To Don’t List

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Question: “I’m struggling to keep up with life! My business continues to demand most of my time, and there’s just not enough hours in the week to unwind or socialise with family and friends. Any tips on how I can strike a balance, without it costing my hip pocket?”

One of the main reasons people want to get into their own business is to gain more freedom and become a “master of their own destiny”.  Interestingly, a lot of business owners start to feel that their business is running them – rather than them running their business!

Up front, let’s look at an interesting law in time management called Parkinson’s Law.  It simply states that… work expands to fill the available time.  In other words, I guarantee you could easily work another 4 hours per day and there would still be more work to do!

When I’m coaching people looking to reduce their hours, increase their productivity and gain better balance in the process, I remind them that… It’s not how many hours you put in that count… it’s what you put into the hours.

Let me ask you this… If you were heading off on a holiday at the end of this week, how much clearer would your priorities instantly become?

For most people their most productive day of the year is the day before they go on holidays.  Why is that?  Quite simply you become super focused.  You know you don’t have tomorrow or next week to get things done.  You develop a sense of urgency that’s healthy and a real energy and focus on completion.

In seminars I talk about the “Time Rip-Off Factor”.  That’s all the areas of your life you can (and many do) rip-off time to fund work.  Things like sleep, family, social and relaxation time.  You can do this for the short-term.  The challenge comes when it becomes the standard habitual way you operate.  When that occurs it spells DANGER!! WARNING!!

What needs to happen is for you to step back from the day to day and get clear on what you want.  Write down your ideal workstyle and lifestyle.  Then take a look at last week and see how closely these match up.  My guess is that there’s a gap between your current workstyle and your ideal.

Next we need to look for some quick wins.

This could be some self-discipline to end the day at a particular time two afternoons per week.  One of those days give yourself some personal time and the other make it family or friends time.  If you were sick for a couple of days your business would survive.  I think you just need to get clearer on your “must do” priorities and allocate the right amount of time to them.

Fitness time is essential.

Your business needs you in high energy and healthy.  There is no better way to clear your thinking than doing some exercise.  It doesn’t have to be heavy, just something that gets the blood flowing and you focusing on your health.

If I looked in your diary next week, do you have any personal time allocated?  Would I see your fitness time, family time and relaxation time in there?  The answer is probably no, but it needs to be yes.  It will make such a difference to the balance in your life and how you’re allocating your 168 hours per week.

Also, you need to develop a “TO DON’T LIST”.

You see, everyone is focused on what to do but in actual fact, I think there’s real value in you getting clear on what not to do.  If we’re going to re-claim some personal time we need to reduce hours but at the same time improve your productivity in the hours left.

You might also take a read of “The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey”.  It’s a great book to give you effective tips on how to delegate and work better with your team.  In many situations when I start coaching a leader the team is not that busy and the owner or leader is flat out!

Put energy into creating the ideal workstyle – pretty soon it will become habit and you’ll be happier with more positive energy in every area of your life.  All the best.

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