A few weeks ago, I was talking to a retailer, let’s call him Alfred.
Alfred was frustrated at the fact that he just didn’t seem to have enough time. Between working his ecommerce retail store, dropping the kids at school and day care, and prepping meals, he was staring straight into the eyes of Overwhelm. With a capital O.
Overwhelm was such a presence in his life, that when we dug a little bit deeper into his situation, he confessed that he wasn’t getting any work done on his business. He was just packing orders, and drowning in ‘everything’
f you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that I’m a take action kind of person.
If you want to whinge about business and get sympathy from me, it’s likely that I’ll offer you some solutions, and expect that you’ll take action. And that’s exactly what Alfred and I did.
Alfred’s super busy (or so he says)
Now Alfred isn’t alone. It’s easy to be caught up in the doing of business. In the constant battle of ordering, serving customers, looking after your staff, making sure your website is up to date, and the minutiae of business tasks, that need to be done every week.
You’re busy. I get it. And let’s be honest, as your business grows, it’s only going to get busier.
There are 24 hours in the day.
You can’t change that.
You can’t wish for more hours, because there aren’t any. So, what you need to do, is use the ones you have, with maximum efficiency.
When I asked Alfred to describe his average day. He couldn’t. So we walked back through what he’d done the previous day, and it went something like this.
Got up, he and his wife scrambled about getting the kids ready for school and day care. He slurped a cup of coffee in the hour and a half that took and he couldn’t remember if he’d had breakfast. He took his eldest daughter to school, whilst his wife dropped the youngest at day care on her way to work.
Then he checked his emails, sat down and had a coffee, printed off the orders, checked his emails again, got another cup of coffee, packed a few orders, had lunch, checked his emails again, uploaded some products on his website, then went to the post office. By this time, it was 3pm and it was time to go pick his daughter up from school.
Alfred was struggling to see what he could change, that would give him his time back.
We started talking about chunking up his days, and also, his week, so that he knew what he’d be doing each day, and could focus on it.
Now when I mentioned this to Alfred, he protested that his week couldn’t be scheduled. Emergencies came up every day that needed to be dealt with.
But this argument wasn’t anything new to me. It’s the same argument that every person who’s “busy” uses.
So, I said “Let’s allocate an hour each day, for the first two weeks, to deal with these fires you think need to be put out.
After those 2 weeks, I’m reckoning that you’ll feel a lot more confident, you’ll feel less overwhelmed, and way less stressed, that these so-called emergencies, either won’t be occurring so much, or, you’ll be able to deal with them calmly, rather than letting it get to you, and rushing around trying to fix the problem”.
How Alfred recovered 10 hours in his (super-busy) week
I’ll be honest. Your to-do list is never going to be done. There will always be something to add, so stop using the excuse that your to do list is never finished.
When you get to the point where you are not getting stuff done and you’re constantly frustrated at having so much to do, that you can’t think straight, it’s actually way past the time when you should have gotten some help.
Being a business owner is about being able to assess what you’re good at, and what YOU should be doing, versus what you aren’t good at, what you dislike doing and takes you hours to finish.
For example, if it’s taking you 3 hours to enter receipts into your accounting program, but you could pay a bookkeeper $70 to do the same thing, just think about how much you could have achieved if you had those 3 hours back.
How many sales could you have made? How much stock could you have ordered and how many relationships could you have built, not to mention, imagine just being able to take one of those hours off, just for you!
When we batched up and chunked out Alfred’s week, we were able to recover 10 hours, that he could use to take some time out for himself, and to spend some time working on his business.
Alfred couldn’t believe that it could be that simple, but I urged him to embrace his new plan for just two weeks, and see how different his days could be. After all, what’s the worst that could happen? He was already stressed and overwhelmed!
I’m happy to report, that 4 weeks down the track, he was much happier, certainly less stressed, his wife was happy that Alfred didn’t seem to be as snappy in the evenings, and he felt that he was finally out of the rut that, looking back, he could see that he’d fallen into.
So, when I hear people telling me about how they never have enough time to get stuff done, the answer is obvious from where I’m sitting. Batch and chunk your days each week, and then let me know how many hours you managed to recover in you working week.
And of course, I would never expect you to go out and do this yourself, I’ve put together a handy little step by step guide, in fact, the same guide that Alfred used to get his 10 hours back a week, that’ I’ll pop into the comments below.
It’s not rocket science. It won’t even take you long to work out where you can claw back those much-missed minutes and hours in your day. Simply download my free guide, and promise that you’ll drop me an email letting me know how it’s helped you.
*Alfred may or may not be this ecommerce retailers name – you’ll never know