Something strange happened to me recently
Something has happened to me a couple of times recently, which I really found strange. I had 2 face to face meetings booked with clients, to talk about how to take their business forward, looking at their goals, their plans etc., so that I can help them improve their business and take away their pain-points.
It’s what I do and it’s what I love doing.
But both these clients a few days before the planned meeting rescheduled and both for the same reason – They’re too busy!
Now don’t get me wrong, we all get busy and being busy when you are a small business owner is fantastic. I understand all that.
But if you are running your own business the most important time you spend, is NOT actually doing the business but working ON your business. If you don’t spend the time working on your business - to grow and develop your business, you will have no business.
I am a big fan of Stephen Covey and his book ‘The 7 habits of highly effective people’. It may be written in a dated style but the principles of the 7 habits are as relevant today as they ever have been.
The book was widely promoted as a business management book but I also think it’s a great book for life. Follow the 7 habits in life and you won’t go far wrong.
Put first things first
My experiences above of clients rescheduling their business meetings are examples of Covey’s Habit no. 3 – Put first things first!
‘Putting first things first’ is all about how you spend your time. We all have the same number of hours in a day but what we do with those hours is up to us. Covey splits work into 4 quadrants based on urgent and important.
Urgent vs Important
Covey says that we need to spend more time in quadrant 2 on activities that produce long term results, such as working on your business. Instead of the time we spend on the not important stuff in quadrants 3 and 4.
What we tend to do, is spend time in the urgent and important quadrant (Q1) because this is the sexy stuff, the stuff that makes us feel alive and important and it can become addictive.
The problem is, if we spend too much time in this quadrant we will soon burn out.
There is an even bigger trap in that we may start doing these urgent and important tasks and soon switch to becoming reactive and start to do the urgent and not important tasks (Q3).
e.g answering a ringing telephone instead of letting it go to the answer machine and dealing with the phone call later.
This gives us a feeling that we are working hard but actually we are achieving very little and therefore spending time being non-productive.
Also and this is a really important point – spending time in Q2 means that you will have fewer Q1 activities to deal with! Those urgent, important tasks – putting out those fires. Taking care of your business means you will have fewer fires.
I was a little sceptic about this and not sure if it would work but surprisingly it does. Try it?
Spending your time
Have a think about it - how you are spending your time and how you SHOULD be spending your time?
Do you want to spend more time in quadrant 2, improving your business, planning and making strong relationships?
Karen’s Top Tip
When I meet business owners for the first time, most of them will say they are very busy and haven’t got enough hours in a day.
I suggest they start a diary and write down for each say, 30mins what they did. Do this for a few weeks and you will see patterns emerging.
Place the diary items in the 4 quadrants of the ‘Urgent vs Important’ grid and see where you are spending your time. You can then make adjustments.
If you need help working in quadrant 2 activities and working on 'improving your business' instead of putting out those fires. Then contact me, I can help, its what I do!