If you've read anything I've written over the years or ever spoken with me, you know that I've boiled down the business owner's and entrepreneur's day into one phrase "Busy, busy busy, doin' it, doin' it, doin' it."
Some of you are doing it today.
And you're doing it wrong.
As I said in my last column, this month, we're looking at things that owners and entrepreneurs often neglect to do - in their personal and professional lives - that make a difference in the quality of life they enjoy (or don't).
Today, let's look at what it is that makes you (and so many other small business owners) so busy.
In reality, you aren't.
As a matter of fact, most of the time, you're working far less than you'd like to acknowledge! Oh, you're "at work" but you're not really creating, or managing, or even planning.
You're on Facebook.
You're watching YouTube.
You're at a Chamber event, or Starbucks, or virtually anything else with the built-in excuse of "I've got a ton of stuff to do today and I have to go."
Here's my challenge to you: Starting today, DON'T stop doing that. Instead, document it. How many videos of kittens did you watch? How many posts did you like? How many times did you pop into the coffee shop or the Chamber breakfast, or your friend's shop to say hello?
The results are going to alarm you.
Do it for a week and then add up how much time you spent NOT working. How much time did minor distractions take you away from actually handling your business?
Now, that's one side of the coin, here's the other: If you truly are lost in the role of the Technician at your company, then your documentation will show you how much time you spent doing a job that you should have hired out for. Regardless of whether you fix cars or make belts, if you are the only "artisan" who can do the job, then this exercise will serve to show you where you can make changes in your operation to allow you NOT to make more belts or fix more cars (that's not YOUR job as the owner) but rather, how to train someone to acquire the skills necessary to handle that aspect of your day.
In either case, the goal of this exercise is to show you how much you are working - or not working - and from that, determine where the holes are in your bucket.
Do you need to schedule your time more aggressively? Train (or re-train) team? Hire team? Simply stay focused?
In the end, when the day is over and you are exhausted and feel that you haven't made headway in your business, then understanding where your time is lost is in the business is the most critical first step in realizing how to take the time back - not from your family, not from your pursuit of better health or wellness, and not from your customers.
No, the idea must be to take back lost time from misplaced actions.
Next time, we'll take a deeper look into other metrics you need to be measuring to find more success every day - and make those into permanent changes in the business.