As an entrepreneur, how often do you feel like you're in control of your life? Be honest. I'm writing this post today because I've witnessed first hand the shear chaos that can destroy our lives as business owners. I'm an entrepreneur myself, and I'll be the first to admit that I don't always have my crap together. Can I say "crap" on the blog? Not sure if that make us look unprofessional as accountants, but it's appropriate for today's discussion.
We work with hundreds of entrepreneurs around the country which means that we have lots of meetings. You would be surprised by the number of those meetings that are postponed or missed due to something chaotic happening in the business owner's life. A customer doesn't pay on time so cash is tight, production gets messed up, or an employee throws a temper tantrum. Any number of mini-disasters sidetrack our days.
You know the feeling. At the end of a harrowing day, you make your way home very late at night only to crawl into bed and pass out. Half the time you don't even have the energy to put your pajamas on.
I started Ignite Spot over 8 years ago, and since then have learned a lot about solving this problem. I want to share a few ideas with you that will hopefully balance out your life, get you home on time, and give you more energy through the day.
How to Live a Balanced Entrepreneur Life
The 24 Hour Rule
First we need to understand that time doesn't favor the rich or any other group of people. No matter who you are, you only have 24 hours in a day. The President of The United States has the same amount of time you do each day. If he can lead the country and still have time to go to the gym, then you've got enough time to make a difference in your business and family.
Respect Your Time
Most people don't make the effort to respect their own time. They wake up, go through the motions, and let the day control them. Instead, they need to decide what their time really means to them. The most successful people in the world have a very clear understanding of what one hour of their time is worth. It's for this reason, that so many successful people refuse to watch television.
Better to Have a Plan than Wing It
I've heard many people say that they don't plan their time because in the end it doesn't matter. Things never go according to plan and their day is filled with too many unknowns to put anything on the calendar. I'm not going to disagree with them. Life is way too unpredictable to plan it out, however you still need to try.
Here's my suggestion: I don't block out every hour of my day with a detailed plan of what I will do with my time. I do however start every morning with 30 minutes of meditation time in which I determine 3 high value priorities that I will accomplish for the day. These are things that I can do to improve my business or my family. They don't include things like "clear out my email", or "clean off my desk". Those are menial tasks, not high-value initiatives. Instead, I choose things like "hire an assistant", "train an employee on a process", or "write a love letter to my wife". Notice that I don't make them all about work. Family is vital. Your personal life needs attention too or else you'll get out of balance and unhappy. It doesn't matter how much money your company makes if your personal life is a train wreck.
Focus on Outcomes
Now that you respect your time and you've chosen some important initiatives to work on through the day, it's vital that you stay focused on outcomes. Every time you start a new initiative, launch a meeting with your team, or try something new, always start with "what is the outcome I'm looking for?" Get clear on the end result before you start so that you don't wander through the project and get lost. It's easy to get excited about a new initiative and then suddenly get lost in the details and never get anything of value done.
Quick example. Let's say you have a fitness goal to lose weight. Great. That's a high value initiative that will change your life. Unfortunately you get off on the wrong foot and complicate everything. You start studying workouts which leads to supplements, and then gym clothes, and meal structures. After that, you start learning about certain exercises and end up watching hours of video on YouTube of other people doing exercises. All of the sudden you've put 50 hours into research, all the while you've been sitting at your desk. You also know that you didn't need any of that. If you want to lose weight, you know the secret: Eat less and move. You can run, lift weights, or jazzercise for all I care. The formula is simple, but staying focused on the outcome is not.
These strategies have really helped me as an entrepreneur, husband, and father. I hope they help you in your quest to become a better business owner as well as build an enriching personal life.
Until next time.