One common issue with the business owners I speak to is that they haven’t got time to work ON their business as they are just too busy working IN the business on a day-to-day basis. As a result, they don’t plan properly for the future, and therefore their businesses don’t grow and flourish as much as they could.
As a coach, I work with my clients on finding the time to think about the future direction of their businesses and making plans on how to get there.
So how can business owners make the time for planning the future direction of the business and taking the steps to get them there, when they have so many other issues to deal with in the workplace? Well, the first thing to come to terms with is that none of us can make more time, we just have to be more disciplined with using the time we have.
We therefore need to make sure that our focus during the working day is on the things that will make the greatest difference to us and our businesses and that we don’t get bogged down in relative trivia.
The Pareto Principle states that 80% of effects come from 20% of causes – in other words, 20% of your activities account for 80% of your results. So focusing on improving the quality or quantity of that vital 20% of your activity will naturally have the greatest impact on your overall business success.
As a business owner myself, I have the same problems with finding the time to do all that I need to do and so I follow a few simple (but not easy!) steps to keep control of my workload.
Firstly, I keep a diary and make sure that the most important things are planned into my working week first. (These things may be spending time with friends or family!) I then know what spare time I have for other, less important, tasks.
Secondly, I prioritise all new tasks that come along in terms of their importance and urgency and I focus on those that are both important and urgent first. Although sometimes it is tough, don’t put off doing things that you don’t like doing if they will make a difference to your business – they won’t go away of their own accord!
Thirdly, I had to learn to delegate and to trust other people to get on with it. Passing over the less important tasks will free your time up – you just need to have the confidence to let go!
Following these steps helps me to stay on top of my workload and even occasionally to find time to do other things such as play golf or ride my bikes!
Sometimes you do need to step right out of the business so you can see the bigger picture. Our coaching clients attend regular events where they have an opportunity to reflect on the issues and challenges in their business and get support and feedback from fellow business owners and from their coaches.
We also sit down with our clients on a quarterly basis to review with them the quarter that has just passed and to identify priorities, goals and actions for the 90 days ahead. This is invaluable for giving business owners the time to think and plan in an environment of support and motivation.
So now you have some ideas, you can put these tips into ACTION and make the most of your precious time!