Time is Money. Let's Track It.

Dear Shi, 

        I’m a one-woman show in my custom-design calligraphy business, and I’m doing everything, from marketing, to customer service, to actually doing the designs, and bookkeeping.  I know my time is valuable, but I’m not sure how to prioritize what I do, and figure out how put value to my time.  Would love your thoughts about how to leverage my time better so I know how to manage it better. 

Sincerely,
Jennifer


Dear Jennifer, 

        Your time IS valuable, and time is the only resource that you can never get back!  So taking an honest look at how you ACTUALLY spend your time in regards to working ON and working IN the business can give us insight into how you can make changes to be more productive so you can do what’s most important to you. 

First, it's important to understand which stage of business you're in, so you know what types of tasks are most important to help you to move forward.  I love to refer to Todd Herman's 5 stages of business. 

Then, you can continue by creating a "time budget" to see where you're currently spending your time so you can create awareness about what to keep and what to tweak. 

  1. Start by tracking how you spend your time. 
    You can use a simple excel spreadsheet, a paper planner, or a tool like www.toggl.com.
     
  2. Categorize them into types of activities:
    These are the categories I like to use, and since I'm nerdy, I like to color-code them too. 
    Money-Making (green), Customer Service (blue), Planning & Strategy (purple), Admin (red), Personal (pink).  

    Assign each category a $$ amount, generally in terms of what you get paid v. what you can pay someone to do.  For example, Money Making ($1000), Planning & Strategy ($500), Customer Service ($100), and Admin ($15)
     
  3. After a week of time tracking, reflect on how you're spending your time. 
    Ask yourself: What's going well?  What activities are bogging down my time?  What could I change to make it even better? 

    Notice any inefficiencies, and how you can block and schedule your time better.  
     
  4. If you have team members or support people, delegate those lower-income tasks, or streamline your process to make it a simple process.    

After tracking and reflection, you can then begin to implement small changes to your schedule to see it's a more effective use of your time.  Of course, don't forget to block off PERSONAL TIME and make it a non-negotiable so you have work/life balance and boundaries in place as well. 

Your Action Step:

Track how you currently spend your time by creating a "time budget."  What are some insights you have from this?  What would you like to change?  Join the Authentic Brand Leaders Facebook group, and let us know all about it! 

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With joy,