If you’ve been to any time management courses or seminars, or have experienced business coaching, you’ll know that it’s important to set aside time to work ON your business as opposed to working IN your business.
When you first start out you probably spend 95% of your time working on your business, making plans, developing systems, trying things out, creating stationery, designing a business card and so on, and the other 5% on the small client base you’ve begun to grow.
But, somewhere along the line business begins to pick up. As you gain client after client your confidence grows, so do your abilities, and it seems you attract more and more clients in the process. And then suddenly you look around and realise it’s almost the end of another year and you haven’t achieved anywhere near what you wanted to do for the year and where did that time go anyway? What happened to time for ‘me’?
Don’t worry – you’re not alone. Many business owners go through the same thing. That’s why it’s important to make sure you do set aside time for self and having a business coach often means you have someone you have to report to – for accountability.
Last year I elected to take every second Friday ‘off’ in the first half of the year, and then every Friday off for the remainder of the year. For the most part, I did achieve this. It meant I could keep my bookkeeping up to date, revisit my goals, track my progress, and write the book I’d had on the backburner for quite some time. I like to call it my ‘non-client contact’ time. I still answer the phone and respond to emails, but I don’t book in client work and I spend Fridays ON my business instead of in it. That way I have been able to claim back my weekends to spend in the garden, with my family, or just going out and doing anything I want.
It’s taken quite some time to do this, as old habits are hard to break, but when you’re new in business and keen to make it work, then you tend to do everything you can and that can mean long hours. You need to build a good reputation and be known as reliable, but once you’ve achieved that, you should be able to tell a client that you’re ‘not available’ at a particular time without fearing you are going to lose them. Besides – it shows them you are busy, and that you use a diary and that you plan – which is important to them also.
Fridays might not be the ideal day for you, and if you’re new in business you probably have lots of ‘non-client contact’ time at the moment, but if it’s time to reclaim some time to work ON your business, now’s as good a time as any to start planning that for this year.