As a Business Owner Is There Too Much to Do And Too Little Time?

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By Charlie Ferneyhough

Charlie Ferneyhough is the owner of CEO Consulting, LLC, a business consulting firm. For more information call (804) 360-7879 or email cjferne@juno.com.

You get what you focus on. Are you focused on the right things? If your problem is managing time then you need to rethink that challenge. Time is not your enemy because there are 24 hours in each day for everyone. It’s how you use your time that’s important. You can spend your life counting time or making time count. The choice is yours. It’s been my experience that most business owners either don’t know what to focus on or know but get distracted. Some people just can’t focus at all. Each situation is very detrimental to building a successful business.

If you’re not making the most of the time you have your problem is priority management, which is a whole different issue for someone who wears multiple hats running their business. Most people like you have the best of intentions when you go to work. You have a list of things to do and want to accomplish. Then all the distractions come at you like a tsunami. Phone calls, emails and employee questions – before you know it the day is gone. The next day is no better and so on. No wonder you’re strapped for time. Your work time even starts to creep into your personal and family time. Sound familiar? What do you do about it?

You need to establish your priorities before things get out of hand. There’s no worse feeling than knowing your business is out of control and you don’t know how to deal with it. That gnawing feeling in your gut that keeps you awake at night is the realization that your business has become an albatross around your neck and a heavy weight on your mind. My experience in working with business owners over the past 15 years is that feeling will suck the life out of you and take away the joy of owning your business if you don’t do something about it. If this sounds like where you are today there is hope at the end of the tunnel. However, there is no quick fix!

Suggest you break your business down into three areas: (1) marketing and sales, (2) management, and (3) financial. My perspective is that every issue in a business comes from one of these three areas. Then identify the most important and urgent issues in each area followed by action steps to deal with them. Delegate those tasks better done by trusted employees. If you delegate certain action items inspect what you expect to make sure it gets done right. After you begin working toward resolving these issues you’ll start to feel better and gain some measure of control over what’s happening. Be persistent, it won’t happen overnight.

So the keys to overcoming too much to do and too little time are identifying your major issues, deciding on a course of action and implementing the solutions. Sounds easy, right? Not so fast – remember those distractions we talked about? They’re your obstacles to a less stressful business experience. It comes down to the simple question, are you running your business or is your business running you? There are two ways you can assess the answer to that question: At the end of the day how do you feel about your business? How is your business performing? To have one positive without the other creates anxiety that can lead to bad decisions and poor relationships. If that describes you, suggest you face the brutal truth and do something constructive about it.

Control over how you spend your time can be your enemy or your friend. One thing is for sure, past performance is the greatest predictor of future performance. If you do what you’ve always done you’ll get what you’ve always got. Even though you can’t control everything, knowing that you’re dealing with the most important things proactively will give you a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. But don’t take your eye off the ball. Even if you’re on the right track you can get run over. That’s because the only person you have complete control over is you. The fact is that you have some control over internal issues (money, people) and very little control over external issues (competitors, the economy). Understanding the difference and focusing on what you can control is imperative if you want the quality of life you deserve.