I do that every day, I know I have to do that.” What happens you may think that you have 8 hours in a day but you only have 5. You really have no idea what is time consuming other than your tired and distorted memory.
Think about it, that’s like saying …
my car payment comes out of the bank every month…
but I know that so I don’t count it? The money is gone!
2) Don’t Multitask
Similar to using a to-do list, multitasking sets you up to fail.
You do not have any clear idea of how to manage your time when you are doing several things at once.
Systems and processes free your brain power, and time so you can systemically and easily navigate through your small business ambitions.
Where as multitasking has many dangerous side effects.
-you are less likely to switch back to the original task.
-lose ends pile up, causing stress.
-you lose time re-orienting yourself to the original task.
-you will have a distorted sense of how long each task took you.
-you will make more mistakes.
I know you think multitasking is a great way to outrun the clock. I get it. I’ve had years of experience trying to cram as much into every moment as I could… I’m a recovering rushaholic. I promise you it won’t get you the results today never mind the long term.
3) Don’t Delegate
What? Don’t delegate? Yes, you read that correctly.
I think delegating is a lateral move.
It usually means you are assigning work and then you will need to check on that work.
And we all know what happens next… you have less time for you work.
It’s not your fault. This is the formula used by most corporations throughout the world.
And this is likely how you were treated as an employee. So how are you to know any better?
It’s like a parent checking on a child’s homework or a teacher a monitoring a student.
It’s not effective time management you’ve actually created another job for yourself taxing your small business.
You don’t want to delegate.
You want to create a team that can manage their own work and also manage you.
It’s what we call creating a W.I.N Team “what is next” team…
so you can get to what is next
Listen, it’s a magical time to be in business. You can outsource virtual assistants from anywhere in the world. This means it’s quite affordable. I mean really affordable. See that cup of coffee on your desk, yes, that affordable!
You have no idea how many administrative task you think are attached to your zone of genius but are just slowing you down.
Hiring a virtual assistant is often a great place to start but if you add them to your current set up, you won’t be any further ahead. You need some business systems in place so you can stop chasing the newest effective time management tips. Moving forward, all your work is still important but not urgent. You won’t be in that frantic state you are in now.
Time management tips are not going to get you where you want to be in your business and life. Your business process is the blueprint to crushing your demanding schedule and growing your income. When you’re trapped in time consuming work, it’s not the work but how it’s set up and managed.
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