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Leaders Lament – Who’s Got the Time ????

How often do you say to yourself “I don’t have time?” There’s one great equalizer in the world. TIME.

The funny thing is, time is the one thing every human being on the face of the earth shares equally and has in common. It’s the only thing. Our cultures may be different. We speak different languages, and we eat various foods, but we share one thing in common. We all get 86,400 seconds in every day.

The big difference maker is how we choose to use that time. Sure, your social status or economic situation may dictate your opportunities in life. Yet there is still the same number of seconds in your day as in mine.

Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, and any other wildly successful business guru you can name used their time differently. I like the word “intentional.” Highly successful leaders use their time more intentionally than others.

The Easy Out

I often meet with business owners who claim “there is just not enough time.” I’m inclined to ask, what do you mean? Did your allotment today get shorted? Did you miss the first couple of hours before you got started? Were some of your seconds given to another person?

Of course, the answer would be no to all of those questions. The real answer is and should always be “I didn’t use my time today as I could have, so some important things didn’t get done.” That is really what “there’s not enough time” means.

Feeling stressed about lost time is an upside-down way to look at things. It’s a convenient excuse.

Playing the Victim

People who complain about not having enough time live in a victim mindset. It’s the King of limiting beliefs. Basically, they are admitting defeat to the time-sucking activities in their day. If you own the business, you allow all the many details to bog you down.

Ask yourself whether or not your attitude about time constraints has evolved over time. Likely it is a learned behavior. You’ve no doubt subjected yourself to the frog in the pot syndrome.

Sure you probably created the numerous tasks yourself. Why? Because as the business developed and grew, you realized the need for an extra step here or there. Here are some examples of things entrepreneurs take on.

Running payroll – this is a big one. Payroll is usually your biggest expense, so getting it right feels important to you.

Bookkeeping – a classic time suck that many owners insist is theirs to do. Often it’s because you don’t want anyone else seeing your numbers. It’s a control thing.

Purchasing – controlling costs when it comes to buying supplies and materials is often kept by the owner. The mindset says ‘I know what it takes and I know how to negotiate better.’

Managing Sales – again, often absorbed by the owner because they know the product or service better than anyone else.

Troubleshooting – this is the day-to-day minutia of keeping the doors open. Customer service needs, complaints, or workflow glitches can often fill a full day every day.

Allowing yourself to be consumed by these things will eliminate any time for thinking strategically about growth and change.

The Myths

Some ideas serve to justify your action toward time behavior. I call them the classic myths about small business operations. Owners will use these myths to rationalize why they are doing what they do.

I can’t afford it – When you start thinking about adding a person to the team to take up some of the overloads, the first pushback comes here. You feel there is insufficient cash flow to spend on adding a person. While that may be true in the very early stages of your business, once you start earning true profits, you should ask yourself this question. Decide to plow earnings back into the company by properly and strategically adding staff to perform the routine tasks.

I can do it better myself – This is the myth about delegation of duties. Learning how to delegate effectively is one of the first differentiators between bad management and good leadership. Yes, it takes time to train someone. That can feel inefficient. Yet if you do it well, you will earn big savings for your time.

Hiring is a crapshoot – Poor experience hiring new staff can be a huge roadblock. Anyone who has ever tried hiring knows it can be hard. But developing a healthy hiring practice and procedure is doable. Some practical tools and tips can be followed to improve your hiring effectiveness.

Employee retention is impossible – Having to retrain is a big waste of time. This is classified as the cost of doing business. Further, we have undoubtedly entered a strange employment market. The effects of the Pandemic have clearly changed the average employee’s mindset. Yet business owners who create healthy work cultures can attract and retain good people.

Conclusion

Don’t let ‘not enough time’ be a convenient excuse to avoid doing the things you need to do. If you have big goals, dreams, and plans for your business, be intentional. Do something every day to work toward those big goals. Block time to get the right things done.

Above all, shift your mindset about time. STOP being a victim and become a winner.

For more tips and ideas, join me on my podcast “Leadership Powered by Common Sense.” Search the archives and check out the great interviews with my fabulous guests.

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