Give Yourself Time with Family
You’ve managed to launch a new business–or your current business is on track–but how much time to you have to spend with your family? It’s one thing to spend your time launching your business. I hope you took my advice about talking this out with your family before your launched. But now the holidays are under way, and it is important to capitalize on your best resource. If you ask yourself, “Am I spending too much time at work?” You are asking the wrong question, because it is always a negative question. Americans always feel like they spend too much time at work. Instead ask, “Am I focusing my time at work well?”
A Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index study shows, “Today’s small business owner works an average of 52 hours per week, with fifty-seven percent working at least six days a week, and more than twenty percent working all seven.” I really have to wonder how people can sustain this when it can take a toll on relationships and your health. Are these business owners working for the sake of work? They should be hyper-focused on results-driven work hours, while delegating all other tasks to employees or contractors who have the high-level skill sets to accomplish tasks with minimal supervision.
Give Yourself the Power to Delegate
Here is a brief conversation between me and an entrepreneur I coach who felt like he was spending “too much time” at work:
Me: “You hired an accountant at some point, right?”
Him: “Of course, she knows tax law, and her staff can get anything done in a few days.”
Me: “So you see the value of teaming up with an accountant you trust, because she can do a better job than you, and you can focus on other things.”
Me: “So, why are you going into your store to stock inventory at 6am when you could be coming up with a new marketing plan?”
Him: “I don’t trust my first shift employee to stock right.”
Me: “Then why did you hire him in the first place, and why haven’t you given him tasks he can do right instead?”
I went on to point out two major mistakes to him. His first mistake was hiring someone who did not have the basic skills to do a lower-level task. His second was to take up the slack himself, instead of training the employee to improve or hiring someone new who had the skills already.
Hire yourself a team that you can delegate to. When so much rides on the line in a new business, you can fall into the trap of hoarding all the work. Give yourself a gift of delegating. See it as a form of investing in quality employees based on their skills. Delegate website content to a creative employee. Delegate filing to your most organized employee. Etc. etc. At some point between the business plan and the end of the first fiscal year, many business owners get it in their head that their skills and know-how are limitless. Of course, like the employee who would “try their hand” without previous experience, these owners think the following: “If I had all the hours in a week, I could do everything needed to run my business.” Some people actually try to do this. I just spoke to someone who thought working a 60-80 hour work week was the key to success. I had to sit him down and let him know that he wasn’t the right person to do every job. What he really needed was to invest in employees that could take on more responsibility with the proper incentive and become invested in the business themselves.
This will free up enough time for you to focus on what you do best, and hopefully that includes being a member of your own family. Take time to thank them for their support and spend time with them. Limit the hours you need to work and don’t go for the phone to call or text your employees outside of these hours. Of course this is the ideal, but strive for it!
Give Yourself the Gift of Accomplishment
Now do not get me wrong. As a business owner, you are on the clock 24-7. It’s exactly for that reason that you need to know your best skills, learn to delegate, and spend time with your family. Taking a moment this time of year to appreciate your family is a must. But you should also take the time to go over your journal and give yourself a pat on the back. What were you most proud of? When did you push through doubt and take a leap of faith? Boost yourself up for the final push through 2014. A New Year is ahead of you. You’ve earned it.