My husband, Chuck, and I took a deep look at why we did not have time for success and each other last year. I documented everything I did and for what duration for a year. At the end of last year, I analyzed the information and found that I was a big time waster; where I spend my time is directly related to how fulfilled and successful I feel, and finally I saw where my time and energy was spent on non-revenue producing activities.
Here is a list of what I did about it:
Outsource Web Graphics, Website Maintenance, and Logo Creation: I have creative talent and software knowledge but was spending time working on my website and graphics instead of channeling my creativity into product creation, writing, and my hobbies of quilting and making jewelry. This ate up countless hours per week. If you are a business owner and you are doing these tasks on your own, STOP. I outsourced to my Virtual Assistant who coordinates all the activity among various service providers. I no longer have to a) do the work b) find the service providers c) spend valuable time and energy on maintaining my site. It is so joyous to come home after meeting with a couple in their home having saved their marriage and see how my website was updated with an article about the work I was doing that day and a graphic was created for the ebook I wrote and published for sale on-line, my logo was created and sent to me for final approval….while I focused on my core competency. Contact Serena @ www.VBSOnDemand.com for more information about partnering to outsource for your success or to get your logo created. Contact Brian @ www.CustomTwit.com to pimp out your twitter, facebook, youtube, or website graphics. (You will see my new logo in a couple of weeks – I feel so grown up and official in business now)
House Maintenance/Cleaning: This is one indulgence that is non-negotiable. Chuck and I were spending gobs of time on cleaning! ICK. I love having a clean home but I don’t love doing it. When I calculated how much time it takes to clean a room and compared that to how much I could make by focusing on my business and compared that to the cost of hiring someone to clean my home – it was a no brainer. We have had our home cleaned by Angelina for 2 years now. Tips for selecting a great housekeeper: a) Interview references and ask the questions that make you uncomfortable because this will screen out the nasties b) Select someone who will clean your home on a trial basis and more than satisfies your requirements c) document and share your requirements…review them after each cleaning during the trial period and conduct periodic checks thereafter d) Ensure you hire someone you trust in your home with your valuables e) Fire them if you are dissatisfied in any way instead of giving them several chances
Focus on Systems and Professionals: Even though I know how to file paperwork and pay bills, I hired Perry of JPBServices to set up Quickbooks to auto download transactions from my bank so that all I have to do is download the transactions each week and categorize them. I was spending tons of time entering receipts and filing them. Now, I don’t keep paper receipts because it is all in my online banking or my accounting software which is backed up. Chuck and I did not enjoy book keeping, it made me crabby as all get out and tax time was a nightmare, taking weeks instead of a few hours. Now, Perry comes over once a quarter, double checks our entries, reconciles our accounts, and once year to get things ready for our accountant. We spend less than 2 hours per month on book keeping activities now and I am not crabby.
Stop keeping paper for filing: I noticed that keeping paper and filing it was a time waster. Why keep it if you don’t use it right away unless you have to have it for tax or accounting purposes? The paperwork would collect in stacks until I found or made time to file and by then it was unmanageable. I invested in neatdesk and only scan paperwork that has to be retained for tax or accounting purposes – anything else gets shredded or recycled. I also use Microsoft OneNote to retain emails that I need to handle or reference or take notes of action items or client files.
Outsource your Dates: Chuck and I make and schedule time to spend together. This means that you must schedule time in your appointment book for your love life and for yourself. How is this outsourcing you ask? If you don’t make an appointment to see your doctor when you are sick, do you visit your doctor? NO. If you don’t make an appointment to see your hairdresser, does your hair get maintained? You outsource that, right? I have found that scheduling time for myself and for my love life blocks out time in my calendar which keeps me from other unimportant stuff. It is outsourced because instead of not having time for myself or Chuck, I know I have ‘Sourced’ time by scheduling an appointment. This works really well for doctor’s visits or haircuts…it works fabulously for personal well being and romance.
Remember, Outsourcing is a good thing. It is very counterintuitive in that you think that you are saving money by doing it yourself. But what you are really doing is spending time on things that are not your core competency and that are not as important as the relationships in your life.
A core competency is what you are great at, enjoy doing, is your strength and brings you success when you do it. My core competency in my business is: bringing people together in harmony, healing broken relationships, helping singles determine if who they are dating is the ‘One’, and helping newly blended families be successful. Spending time on maintaining my website or newsletter, book keeping, cleaning my house does not forward success in my business. I am allergic to dust so cleaning my house was a miserable experience and I would not feel well for days after cleaning resulting in a loss of productivity. Now, I am free, feel well most of the time, and love coming home to a clean house after meeting with a couple and saving their marriage. Invest in making time for yourself, your business success, and your love life. It pays huge dividends.
Get the Where I Spend My Time worksheet to help you get started now.