Time

Time is Money. Let's Track It.

As an entrepreneur (and human being), your time is VALUABLE, and is the only resource that you can never get back!  One of the big obstacles and excuses that I hear from my clients and fellow female founders is "I don't have TIME!"  Well, my friend, if you have the dream, then I'm here to help you MAKE the time to follow through on those brilliant ideas I know you have.  

This week, we'll take an honest look at how you are ACTUALLY spending 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.  This will also help lay the groundwork to give you data if you'd like to invest in online tools, or even hire team members.  

1. First, let's start with doing a time audit.  

You know how whenever you want to start keeping a budget, you first start with tracking your finances?  Or how my nutritionist wanted me to track everything I ate for a week to see just how much sugar I was consuming?  You can do the same thing with your time.  

By tracking how you spend your time, you’ll get a baseline look on your habits and workflow, so you can honestly evaluate what’s working and not working.  No judgment here, just simple reporting!  You can do it in a paper planner, in an excel spreadsheet, or an online tool like Toggl.  

** Your action step is to jot down the time blocks on everything you do for a whole week, INCLUDING your life activities (because it’s hard to separate).  ** 

2. Categorize them into types of activities:

Did you know that there are different types of activities?  Meaning, there are some tasks that only you can do as a CEO/service provider that are worth more than other tasks that you could outsource or even delete.  

Here's where you can start to categorize your tasks according to how much this activity is worth your time.  For example, "CEO time" spent creating your unique brand position will ultimately help you bring in more money than changing the font on your web site.  

So, here's a general category list that I like to use to break down the type of tasks I do.  Since I'm nerdy, I like to color code them as well.  
Money-Making (green), Customer Service/Client Calls (blue), Planning & Strategy (purple), Admin (red), Personal (pink).  

Then, 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. 

There are a few things to notice here:  

What are my priorities, and are they scheduled FIRST into my calendar?  Your values are important to taking the TIME to express them will make a difference in your fulfillment.  

What are activities that you don't enjoy and you're not good at?  If it's business related and NOT necessary, then say good-bye!  If it's business related and necessary, then this could be a task you automate with a tool, or a team member you hire.  For example, let's say you don't enjoy scheduling your social media, but using a tool like Hootsuite will save you time, or hiring a social media manager who helps you to create, post, and engage may be an option for you.  

What activities can I batch together?  
Sometimes a great time saver is to do "like" activities all together so you don't have to interrupt your brain flow (which can really hurt your productivity and efficiency!)   Even things like meal plan and prep for the week or batching your content for the month can all be done in one sitting.  

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 audit."  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! 

If you found this letter helpful, then please share it with your friends!  Or, you can subscribe to the "Letters For Leaders" emails for more tips, strategies, and coaching exercises delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up below! 

With joy,

Maximize Your Time

Dear leader who wants to steward her time, 

         Time.  It's your most precious resource, and something you can never get back.  As a believer in business, I know you want to make the most of your time to make the biggest impact.  Typically, I love helping entrepreneurs pinpoint their priorities, streamline their processes, and create work/life balance to optimize productivity.  But today's post is a little bit different.  I want to talk about how to actually enjoy your time -- in the present moment.  

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        I heard a quote recently that struck a chord in me, 

Depression is thinking about the past.
Anxiety is thinking about the future.
Peace is thinking about the present.
- Unknown

      This quote helped to articulate a mindset pattern that I've noticed in myself and in the women that I work with when it comes to how they perceive time.  

How many times have you thought something like this?  

Making friends was so much easier when I was in college.  
When I first started my business, there was much less competition.  
I had so much more time to work before I had my daughter.  

When we get stuck in the past and how things were, we hold on to things that no longer serves us and that can make us sad.  In these cases, I like to celebrate those memories and acknowledge the seasons of my life that meant to me.  I also recognize the need to honor, grieve, and let go the past so I can make room for the new.  

On the opposite side, sometimes we worry about our future and obsessed over things we don't really have control over.  

What if that client says no to my proposal? 
How am I going to manage all of my competing priorities? 

What am I going to do if XYZ doesn't work out?  

I'm an advocate for dreaming big, planning for the future, and counting the cost, but when we hold on too tightly to the HOWs, and WHATs, it can be nerve-racking.  Whenever I start to feel anxious about something, it typically means that I've misplaced my trust in God to provide, or misplace trust in myself to take the intentional actions.  For me, it helps to talk out what I'm feeling with my husband and trusted friends and pray for the peace that surpasses all understanding.  

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This leads me to my last point: peace is thinking about the present. 

Time is the MOST precious when we enjoy the present moment.  All of the productivity hacks in the world don't mean much if you're still stressed out and not loving life.  Your return on effort will increase when you focus on doing one thing at a time (and doing ONLY the things that matter).  Your clients and relationships will flourish when you get rid of distractions and really listen and contribute to the conversations.  Your fulfillment will skyrocket when you take the time to enjoy each moment, instead of rushing from one thing to the next.  

So, how can you start enjoying the present to maximize your time?  

Here are some ideas to get you started: 

1. Develop a mindset practice.   

Your mindset is your thoughts and beliefs that affect your actions, and can either be limiting or empowering.  Once you create awareness around your thoughts, you can begin to reprogram them.  My favorite mindset practices are prayer and journaling where I have the space to write out thoughts, process emotions, record gratitude, and prayers.  This can be a safe place for you to recognize if you're feeling depressed, anxious, or joyfully present.  

2. Stop multi-tasking. 

Our brains aren't wired to do lots of things at one time, so try to focus on doing one thing at a time.  For work, I like to do "time-blocking" where I'll have a chunk of time devoted to content creation, and another devoted to client calls.  Another principle I use is thinking of time not as tasks on a to-do list, but rather, the role I'm playing during that time.  For example, early morning I wear my "mom" hat as I feed, change, and play with my baby.  I can focus on being a mama and enjoy those moments.  Then, when I move into my office I put on my "CEO" hat to take care of my business, or my "coach" hat to help my clients.  

3. Know that a "YES" to one thing is a "NO" to another. 

You get to choose how you spend you time by saying "YES" to the things that matter, and "NO" to the things that don't quite serve you.  As you get clear on your vision, goals, and boundaries, I encourage you to regularly reflect on if the things you're doing align with your bigger purpose.  Let your "YES" be a "HECK, YES!" so you can set yourself up to commit to be fully present instead of wishing you were somewhere else.  

I hope that this post helped shift a perspective on how you invest in your most precious resource.  I'm here to help you steward the resources you've been given so you can build an intentional life and successful business.  

If you want more, you can download a free copy of the e-book, "Maximize Your Time, Talent, and Resources."  I collaborated with my friend, Jenna Shriver, to identify common beliefs that hold you back, and help you move forward to truly stewarding your God-given gifts well.