As business owners, we all have a set amount of time that we can work on or in our business every day, week, month. No matter how many hours you want to allocate to working, there never seems to be enough time to do all the things. What is worse is that you can work twelve hours per day, seven days per week and never get ahead of your work. More than that, if those hours aren’t productive, then you are not maximizing your income. It is a terrible cycle to be in as a business owner – always being busy and having so much to do. There is still a laundry list a mile long, and sometimes you never can get out of the cycle of putting out fires and chasing deadlines. It can be exhausting.
But, there is a way to get out of this cycle – you can evaluate what you are doing and figure out whether you are productive or if you are just “busy.” To do this, you can review your workflow and see if everything you are doing propels your business forward – or if you are just churning in the day-to-day. Here I have outlined how to evaluate your workflow.
To evaluate your workflow, you should break down all the tasks that you do in a set amount of time. To get enough data, think about what a typical work week looks like for you. Figure out all the things you do and start to categorize them. I would chunk my day to day into the following:
Any of these things I can do for either myself or my clients. The reality is that while I am building businesses for my clients, I am also improving my own. I have learned early on that you can’t just focus on client work when you are building a business. You should always be looking down the road – improving your offerings, filling your backlog, and keeping your name at the top of potential clients’ minds.
Once you have established your main “buckets” of types of things you “do” every day, then start thinking of what tasks fall under each. You can even break them out into client work versus business building activities. Once you have done this, you can start to allocate how many hours you devote to each task under each category.
I have created a worksheet to help you complete this exercise HERE. You can make a copy of this and edit it to make sense for your business and time allocation.
Once you have worked through what a standard week would look like, take some time to evaluate your time allocations and answer some of the questions that start to arise. Are you spending all your marketing time on0 your clients’ marketing and not your own? Did you forget to build in marketing for yourself? Are you spending a lot of time on the administrative portion of your business? Where are you spending the vast majority of your time, and is that really the best use of time?
Once you have looked at your current work distribution, think about how you can better organize that workflow. If you are doing “like kind” tasks, are you able to be more efficient? For example, while you are working on client copy, can you lay out your work schedule so that you work on your copy in that same time chunk? If you start to group similar tasks, you will become more efficient. For example, if you work Monday through Friday, can you create a work cycle so that you do specific categories or tasks on particular days?
After you have categorized and identified your work tasks and worked through chunking or scheduling tasks, there is one more step to evaluating your workflow – and that is to see if all that you do makes sense. Do you need to do all the tasks that you currently do, or are they better outsourced? Do you need to bring in someone to do the more administrative tasks in your business so that you can focus on being in front of clients more, marketing, or just creating more income lines in your business?
One way to look at each task is LOVE/LIKE/WILL DO IF NECESSARY. If all the things you do are in the LOVE or LIKE categories, that is great! If you have a lot of tasks that take up a LOT of time and are in the “will do if necessary” category, it is probably time to find someone who LIKES/LOVES those types of tasks. While it may mean a financial outlay to hire someone, you will also see that the functions that are in the top of the heap tend to be the most natural and most efficient for you to do.
Taking the time to evaluate your current input into your business, organizing your tasks to be more efficient, and finding ways to outsource functions that don’t make sense regarding return on investment of time will all help you be more productive in your business.
You may even find after following and implementing these strategies; you will work less and have better earning potential. It is incredible what efficiencies will do for you and your business!