Mastering Your Day: How to Value Your Time For What It’s Truly Worth
When you own a small business or lead an organization, your time is highly valuable. How effectively you spend your time in the role of leader directly impacts the success of your organization. So, the stakes are high! Unfortunately, leaders find themselves deep in the weeds all too often. While jumping in to sort out minor details is sometimes necessary to push your organization through challenging moments, it should not be the norm.
Valuing your time for what it’s truly worth means using your busy day to focus on the work you love to do, the work that inspires you, and the work that helps your business grow. When this is your focus each day, you flourish as an entrepreneur. You can also dedicate more of your time to big-picture, mission-driven projects that help your business move forward. Here’s a process to help you appreciate the importance of your time each week.
Understand How You Realistically Use Your Time
The first step in valuing your time is understanding how you actually allocate your time each day. If you’re like most entrepreneurs, your workdays often stray from your calendar, schedule, or hopes for the day. For this reason, you shouldn’t consult past calendars or schedules to try to figure out how you’re spending your time. Instead, track your day in real-time.
To find out how you truly spend your time, track your day in 15-minute increments. This is best done as your day progresses. If you leave it to the end of the day, you may struggle to remember exactly what you were doing between 2:15 and 2:30 that day. Track your day for several days in a row including different types of days. For example, if you take meetings from home a couple of days during the week, these days will look much different than the days you’re at the office collaborating with your team.
Are You Devaluing Your Time?
After you record your time, split up your activities into categories (like administrative tasks or big-picture planning) and add up the amount of time you spend in each area. You might find that you are spending many more hours than you would like on tasks that you don’t enjoy, aren’t particularly skilled at, or don’t really push your business forward.
When you spend time on tasks that should fall outside of your slate of responsibilities as a leader or business owner, you are devaluing your time. From a business perspective, by completing tasks outside of your scope, you are likely spending more money on them than is probably necessary. To think of it differently, consider this question: Would it be more advantageous for a CEO to schedule meetings or an executive assistant? Not only does a CEO have more high-level concerns, but an executive assistant is better suited to that task anyway.
Respect Your Own Time
Spending time on tasks that you don’t love or that you’re not suited for also impacts you as a professional. In a subconscious way, you are showing yourself that your time is dispensable. Not only does this impact your sense of empowerment as a leader, but it also makes it easier for you to continue spending your time ineffectively.
As you have probably heard frequently in the media — including this very blog — self-care is an important habit for entrepreneurs to cultivate on the road to success. Respecting your own schedule and using your time wisely are some of the most basic forms of self-care. By appreciating the true value of your time, you reify your professional strengths and authority as a leader.
Take Control of Your Day
Through this process, you may have found that you are not using your time as effectively as you could be. Where do you go from here? How do you start making a change to correct this imbalance? The first step is to outline the tasks you should and should not be focused on each week. Then, develop a calendar or schedule that you can learn to live by. When developing a plan for yourself, make sure to prioritize the tasks that lead to business growth.
The next step is to find adequate support for the tasks you don’t want to be doing. You’re probably spending your time on those tasks because you either don’t have the right support or your team is not effectively picking up the slack. You might need to provide more training or direction to an existing team. Make sure to clearly communicate everyone’s responsibilities including your own. You can also work on finding more high-quality professionals to add to your team.
One of the best tools to begin valuing your time appropriately is delegation. Handing off tasks to other members of your team obviously saves time in your schedule because you are no longer responsible for handling those tasks, but there are other reasons this strategy works so well.
Delegating tasks that are not suited to your work style, skills, or role as a business owner prevents you from draining your energy on taxing, unfulfilling work. That leaves more time and energy for the areas that inspire you and help your business to grow. Delegation also allows you to pair team members with must-do tasks that they can do faster or even more successfully than you because they have the requisite skills or experience.
Get the Support You Need
In our business, we constantly meet business owners who are unable to grow their businesses because they are overwhelmed by day-to-day operations and challenges. They’ve built a great business, but have reached a point where progress has slowed. That’s why we’re so passionate about empowering business owners to use their time effectively!
With Virtual Assistant services, you can use your time effectively. Virtual Assistants handle tasks like scheduling, calendar management, email management, and anything else that takes you away from the work that will help you grow your business. Plus, your Virtual Assistant learns quickly. That means you can get back to the work that really matters fast.
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