The difference between a business owner and an entrepreneur
The perennial problem of the busy business owner is time. The difference between a business owner and an entrepreneur is a business owner finds a job that needs doing and does it himself. An entrepreneur finds a job that needs doing and finds someone to do it. One has loads of available capacity, one has none. Do you spend time to save money, or invest money to save time?
Hard work and long hours
The first problem is hard work or the perceived need for it. The least you’ll end up suffering from is boiled frog syndrome (getting slower without realising it). At worst, you’ll end up giving your house and half your money to a spouse you no longer like – and your kids will side with them!
The harder you work the more tired you get. Henry Ford was the first to limit physical work to an eight-hour shift. Studies show that more mental work is done in six hours than in eight. If you are working 10–12-hour days, you are kidding yourself about efficiency. Guillotine your day and a 30% productivity gain are yours for the taking.
Once you’ve limited your working hours, the next thing to do is to plan your week with the minimum, subject switching during the day. Every time you switch, your brain takes time to get up to speed again. Now, where was I…? The next kind of switching loss is interruptions.
You interrupt yourself every time you look at your phone, your email, daydream, or chat with a colleague. Most corporate CEOs are interrupted by others on average every 11 minutes. The effect on their brains is that they may as well have learning difficulties as be interrupted.
The planned weekly pattern is called a default diary. Organisations can be said to have rhythms. Some things happen daily, some weekly, some monthly and so on. Make sure these rhythms are captured in your schedule.
The most important appointment
The most neglected appointment is the one you have with yourself to work ‘on’ the business. Guard this time with your life. It is the single best investment you can make in the future of your business.
Now your work is planned, and you have some discipline. You need to ritualise. Get as much of your daily routine (in and out of work) onto auto-pilot as possible. Once you chain your habits, they are much easier to keep. The most important religious ritual to observe is that of drinking 2 litres of water a day. Most execs are over-caffeinated and dehydrated with catastrophic effects on their capability.
The one big lesson from all of this, it is that all these ‘time tricks’ need to be implemented together to have the best effect. Breaking out of busy-ness is the single best thing you can do to change your business and your life for the better. The best coaches and advisors understand this and can tune in to exactly what you need. Make sure you are getting the right advice.