One of the most popular small business questions I receive on a regular basis might surprise you. It goes something like this: How do you run a successful company without it completely taking over and ruining your life?
The average small business owner works more than 60 hours a week. And no matter how much you love your job, those hours over a long period of time, will begin to take a toll. Pretty soon your family, your health and the company itself will begin to suffer.
Before I began to study the principles of time management, I thought the whole idea was some kind of slick, money-making scheme hatched by a know-it-all who had never really worked for a living. But a funny thing happened. As I applied some simple time management principles to my life, I began to get more accomplished. In addition, I wasn’t as tired mentally and physically as I was before. I was on-task, efficient and I had more energy — even at the end of the day!
Most entrepreneurs are hard-charging, bust through and get-it-done types of people. The last thing we need is to feel like a rat in a wheel, just running and running but never getting anywhere. To enjoy our work, we must have a plan and a sense of traction and accomplishment. My friend John Maxwell says a budget is telling your money where to go. Well, the same principle can be applied to your time. You can plan ahead and tell it where to go, or you can scratch your head and wonder where it went.
Years ago, I never viewed time management for the purpose of productivity as something with personal or spiritual implications. Then, I was told that today’s system of minutes and seconds was developed by 14th Century monks, who were also mathematicians. They were able to formulate calculations breaking hours into minutes and minutes into seconds. Before that, time was measured only in hours using instruments like a sundial. The monks did this work with the purpose of gaining the ability to more precisely worship God.
Managing time and money well, and viewing them as precious commodities, should be a normal exercise in both our professional and personal lives.