Are you in the wrong business or in the business wrong?

Working long hours and feeling the stress? We share some tips to help you manage it.

One of the biggest concerns for the business owners I work with is the toll that long working hours, can take on work/ life balance.

I’m lucky to see the inside of many businesses. I've owned 10 businesses and I've worked with lots of business owners, so I like to think I have a good understanding of what makes business owners tick. Too often I see business owners spending their time on tasks they could be paying someone else to do. Not only does this do the owner a disservice, but it boils down to not valuing their own time, skills, talents and abilities. Valuing your time is not a new concept – but I’m here to tell you aren’t selfish if you do so.

Get all your tasks down on paper

Grab a clean sheet of paper and write down everything you do in a typical month. No task is too big or small, for example your tasks might be - read emails, answer the phone, talk to suppliers, sign off payroll, compete an ad for the newspaper, write the customer letters, do the deliveries, go to the bank and sign the monthly payments.

Congratulate yourself for completing all those tasks in a month.

Assessing your valuable tasks

If I told you, you are only allowed to do three activities in your business what would those be? Look at your list and ponder what are the three activities you enjoy, are good at and add the most value to the business right now.

By now you should have circled three things you know are the big rocks in the business. These three things are the highest value to you.

Delegating

Now, let’s go back to your list. Here’s where you get honest with yourself and identify; the tasks that are not the best use of your time, do not make use of your skillset, or perhaps someone else could do it better than you. These are the tasks you should be delegating.

Put a “D” beside all of those things on your list.

Stop

Now you need to look for the things that you do not need to be doing. Ask yourself, is this adding value to you or your business? Put a stop line through the items that you answer “no” to. Doing these are quite frankly a waste of time.

Systemise

Okay, this fourth one is quite interesting. These are the tasks that you repeatedly do again and again. There's some great technology now that you can automate these tasks; look for these automation options.

Taking stock of it all

What's interesting here is that if you can delegate, stop tasks and systemise others, you’ll free yourself to do the things you’re passionate about. You really are going to be on top of those three things. For example these might be:

• I'm going to deal with my top ten customers

• I'm going to lead my team

• I'm going to develop new products

It’s great to have a can-do attitude, but the reality is that it’s often not productive for us to do everything in the business, you just get good at doing it. You might want to consider hiring someone to assist you. In a small business this might be a part-time assistant to take on a lot of these things. In a bigger company this might be hiring a Financial Controller or a Sales or Marketing Manager. In tough times, many people they think they're in the wrong business, but they're actually just in the business wrong and they've forgotten their skills, talents and abilities that they went into business with in the first place.

Contact your adviser to discuss time management and to access the "value your time" template.