Taking time out was the best move for my business. Since January 2020 I have worked 4 days per week. I take Mondays out of the business and have found that this extra day means I have more energy and enthusiasm when I’m working. It’s also allowed me to focus on the bigger picture for my business. It’s how I balance my work and family life.
This didn’t just happen for me. For about a year prior to moving to a four-day week I felt tired, frustrated, and miserable. I didn’t have the right direction and felt like there was something amiss. I had no real me time, my life was work, work, work.
I was exhausted when I was at home and wasn’t up for going out or making time to meet with friends. I read an article on four-day weeks and knew this was what I needed. I also spoke with my business coach about shifting to personal coaching. What great timing because then COVID hit, and I was so happy I’d realised the change before we collided with the pandemic. During the last year, we have had our best turnover, our team has grown.
I think for many people this period has allowed them to think more clearly about what they want out of life. But it’s how you make time for your dreams and goals to be realised.
The biggest factor holding us back seems to be time. How often do you hear people say, “I don’t have time!” “I don’t have enough time” “I never have the time” The fact is we all have time. 24 hours a day. It’s down to us how we prioritise it.
How does your typical ‘work’ day look?
- Running the usual business operations
- Dealing with customers, suppliers, and staff
- Meetings, meetings, and more meetings
- Giving the go ahead on sales and marketing activity
- Business development
- Ad-hoc phone calls
- Reviewing reports
- And much more
The point is that you’re busy trying to fit all the stuff you need to do into a limited amount of time. So, it seems absurd that we’re suggesting that you take time out of your business. Are we mad! It may increase your family time, but work will certainly suffer.
Going back to the pandemic. Remember March 2020 (like we can forget!) when many of us were forced to change the way we worked. As you’re still a business owner, then I’ll assume you rode that storm and no doubt you had to make changes. You found different ways of working and communicating. If that experience taught us anything it should be that there are other ways of doing the same thing.
And that includes taking time out of your business. Prioritising and delegating are key to making this successful.
I have worked with a business coach from year one of starting my business. With my current business coach who I’ve worked with for over 5 years, we meet online for one morning every month. During one session Nikki, introduced me to the following time management concept. You score your regular tasks like this:
- £10 task – this is a task anyone can do
- £100 task – this is a task someone else can do if they have the specialist skill and/or capability to be trained
- £1000 task – this is a task only you can do
Go through your regular tasks and put a value against them. Then work out who you could delegate or outsource these to.
With your £1000 tasks be honest. Do you really have to do them or is it just the control enthusiast inside you? If everything in your list is a £1000 task and you’re working silly hours, well I suggest you give Nikki a ring – as you need help!
Meetings, meetings, meetings, and no time for work
One thing I often find with business owners is that when I call to speak to them about their marketing they’re always in a meeting. It’s natural to want to be involved in meetings when it’s your business. But meetings eat time. Reducing the number of meetings you attend may be the answer to finding a lot of time. If you want to keep in the loop, just have someone take meeting notes and assign actions during the meeting – you then have a quick-read summary of what was discussed and the outcomes.
How do you know how much work you need to delegate?
You should aim to reduce your time, so you no longer need to:
– Work at weekends
– Work after 6.30pm in the week
– You can take time out of the business one day a week
Calculate the extra hours you are doing each week and then try and match this against the tasks you have marked as £10 and £100 tasks.
Free time – family and you
Freeing this time up allows you to not only spend more time with family and friends, but have quality time just for you.
Embrace your hobby
The World Health Organisation (WHO) suggest that hobbies or spending time doing things you enjoy doing is a good habit for mental health.
So, whether it’s a round of golf that floats your boat or sailing or a bike ride or whatever – it doesn’t matter. The point is that you’re having some me-time and giving your brain a rest from the day-to-day at work which leaves it more open for the bigger thinking ideas that will build your business to where you want to be.
Stop overloading your brain
Did you know our brains only have the capacity to remember 7 things at a time? I find this fascinating because when you’re armed with this information you can fully appreciate the need to reduce your workload and delegate tasks. As an entrepreneur, you have so much stuff going. If you haven’t properly learned the art of delegation and relinquishing control you will feel tired, pretty miserable, frustrated or even angry too much of the time.
Of course, there is always times where you will have to step up and spend more time in the office, but this can’t be a weekly occurrence. If you find you are doing longer hours again…write down how much stuff you’re dealing with and go back to the £10, £100, and £1000 task exercise.
After all the blood, sweat and tears you’ve put into your business, you don’t want to hear these words when you come home late.
Standing your partner up because you’ve just got a few things left to finish, missing the kids’ or grandkids’ school performance because that tender needed to go out, skulking off on holiday to call the office or checking your emails by the pool (when you think no one’s watching). These are things that cause tension in your family relationships because your family feel that they aren’t as important as your company. And for you, you miss out on the invaluable memories because you don’t switch off.
As this article available via Huffington Post states – The toughest job an entrepreneur has is to keep their marriage together. But that’s another blog!
I do hope you have found this blog interesting and something to consider. Poor priorities and delegation – or maintaining too much control over the business – are what hold many business owners back from being innovative and taking their business to the next level.
Brevity is currently looking to work with 3 SME business owners who wish to improve their branding and marketing as part of their small business exit strategy planning to get their business ready for sale in the next 2-5 years. Give us a call on Basingstoke 01256 53600 or Brighton 01273 286771 to see how we can support you.