It's not easy, but it's mandatory in a 24/7 world. Sometimes you have to say no. You can't get it done when the customer wants it done. You can't do the bookkeeping and bring in the business, too. Stretch yourself too thin, or get bogged down in low-value tasks that take you away from creating the revenue your business needs to survive, and you can wind up being undermined by your own work ethic. You can't do it all effectively.
Take Time for Think Time
Don't think you have to be in output mode every minute of every day. Your business depends not just on output, but input, too. You have to have think time to set priorities, take in important information, and just plain think about what you need to do to improve your business. Set aside 15 minutes every day to prioritize your most important tasks of the day and plan ahead. Turn Friday afternoons into an input zone, where you catch up on journals, get new data, and search for new ideas. You'll cut down on the chaos, come up with critical ideas, and get more done in less time so you have more time for your life.
Learn to Delegate
What starts out to be a quest for freedom for the entrepreneur can become a prison if you wind up having to do everything yourself. Life starts coming back into the picture when you can trust your staff enough to delegate. If you have good people, they will rise to the challenge, and that will free you up to do the important tasks and get time for a life outside the office. Take the time to train new people. Time spent now getting new staff up to speed can save you profits and sanity later.
Create Focus Zones
Nonstop interruptions can prevent you from having the space to concentrate on your most important tasks. Sometimes the only time you can get anything done is after everyone has gone home. That's a prescription for burnout and life-denial. Create a focus zone for yourself every day. Take an hour or two and block them off with no interruptions, and take care of your high-concentration work during this period. Set the auto-responder on your e-mail to let people know you're on a project or a deadline for the next hour. Most people find the first hour or two of the day the best time for focus zones.
Crosstrain Your Staff
A great way to build trust and team spirit--and improve the health and commitment of your team--is to crosstrain your staff. Make sure everyone knows how to do bits of others' jobs, including yours. When someone's out or on vacation, that job can get done by someone else or a couple of people. The same is true for you. Company owners who use this system swear by it. It allows even your work to be getting done while you're on a holiday. Crosstraining builds incredible teamwork and allows you and your staff to take real vacations or see a kid's play while the job is still getting done.
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