We All Have the Same 24 Hours—Here’s How to Make the Most of Them
On this week’s episode of SUCCESS Line, I talk to Lisa, a commercial real estate broker who has recently discovered a passion for coaching. She has completed the coaching certification and is ready to dive into this parallel career. But how, she wonders, can I keep doing the job I have while also building the job I want?
If you’re an entrepreneur, this question likely sounds familiar. What I notice with Lisa and other entrepreneurs I’ve worked with is that so many of us barely have enough time to do the job we have, let alone add another.
We cannot achieve our goals if we don’t have the time to give to them. Before you begin building a new business, you need to address how you allocate your time.
Time is the one commodity we can’t make more of—read on to find out how to make the best of what we’re given.
Audit your time.
Start with this exercise: On a sheet of paper, draw a line down the center. On one side, make a list of “tasks only I can do.” On the other side, write, “Tasks that others should be doing.” We like to tell ourselves that we are the only people who can do things. However, there are likely tasks that are taking up your time that you could outsource.
Next, color code your calendar for one week. Mark the truly important tasks—the ones that only you can do—in green. Everything else should be marked blue. At the end of the week, look at how much is green and how much is blue. Are you happy with that ratio? Make note of where you see your time going. We can’t make time for new goals if we don’t know where that time will come from.
Implement new systems.
Now that you know where your time is going, you can more effectively leverage the time you have. There are three ways to do this: systems, tools and people.
Many entrepreneurs rush straight to people, skipping systems and productivity tools entirely. But if you add new people before addressing the systems and tools your business needs, you will only add more chaos to the mix. And the people that you hire without any systems in place will not be your people for very long.
This is a problem many entrepreneurs face: all of their work is in their head. None of it has been systematized and is thus impossible to streamline. How will you train a new hire if you have not created a system for the tasks they will be expected to complete?
So before you throw up a “help wanted” sign, ask yourself, What systems and/or tools are missing from my business that would help me better allocate my time and resources? Once you have the right systems in place, it will be that much easier to hire the right people.
Give yourself space to rest.
Many entrepreneurs habitually work continuously, so freeing up time is only half the battle. If you make space in your schedule and then immediately fill it back up with new versions of busy work, you will fall back into the same cycle.
I’ll ask you this—what happens to productivity the week before we go on vacation?
It skyrockets. We are purposeful, focused and fast. Why? Because we have the promise of rest at the end. Days off and vacations need to be blocked into our calendars with as much certainty as meetings. Many schedule work first and force life to fit in around it. I suggest the opposite: Life and rest go in first; work finds space around them.
With a reward on the horizon, we can be more purposeful with our time. We finish projects quickly because we refuse to let them bleed into our rest days. As you rethink how to allocate your time, add a new section to your calendar: days off and vacation. Sometimes, the best way to “make the most of your time” is to simply turn off your phone and take a nap.
Ben Fairfield is the Managing Director of SUCCESS Coaching & a SUCCESS Certified Coach.
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