Do the Important Things First
Once you’ve freed up some precious time, make sure you refocused on doing the important money-making activities for your business FIRST.
Here’s a story based on a metaphor by Stephen Covey…
A teacher stood before his class with a large empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, right up to the top. He turned to the students and asked, “Is this jar full?”
Everyone agreed that it was. So the teacher picked up a box of pebbles and poured them in to the jar. He shook the jar lightly and the pebbles settled into the open spaces between the rocks. The students laughed.
The teacher turned to the students again. “Is this jar full?”
Again, everyone agreed that it was. The teacher picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. The sand filled up all the tiny spaces around the rocks and pebbles.
The teacher turned to his students again.
“This jar is your life. The rocks are the important things…your family, your loved ones, your health…anything that is so important that if you lost it, you would be nearly destroyed.
“The pebbles are the other things in life that matter on a smaller scale, like your job, your house, and your car.
“The sand is everything else. The little stuff. If you put the sand or the pebbles into the jar first…you won’t have any room for the rocks. The same goes for your life.
If you spend all your energy and time on the little stuff…you will never have room for the truly important things. Take care of the rocks first. The things that really matter. Everything else is just pebbles and sand.”
Your Essential Business Activities
What are the activities you do that directly generate income for your business?
- These are the things you do that put cash into your pocket, not all the little things in between.
What activities bring in more customers? What activities bring in more leads? What activities turn those leads into customers?
- These are the essential activities of your business. If you don’t do them, your wedding business will shrivel up and die.
Set aside time every work day to do these essential business activities first. Then squeeze in the emails, phone call and nitty gritty work activity later on. This will make sure you’re focusing on the most important tasks that bring in money, so you’re not busy all day and “accomplishing nothing.”
Once you set aside time each day for your essential, income-generating activities, you’ll have less time available to do the rest. Your plate might be so full that you’ve been neglecting the big money actions just to keep up on customer service, wedding preparation and the rest.
If you want your business to grow, you can’t do it all yourself. You’ve got to get help. Especially if you plan to a have a family and a life in there.
This is easier than you think. Consider the activities you do each day and identify the urgent but not important or unimportant stuff you do with your time.
Who can help you with this?
- It might be one of your kids. It could be a local college student. You might be able to hire an intern. I’m also a big fan of hiring a virtual assistant on websites like HireMyMom.com, Odesk.com or Elance.com.
The first tasks to outsource are the ones you simply don’t like to do. Get them off your To Do list as quickly as you can. Then start working on the other tasks that take up time, but don’t require a high degree of skill.
It feels really weird to spend money getting help with these things when we’ve trained ourselves to work hard and get it all done ourselves. It might seem like you’re “wasting money.”
But successful business people who grow big businesses learn quickly that you can’t grow working by yourself. You need a team of people helping you do the non-essential stuff so that you can spend time working on what you’re really good at and generating income…and build in some free time to enjoy your hard work.
How much do you charge an hour for your services? That’s at least how much your time is worth. Many wedding professionals make anywhere from $60 – 500 per hour.
It makes sense to hire someone for $10 an hour (and there are ways to get great help for less!) so that you do more those high value activities. $60 – $10 = $50. It’s a bargain!
Another key to finding more time for your business is to eliminate distraction and interruption.
Dump the Non-Essentials Now
1. Identify 3 activities that, if you did them every day, would directly improve your bottom line. Block out time on your calendar to work on these activities every week.
2. Make a list of all the tasks you do that you don’t like or that don’t require a high level of skill . Choose one of them to outsource.
3. Take a look at your work environment. Before you sit down to work on your high-level activities, turn off the phone and email. Shut the door and ask your family or co-workers not to interrupt you. Work for 50-90 minutes non-stop and then take a break.
If we want to get more done in less time, we need to spend a little time (high-value time!) thinking about what we do that has real value and what is inefficient. As soon as you start freeing up your time to work on what you really love, you’ll be making more money and enjoying your life more.
What are some time-saving strategies that work for you?