Are You Running Your Business, or Is It Running You?

small business office co-workers

It’s not healthy to only be known for your work ethic, yet that is the situation many small business owners find themselves in.

Is your company in the driver’s seat? Take this short quiz:

  • Are you stressed, anxious or exhausted most of the time?
  • How’s your physical health? Your mental health?
  • Do you have a life outside of work?
  • Do you still celebrate short-term successes?
  • Are you connecting with people more online than in real life?

You’ve probably heard that working around the clock is the lot of entrepreneurs. Not true. Without some kind of work-life balance, you will soon burn out.

How Good Time Management Can Help

Smart time management can help you accomplish more in less time. As a result, you’ll have more unscheduled hours to do things like see your family, enjoy hobbies that refresh your energy, etc.

Here are some ways to use time more productively:

  1. Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound) goals and follow through.
  1. Use a master list that includes your goals and tasks that are both important and urgent. Things that are neither important nor urgent can be done later, delegated, or taken off your list altogether. An example of a time-sink that can be offloaded is bookkeeping. By outsourcing financial record-keeping, you’ll free up a lot of time for more important “taking care of customers” tasks, yet still receive timely, robust financial information key to business planning and decision-making.
  1. Track your productivity to see when you are most alert and energetic. Then schedule the biggest tasks for the times you normally get the most done. Take breaks in your lower-energy times, or do tasks that take less attention and effort.
  2. Give every day a theme. Rather than switching hats back and forth all day, reserve Mondays for marketing, Tuesdays for meetings, Wednesdays to improve processes, etc.

Surround Yourself with People You Trust to Stop Micromanaging

When choosing team members, look for people with talents who can wear a number of hats. When starting out, you may need to do all the administrative work yourself, for example. But as your business grows, these tasks should be handed over to a partner, assistant or outside expert so you can focus on building your business.

When you have people you trust, you’ll be less likely to micromanage them. You’ll be able to rest assured that your business is in good hands when you go on a vacation, business trip, or just take time to relax at home (you’re allowed!).

A key to making sure your team is productive in your absence is to make expectations and processes clear. When you document processes, look for recurring and tedious tasks that might be automated.

Drop Your Addiction to Opportunity

Many entrepreneurs become opportunity junkies. Driven by the fear of missing out, they feel they MUST pursue every possibility that comes along.

Eventually, these people become addicted to the chase rather than opportunities per se.

Saying no creates space to focus on the best opportunities and pursue priorities outside of work.

If you aren’t sure which opportunities to go after, find a mentor or coach, and/or ask the people you trust most. You won’t go wrong listening to your gut and aligning opportunities with your priorities.

Set Boundaries

The difference between you running your business and your business running you might be boundaries:

  • Are you leaving work at a reasonable time most days?
  • Do you unplug for short periods during the workday?
  • Are you enjoying your downtime?

Develop other interests, give yourself space, and don’t be so hard on yourself.