After reading last month’s article on how to spend more time on business tasks that really matter, I’m sure you’re inspired to take control of your calendar and block off time for the important stuff (rocks, strategy, etc.) that will help you grow your business.
But then maybe you found yourself working more and more during evenings and weekends making up that time dealing with everything else that’s happening in the business. Sure, you delegated a thing or two but maybe the results weren’t as you expected. Or maybe people simply didn’t know how to do it and so you felt it was easier to just do it yourself. Sound familiar?
This is a trap we all fall into when we get started in the scaling process. It’s natural that as a business owner or leader you are the subject matter expert and the lynchpin in the business. But as you’re shifting the focus to building the business, you need to start scaling capabilities inside the business.
How to Free Up 10% of Your Time to Grow Your Business
Pretty much everyone has the leeway to free up 10% of their time quite easily. Some things you could just stop doing. As in, drop them completely – they’re not important. I don’t just mean you should stop watching cat memes (though that may free up a significant chunk of your time).
Assuming you’re a busy entrepreneur and you don’t waste any time on TikTok at all, I’m talking about things that don’t create any value for your business. These things are different for every business and each role within that business. Here are 3 steps to free up more time to focus on what matters.
Step 1: Track What You Do During A Typical Day and Simply Stop Doing Useless Things
Try this: write a list at the end of the day of the things you did, the meetings you had, and what you accomplished. This will give you an idea of where you’re spending your time.
Now go through that list and strike out the things that really don’t need to be done. Be a bit merciless about it.
For most of us, we could cross off somewhere between 5 and 10 percent of stuff and file it under the “if I didn’t do this, nobody would even notice” category.
Boom! Time freed up.
Step 2: Delegate Repetitive Tasks
Now that you have a list of all the tasks you’ve done over a period, try to notice which tasks are repetitive. These are things you should write up a process (or even a simple checklist) for so you can hand them over to an employee, a virtual assistant, or other external support that you can bring on to reduce your workload.
Creating simple documentation of your processes is a crucial part of systematizing your business and will ensure others have all the information they need to successfully take over tasks. Et voila! Once you’ve created these processes, it becomes simple to delegate those tasks and get the results you want from them.
Step 3: Elevate Others to Scale Your Business
Start handing off some of your hats. The best way to scale as a small business owner is to hire A-players who are smarter than you to take on some of the key roles in your business.
If sales are a responsibility that falls on your plate and you don’t love sales, hire a great salesperson! They’ll accomplish more in a fraction of the time that it takes you and enjoy doing it. All while helping grow your business faster.
You should create a culture of accountability around tasks so that people who are better than you at specific things can take more and more ownership of these areas. Start giving your people more autonomy and leadership opportunities to get things done.
The more you can set success criteria and expectations and then let go of the reins, the more time you will free up. Plus, you’re levelling up your team so they can take on increasing responsibility – which is how to multiply employee potential instead of squander it.
This involves letting them come up with the HOW to do something after explaining what the goals are. Initially, the results may not wow you. Eventually (and with the right support), they may just blow you away.
So, there you have it: stop doing things that don’t matter, delegate what you can, and elevate others to take on more accountability.
Special Bonus Items
Here are a few great ideas that were brainstormed in a session with our Growth Accelerator cohort:
- Use block scheduling to be more productive
- Setup meeting rules: Agenda required, prep-reading, meetings start and end on time, every meeting is 10-25% shorter (60-minute is now 45 minutes).
- Triage and burst your email, then shut it down (mine stays on a different screen so it doesn’t distract)
- Tell your team when you’re unavailable because you’re focusing on important work
- Delegate and outsource more (if it’s not “important” work, delegate it!)
- Auto-archive all emails you were cc’d on
- This came from a client. She informed her team that if she’s cc’d, it’s auto-archived. They can leverage her name, or just keep her in the loop freely, but if they need her to read it, then they should put her in the “to” field
Scaling up your business by scaling up your leadership is the only way forward for sustainable growth. Contact me if you’d like to learn how we can help.