Do you feel like your business is taking over your life? Or your calendar is out of control? Perhaps you just have no idea how to best use your time to keep your business running and your income coming in without working all the time.
In recent conversations with clients, I’ve found that they are struggling to figure out how to run their businesses and still have time to do the things that are most important to them right now. Or they have plenty of time available, but they’re not sure where to focus each day.
Often we feel like our calendar OR other people are the boss of our time, instead of us being in charge of it. I’ve been there too. There have been many times as a business owner when I have felt like I had no control over what was happening with my time, and I often was completely exhausted because of it.
In this episode, I want to share with you some strategies to make the best use of the time you have to invest in your business.
This episode was sponsored by my upLIFT Mentormind program, for Christian women in the testing or established stages of business who are ready to streamline their business, and grow together to reach their goals and thrive. Click here to learn more and apply today.
6 Steps to Taking Charge of Your Time in Your Business
You’ve got a lot to do in your business, from creating content to discovery calls to completing projects to checking email and more. So how do you make sure you’re staying in control of your calendar and not allowing yourself to waste the time available to you.
Step 1: Shift your mindset
If you have struggled with feeling like you need to accommodate everyone and everything, then I want you to decide today to shift this mindset. Determine that you can control your calendar and you don’t have to feel out of control all the time.
Now you might need to ask yourself: Why do I feel like I have to work as much as I am? Do you feel like you need to be available to your clients 24/7 or potential clients for discovery calls every single day?
If so, this is a scarcity mindset… it’s worrying that if we don’t take every opportunity or answer every call, then we’re going to miss out on something important.
If we are honest, it’s because we are forgetting who is truly in charge of it all, and who is our ultimate provider. It’s GOD! And if we actually understand that He is the source of everything in our lives and our business then we do not need to work in a scarcity mindset.
Action step: Write a statement about your time that you WANT to implement in your business. For example, “I am in charge of my calendar” or “I spend my time on what is most important to me.”
Step 2: Determine your non-negotiables.
Next, you need to decide what are the non-negotiables that you want to have in your life and on your calendar. This could be family time, a day off, date night, time for fun–whatever is most important to you!
These are the times you will NOT work. It’s important to determine these things first, before you are prioritizing your work time.
Action step: Write down your non-negotiables.
Step 3: Identify your top business priorities.
Now you need to identify your top business priorities. This could be income, visibility, product development, or a variety of other things. Once you know what your top business priorities are, this helps you to know where you should be spending the bulk of your time.
You will be able to prioritize the activities that will help you to achieve those priorities OVER other activities that might feel urgent… because these are the most important activities.
Action step: Write down your 2-3 top business priorities.
Step 4: Know when your energy is highest.
When do you do your best work? Is it early in the morning or late at night?
If you’re not sure, start paying attention to how you are feeling when you are working at various hours of the day.
Here’s the cool thing: when you are an entrepreneur, you don’t necessarily have to fall in line with the typical 9-5 working hours. You CAN adjust your calendar based on what works best for you. And part of that is knowing when you tend to be most productive.
Remember: this is about being intentional with our time rather than allowing our calendar to control us. So understanding your energy level will help you to be intentional with when you are working and what you are working on.
Action step: Identify when your best work is done and write it down.
Step 5: Identify proactive work vs. reactive work.
This one goes hand in hand with the last one, but I want to separate it out as I think this can get tricky.
The last step in this process is to really figure out what is proactive work vs. what is reactive work. I don’t recall where I first heard this term, but I know that I’ve utilized it over the years and found it helpful.
Some work requires full thinking power–it’s often work where you are creating something or putting something out into the world. That is proactive work, and you need a higher level of focus and energy for this type of work.
Reactive work is the type of work that does not require your full brain power, and often it’s work that is more responsive to others… for example, social media, emails, etc. These are things you might be able to do when your kids are around, when you’re at the doctor’s office waiting for your appointment, or even with a TV show on in the background.
Action step: Make a list of what is proactive work vs. reactive work in your biz.
Step 6: Set up your calendar to reflect the previous 5 points.
Now it’s time to implement. Pull out a paper calendar or a google calendar and put these things on your schedule.
Start with adding your non-negotiables. Then figure out what your work hours are going to be based on the other things we’ve discussed – your energy, your priorities, and proactive vs. reactive work.
Mark down the general days or times when you plan to dedicate to these activities.
If you are a creative and you don’t like being locked into a particular schedule this may be tricky. Perhaps for you, you need a more general guideline of what you need to do each day without set hours for doing them… that’s okay.
But I do want to challenge you with this thought: boundaries make room for creativity.
Action step: Set up your calendar.
What managing my time and energy looks like for me
I want to remind you that this is a process. It is not a set in stone schedule that never changes. It’s going to take testing, evaluating, and adjusting based on what works and what doesn’t work for you.
Over the years, I’ve tried various methods for managing my time and energy in my business. Currently, I have my schedule set up based on the type of activity each day. That’s one way to do it; you can also have a consistent schedule each day with blocks of time for certain things.
My current schedule:
- Mondays: writing + content creation
- Tuesdays: admin + client calls
- Wednesdays: podcasting + client calls
- Thursdays: client work
- Fridays: projects
A few years ago, almost every day included client work, and then there were some blocks of time on some days for other things. As my business model has shifted, so has the focus of my time.
But one big thing I’ve realized is that I can set boundaries on my time. I don’t have to allow for client calls, podcasting, or discovery calls every day of the week. I can choose when to allow this.
In the summer, if I want to take afternoons off or a full day off, I can do that! I can adjust my schedule according to the season I’m in (take a listen to last week’s episode for more on this idea).
I’m learning more and more the importance and value of prayer over my business. Here is a prayer I prayed over my business and I encourage you to pray over yours:
“God, thank you for my business. Thank you that I have the opportunity to serve the women in my community with the gifts, skills, and passions you have given me. Please help me to serve my clients and students with excellence and reflect the light of Christ to them through my work.
Please guide my steps and my business decisions so that they are in line with where you want me to go. Help me not to get ahead of You Lord by jumping into things You haven’t called me to. Help me not to get behind You by dragging my feet when I know you’ve spoken. Help me to be led by Your Holy Spirit rather than my own selfish desires.
Lord, I ask you to bless my business and my efforts so that I can continue to make an impact and bless others around me.
Thank you – in Jesus’ name I pray, amen!”
Shine a Light Segment:
Today I’m featuring one of the members of my upLIFT Mentormind, Karen Laos. Karen is a Keynote Speaker and a Communication Coach for accomplished women in business.
Karen provides keynote talks at events, trainings for corporations, as well as coaching for women (especially women over 40) who are ready to invest in themselves and up-level their speaking and communication skills.
Karen is an absolutely amazing woman who will make you feel comfortable and empowered to own your voice and speak with confidence.
Connect with Esther:
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