Many successful people share a common characteristic: they are good at many things & they have their fingers in multiple pies. This is especially true for people who own and run their own businesses. Usually, they’re responsible not only for the actual work generated by the business, but also for the marketing of it, the financing and billing for it, and the incoming and outgoing communication that keeps it running. This is above-and-beyond the necessities to keep life going – like grocery buying, clothes washing, house cleaning, family care, etc…
In recent memory, I can think of at least three people I’ve kvetched with about juggling all of it. But there *is* another way: delegation.
After some objective (or as close to it as you can get) analysis of your time spent, there are likely places you can delegate responsibilities so that you can work on what you love, whether it’s increasing your bottom line, or spending time in the garden tending to your carrots. It can be difficult to do, but once you cross that first hurdle, you may be surprised how much time you’re able to free up in your life. Here are some examples:
- If your business has repetitive administrative tasks, or there are a series of similar questions you get all the time, consider either creating a template you can use again-and-again, or hiring a virtual personal assistant to take care of it. For minimal training, an investment of a few hours a week with a PA clears your plate to deal with higher priority items. You can find a PA by searching locally using something like Craigslist, or, you can use one of a number of online resources for PAs. If you have a particularly good or bad experience with a PA service, leave a comment and share your experience and pay it forward!
- If you’re not in love with your visits to the grocery store, consider getting your groceries delivered. More and more groceries stores offer home delivery for a small fee — you can even set up a list of common items to get each week or month (however often you need them) — this frees up not only the time spent going to/fro and in the store, but the brain space to remember what you need to get. Some cities even offer a local from-the-farm dairy delivery, or a CSA box straight to your doorstep, or even homemade soup & bread! So, spend a little time up front, and reap the rewards of a well-stocked fridge.
- Consider the ways you communicate — do you make yourself available by phone and/or email at any time, anywhere? Is that really necessary or are there times you can set up “office hours” when people can get in touch and know they’ll reach you? Email can be especially distracting, and it takes discipline to leave it alone for periods of time. But with a little forethought, you can set up ways for auto-responses to go out letting people know you’ll get back to them shortly, or when you’ll next be available. You can schedule time with people rather than letting the phone ring whenever. You can let it go straight to voicemail and get back to it later. It’s critical to be responsive, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up control of your schedule. Letting people know when you’re available and when you’ll get back to them *is* being responsive, and giving them a dedicated time when you’re not distracted by something else is good business.
There are many more examples… yard work, car washing, pet grooming, even cooking! Don’t give up the things you love to do, but consider whether *not* doing them yourself is a better investment. Not just in the bottom line, but in your sanity!
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