It’s an issue that plagues most business owners at some point, but it’s particularly affecting our startup founders and small business clients.  Startups and small business owners that we work with are unique in that they typically have a smaller team, are still managing large aspects of their business themselves, and quite honestly, many are still trying to figure out their product-market fit or reinvent themselves to be competitive in this new economy dominated by technology.

We know it’s a constant struggle deciding what’s most important to spend your time on, especially once your work day has already begun.  Once you’re in the office or on your computer, that’s it—the countdown begins.  You start down the rabbit hole of completing small tasks and look back at the day wondering where all the time went.

Do you tend to attack what’s right in front of you or move more strategically throughout your day?  It’s hard to get off the hamster wheel of taking care of minor or administrative tasks until you take a look at your bottom line.  Can you quantify those tasks in financial value-add to your business?

What Can You Do About It?

To better help value and manage your time, take an inventory of the following for the next week:

  • How much time are you spending on social media?  It might be time to hire a social media management firm.
  • How much time is spent on professional growth?  Sign up for a Kindle account on Amazon to read more often.  Also, consider online learning and courses. 
  • How much time is spent on emails? It might be time to hire a virtual assistant.
  • How much time is spent accomplishing strategic goals for your business?  This is where your time should be spent.  Here is where you make decisions regarding the resources and people you need to help you execute on strategic goals set for the year and future.  While it seems that hiring more people or hiring an Interim COO or consultant is a luxury, it’s not.  If they do their job well, you’ll earn more money, covering the expense of having them on your team.  We can GUARANTEE this for those working with the TPM Focus team.

Here are the next steps for you (starting now!)

This exercise is best completed using Google Sheets or an Excel Worksheet:

  1. In Column 1: List each task you are doing today
  2. In Column 2: Next to each task, list how much time you spent on it
  3. In Column 3: Next to the task time, list the outcome of the task (Did it result in closing a deal (if so, how much $)? Did it result in reaching a strategic goal? Professional development? etc.)
  4. In Column 4: Next, determine if this was a task you could’ve delegated to someone else to complete. Note a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ in the spreadsheet.  This step requires you to be honest with yourself.
  5. In Column 5: Next, determine who would be best to handle this task. (Is it an existing employee? Can your administrative or virtual assistant do it? Do you need to hire someone?)   

And finally, consider how much it would cost to get someone to complete the non-strategic tasks for the business.  If you’re spending too much time responding to emails, a Virtual Assistant could do that for you.  Typically, their services cost $25/hour or less, depending on the skill level. Continue this process as you go through each task on your list and think strategically about the next steps.

If you are intentional about this exercise and open to learning and making adjustments for the best interests of your business, you’ll recognize the patterns and habits you need to shift.  Otherwise, it will continue to be impossible to reach your strategic goals.

Fill out the form below if you need help being more strategic (it’s our specialty!).