Did you start your business with the high hopes that you’d spend every waking moment pouring through piles of receipts trying to update your bookkeeping reports, chasing down past due payments from customers or struggling to keep up with the growing list of marketing tasks to hopefully attract enough sales to stay in business this month?
Actually you probably started your business for one of two reasons:
One, because you were extraordinarily passionate about it.
Two, you found a way to make money without working for someone else.
So how do we fall into the quicksand of minutia that keeps us from doing the activities that inspire us the most?
Well actually three bad habits. These bad habits become a big time trap that can be quite exhausting over time. Imagine being in a cage running for hours and hours upon end on one of the circular tread mills never ending up anywhere new.
These three bad habits are often in our blind spots so I thought I’d point them out.
One bad habit occurs when we put on blinders, roll up our sleeves and just try to get through all those pesky tasks ourselves. We convince ourselves that hard work is admirable and no one else could ever do it as good as we do.
Next is do-it-yourself rationalization. This is a big trap for any high-achiever. You literally convince yourself that it’s too hard (or expensive, time consuming, etc) to delegate to someone else. Even though we continue to lose massive cash flow by staying focused on the weeds, the rationalized thinking that that hiring a dream team is just too costly keeps you from every achieving greater outcomes.
Then, a fast-paced entrepreneur keeps saying yes to new opportunities even though it just adds more stress. The rush of new business tricks many people into believing that they can’t say no. Worried that opportunity might not come again, when you continue to pile on more responsibilities without proper bandwidth you end up overwhelmed and feeling behind.
It’s not serving anyone for you to get bogged down like that so here are six ways to free yourself up to spend more time doing what fuels you.
1. Get clear on what your energy tasks are.
There are certain activities that give you energy. Uncover what they are so that you can focus on spending 80% of your time doing them. Typically these energy tasks will be based on your strengths and passions. You’ll know you are doing them if you get juiced up!
2. Block out time at the beginning of each day for “energy” tasks.
Once you know that your energy tasks are consider scheduling them at the beginning of your day. Once you kick your energy up, you can tackle some of those more challenging or less thrilling activities.
3. Delegate energy draining tasks to other people’s play.
My friend and colleague John Assaraf often says delegate tasks that are “playtime” to other people. Activities you find challenging will be other people’s “energy” tasks.
4. Train for ownership.
Instead of handing off a slew of tasks hoping they are done properly, train your support team to take “ownership” of the completion of a task (or project, role, assignment, etc.) A properly defined ownership mentality will set you up to eliminate unnecessary questions so you can focus on your own energy tasks.
5. Liberate yourself from time drains with technology.
Consider using technology for tasks that waste a lot of time. Two biggies are scheduling appointments (we like Acuity online calendaring tool) and managing customer information (I’m a big InfusionSoft CRM fan.) Also, consider using an online project management tool so you don’t spend lots of time chasing people and project deadlines.
6. Stop shoulding on yourself.
Focusing on what others say you “should” do is just as poisonous to your energy as a list of to-do’s a mile long. Especially when the “should” isn’t even effective or aligned. Take the “shoulds” off your plate and enjoy the liberation.
Wanna share some of the tasks you love the most? Or what you had to stop doing to make room for the energy activities? Post them in the comments below….
If you are spending too much time on activities that burn you out — or even worse — distract you from your goals, be sure to get a copy of my special report, 101 Ways To Triple Your Income and Time Off.
You’ll discover 101 activities and tasks that you can free yourself up by handing them off to a capable, empowered team member.