Building a Better Small Business Part 3: Making Time
I knew I had to make time. It hit me even harder the day I tried to fit into my red dress. It was just as lovely as I remembered it the day I first pulled it off the rack and tried it on. It begged to be worn and I finally had the occasion to give it the attention it deserved. I slipped into the dress and realized the zipper was having some hesitation. I was just coming out of the Thanksgiving binge and could feel the extra pounds as I battled with my zipper. I faced myself in the mirror while my inner voice gave me a good scold. I was not satisfied with the consequence of my indulgence during the holidays and knew I had to do something about my expanding waistline.
A few weeks later we welcomed a new year and at the top of my resolution list was my commitment to a better, healthier me. I was not quite sure where to begin but my I knew I was up against an even bigger challenge; Making Time. It loomed at the forefront of my mind as I contemplated a walk down the healthy path. I did not just want to drop the excess pounds I had picked up. I also wanted to feel stronger and more energetic. This required a lifestyle change but one I could not afford to do too drastically for fear of destabilizing my other routines and commitments. I had to figure out how to fit this into my busy lifestyle so I did the following:
- Assessing the Situation: I took a close look at how I typically spent each day of my week and realized that if I wanted it badly enough, I could still make time.
- Learning from Past Attempts: I thought about my other attempts at being fit and identified the issues that typically held me back. I knew any plan I cooked up had to take my prior failed attempts into consideration.
- Creating a Plan: Instead of committing to a weight loss program, I spent time researching a fitness routine that I could stick with. My thought was to develop a fitness habit versus go on some diet. I then challenged myself to commit to incremental daily workouts that will take no more than 15 minutes to do each day.
- Making Time: Next I needed to identify when I will execute my 15 minutes. I decided to wake a half hour earlier each morning, work out for 15 minutes and then get ready for my day.
- My Strategy: Once I had a plan in place, all I needed to do was focus on what I needed to do that day and do it. I took it one day at a time and the results were life changing.
How does this translate to building a better small business?
If you want something badly enough, you will do what you need to do to get it.
When you have an already fast moving lifestyle or one that is fluid and unstructured, it is tougher to properly focus on the relevant activities to keep your business on course. For example, some people spend time on activities they enjoy the most when working on their business and neglect activities that also need attention but are not as exciting. Others just don’t think they have the time to start.
If you want to build a better small business, you have to manage your time more efficiently. You will need to create a balance between your business and the other demands of your life.
This week, it is my hope that you will look at how you spend your time and make sure that you organize yourself in such a way that your small business activities can fit but also allow for other important areas of your life to have a spot. I have seen many small business owners work really hard on their business and completely neglect their loved ones. You have to find a balance and that balance comes with properly managing the limited time you have and keeping your activities focused.
This week’s activity
- Your Current Situation: Take an honest look at how you typically spend your time each day then cut out the waste or at least keep it to a minimum. For example, how much time are you spending on social media, phone calls and emails that do not contribute to your progress?
- Your Most Productive Time: As you assess your current situation, try to determine the times when you are most productive. Some people get their best ideas in the morning and others later at night. It varies by individual. Use your most productive time to handle your most important tasks.
- Make Time: Now that you know where your time goes and what your most productive time is, schedule your most important commitments. That includes time with your family and time you will spend working on your business.
- Plan key activities: Carving out time is one step. How you use the time you have carved out is another. When you carve out time for your business, make sure you spend the time focusing on activities that will help your business grow. During the time you carve out for your small business, be sure to accommodate the following as best you can:
- Planning and research activities
- Set up activities
- Activities that will impact the key metrics you have defined, for example, activities that could increase sales, subscriptions, grow your brand awareness etc.
“He who every morning plans the transaction of the day and follows out that plan, carries a thread that will guide him through the maze of the most busy life. But where no plan is laid, where the disposal of time is surrendered merely to the chance of incidence, chaos will soon reign.” – Victor Hugo