You only have so much of it. As a business owner, it's easy to watch this valuable piece of our days and lives slip slowly into the "urgent" things and away from the things that really count. Over the years of being in business and working with business owners, we've picked up some tips and tricks on how to use this precious gift wisely when you're an entrepreneur.
1) Play with your time. Become a time scientist.
Trial and error are your friends. Spending 2 weeks to figure out a schedule you love is nothing in the grand scheme of things. It costs way more in the long run to figure out what works best for your business/family/self than it does to dedicate time to be curious about it now.
2) Early bird or night owl?
Don't fight your natural tendencies. Whenever we make a hire (which isn't often), one of our first conversations is "are you a morning person or afternoon type?" We scheduled their "office hours" according to their natural tendency to be more efficient and productive in those times. While everyone fluctuates from time to time, you'll notice if you become your own student that there are specific times of day that you're more "on"; that is, more alert, more productive, and generally more positive and efficient.
3) Schedule off time first.
When possible, schedule your vacation(s)/break(s) the first part of every year. Otherwise, we all know what happens to these times away. Life.
4) Schedule the Vital Few second.
If you're pressed for time, or trying to find ways to work less hours, your vital few tasks are the two to four things that nobody but you can do for your business. Typically it's the actual work, and a few other high level tasks that nobody but you can do. When you're starting or on a tight budget, everything is on your plate, but you can still find out your vital few by asking "is it POSSIBLE to outsource this". Even if you won't outsource it, knowing that someone else could do it means it's not your vital few.
5) Schedule time for business maintenance third.
Just as your car needs routine oil changes, your business has it's unattractive up keeps as well. Schedule your business maintenance items (i.e.- taxes, financial planning, etc). Natural seasons are the new year, the beginning of each quarter, etc, but find what rhythm works best for you and your team/industry.
6) Schedule time blocks to WORK.
Studies say on average people that block time of 4 hour segments get the most work done, get it done better, and so on and so forth. Figure out your magic number for your actual work (p.s.- work, here, is the activity that makes you money, which can be hard to remember as a business owner surrounded by all things work).
7) Schedule or outsource time to get new clients.
If you have a staffer dedicated to marketing and getting new clients, step back and let them. Do a periodic check in and that's it. If you don't have a staffer for this, schedule your own mini-procurement sessions. This is a huge part of every new business, but as your business matures, it's surprising how little time we have to put into this.
8) Pepper in goal time.
Are you trying to master a new hobby? Are you trying to eat healthier or exercise more? Planning in advance your plan of attack in small pieces is super effective at reaching your goals. Taking some things in "bite sized" portions can help tackle things that don't fall under the "Tyranny of the Urgent" category in your life and business.
What are some of your tricks and tips you've learned to better manage your life and business? As always, if you're looking for a company that understands your small business needs (and struggles), contact a company that specializes in #ConsultingWithCare.