Michael E. Gerber
You put in your two-week notice at a company you've been at for a few years. Or, maybe you decided to skip a semester to take a stab at entrepreneurship. Congrats!
Leaping into starting a new business is exciting and scary. Few things have as many mixed emotions as starting a business.
As you'd expect, the first few months are unpredictable. But that's okay because you're up for the challenge, and you figured that things would be wild at first.
Then, for Drew, at least, there was a moment that you honestly and inwardly asked yourself.
"How is this any different than having a J.O.B (just over broke?)" Yes, you have more freedom - and you set the terms. But (as any new business will understand) you show up sooner, leave later, and put in way more effort.
You didn't plan for "time" management. Which, as I have said, is my most essential and completely invaluable asset.
You think that just showing up is what's needed. And sometimes that's true. The reality is that there's an unspoke and hard to reason formula for being productive, providing value, and living. What in your business is taking you away from being productive?
From working on-the-business rather than working in-the-business.
That (helpful reminder) you went on this path to get more than more money. You wanted more freedom and time.
The reality is that most people's attention spans don't go beyond 18 minutes. So why then do you have so much "planned for today" that isn't needed. You're wasting your own time. You're unproductive.
It's because you've never taken the time to reflect on the things in your day that suck the time out of you. Maybe you've never given yourself a limit.
You don't own a business; you're just another employee.
Between strategic initiatives and weekly tasks, you (like millions of American's who don't take vacations) haven't prepared for when you "won't work."
If you've got a J.O.B. then I'd invite you to walk into your manager's office and tell her that you're planning on only showing up for 2 hours a day over the next few weeks. You want to catch up on reading or spend more time with the wife.
See. You're not an employee - because you can decide this. You control your time.
I don't like meetings. I hate them. The reality is that most times, there's a meeting that could have been an email.
Like Tim Ferris suggested in the 4-hour workweek. Being upfront and transparent with people - that they should forward as much information as possible before the meeting may actually result in no meetings at all.
Problem solved. Time back.
Let's think about the extreme for a moment. What would happen if you never showed up at your small business ever again?
What would happen? Are you getting apprehensive?
Maybe less extreme - what if you had 1 hour a week that you checked in with your team - it was a power-problem solving event. When you were done, you went back to the other 39 Hours of the week.
What would happen? Sounds odd, right?
What you're likely thinking about is all of those tasks that need you. Maybe it's the small tasks that add up, but you feel like you own them. Or perhaps it's the most critical tasks that you'd never feel comfortable giving away to someone else... yet.
What if we suggested you compromise. Could you find a way to shrink every day down to two hyper-efficient hours of problem-solving? You delegate the small tasks, own the complex functions. Then... you take two more hours (so a four-hour workday.) to only focus on this one problem.
How do I get rid of the "critical" two hours a day?
How do I shrink this to 4 hours a week?
If you do, you own a business.
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