too busy bicycle

The ‘too busy bicycle’ [PMP #175]

One of the most frustrating things I hear from clients and subscribers is that they are ‘too busy’ to improve their situation.

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These are people who feel overwhelmed and don't have an effective system to manage their work. They usually approach me because they want to use a tool like Asana or Pipedrive to improve their efficiency and free up their time. And they understand that having better systems and processes will improve productivity and even increases the capacity and performance of their business.

But here’s the crazy part, they don't want to put in the TIME to learn the tool or improve the system. They’re riding the ‘too busy bicycle’.

I love this graphic (above) as it shows the irony of what I see all the time. People decide to keep struggling along doing things the way they’ve always done it. If you could just stop for a short period of time, you’d realise there’s a better way…

Are you 'too busy' to find better ways of working? Spend more time working ON your business (and less time IN your business) and make life easier for yourself!Click To Tweet

Working IN vs. ON your business

A lot of people fall into the trap of being stuck ‘IN’ their business and don't spend enough time working ‘ON’ their business. Even though working ON the business will make it easier to work IN the business.

And I’ve been there. Some weeks, I’m fully booked with client work and all the stuff I need to do to generate an income. This is working IN the business, or what I like to call, being a ‘worker bee’.

But if you’re the CEO or owner or your business, being a ‘worker bee’ is not the best use of your time. You need to spend more time in ‘CEO-mode’ i.e. you need to be the Queen bee!

This is why every week I set aside a day (Wednesday) where I don’t do any client work and instead work ON my business. I invest time into improving my systems, learning new tools and doing whatever I can to improve my business. Whether that’s finding ways to increase revenue or save time, I don't really care what. But every project I undertake is meant to improve one of these two things.

Here are some of the projects I’ve implemented over the last 12 months:

  • I worked with an SEO expert to do an audit of my website to increase traffic volume.
  • I worked with a marketing specialist to optimise my product positioning and sales funnels.
  • I migrated from Mailchimp to ConvertKit so that I could send more personalised messages to my new subscribers.
  • I’ve completely changed my consulting businesses and launched 2 new online courses.

With each of these projects, it’s been hard to take the time to do the work. But looking back, I can say with 100% certainty that each project has resulted in a positive improvement to business performance or has helped me to save time (and was well worth the time invested to do the project).

My only regret is that I wish I’d done some of these things sooner. With migrating to ConvertKit, I put this off for years always telling myself that it wasn’t worth the time. Now that I have my new email marketing system up and running, I realise that I missed out on a big opportunity not having this set up sooner.

How to make time for working ON your business

So, the key takeaway here is to spend more time working on improving business systems, tools and processes.

Is this easy? No. It means taking time away from doing the actual work and even generating revenue. But in the long-run, you’ll gain back a lot more than the invested time or lost income.

So how do you do it?

  1. Set aside time each week or month. One option is to set aside time each week or month as I do. A really practical way to do this is to block it out on your calendar so you can commit to this time. You’re going to have to say no to meeting requests, clients or other responsibilities. If these things have to wait 24 hours, this really isn’t the end of the world. But you really have to protect this time. Each week I have clients ask if they can book a time to chat with me and while I could offer a slot on Wednesday, I have to protect this time for myself.
  2. Delegate more work. Another option is to delegate work to other people to free up your time. About a year ago, I hired a virtual assistant whom I can delegate certain tasks. Now rather than trying to do everything myself, I can assign tasks to Angeline and get stuff off my plate so I can work on higher-level tasks that are more worth my time. I used to think to myself: “I’m the only person that can do this task well”. Now I realise how egotistical that was. Of course, other people can do it, I just need to give them the opportunity.
  3. Eliminate wasted time. We all spend time doing things we shouldn’t. Whether it’s browsing Facebook, reading the news or even doing unnecessary tasks. If you were to audit your time, I bet you could find pockets of time that are wasted throughout the day. I’ll often start wasting time fiddling with buttons and tweaking my website. I have to catch and stop myself otherwise I can spend way too long on mediocre things that have no impact on the business.

The more I’ve been able to spend time working ON my business, the better the business has become. I’m pleased to say that I’ve been able to grow revenue each year without hiring any full-time staff. In fact, a year ago I thought I wouldn’t grow at all in 2019. I thought I’d reached the limit of what one person can do. But by spending little bits of time working ON the business and improving systems I’ve been able to grow without having to hire more staff or work any additional hours. I say this not to brag. But to emphasise the importance of spending time working ON the business.

So, are you stuck on the ‘too busy bicycle’? Need help getting off? Let me know in the comments below!