Q&A: How do you work “on” your business instead of “in” your business?

One of my email subscribers, Kent, (who is a lawyer) recently emailed me regarding a few issues he's having:

I spend a lot of time doing the work, but not that much time working on how I conduct my practice.

This is certainly something I've had to deal with as well. Just last month I was getting so booked up with consulting work that even new people who wanted to inquire about working with me had to wait almost 3 weeks just to talk to me. As a result, I had almost no time to work “on” the business (often referred to as “CEO mode”) vs. “in” the business (“worker bee” mode).

There are a few things I've done to try and overcome this issue. Recently I wrote about protecting your time and how I don't allow client calls on Wednesday's so I have at least one day a week where I can work exclusively on my business. Whether it's an entire day or just an afternoon every other week, block out some time on your calendar when you're not going to take on any client work or meetings so you can focus on big picture stuff.

The key here is to make sure you remain disciplined and protect the time that you've set aside for yourself. If you're only going to get a couple of hours a week to work on your business, you better protect it at all costs.

It's funny, even though last month was really busy, my client workload has quietened down this month (due to my lack of availability last month, new prospects were lower than normal) and now I'm finding I have more time than normal to work on the business. This is a luxury that last month I was dying to have. But now, I can't help but crave more client work.

It's funny how we often want what we don't have, then when we get it, we're still not satisfied.