What Do Time Audits, Productivity, & Momentum Have In Common?
Have you ever had one of those moments where someone comes to you for advice and you deliver that advice then you find yourself in the exact situation where you need to take your own advice?
I have… just this past week, most recently.
Someone reached out to me seeking help. Her head a flurry of chaos not knowing how to make progress in her business when she had so many commitments to manage.
“How on earth do you run two business from home AND homeschool 3 young children year round AND manage your other commitments AND remember to keep your kids alive every day AND essentially do it on your own due to the demands of your husband’s career? It’s beyond me. Tell me your secrets!”
I love being asked questions like this because I know exactly what to say. And it feels good to provide actionable steps towards a resolution that will help someone else achieve their goals, right?
So, I shared… and this is literally what I told her… "Here’s the secret… at a certain point in my business I realized that not only did I need help but that I had to give myself permission to receive help. I was not a failure as a business owner or parent or home educator because I couldn’t balance a plate the size of the state of Texas by myself without help. In fact, I became more efficient, happier, and healthier by accepting help. For me, having a nanny that comes twice a week helped our home/businesses/homeschool run like a well-oiled machine. 3 hours Monday morning so I can do ALL my work for the week. I bury my head and complete ABC. Then on a daily basis I do XYZ. Then on Friday morning she comes again and I do yadda yadda yadda. That way I can focus on homeschooling Tues-Thurs and have uninterrupted family time on weekends. This will change a bit in the fall but this is what I'm doing for now and it's working. I suggest these resources, these are the conversations you need to have with your support system, and you need to perform blah blah blah to help you do this."
Lightbulbs went off for her and she couldn’t thank me enough for helping her map out a system.
Warm fuzzies were had all around. She was happy. I was happy I made her happy. All was well in the world.
And then morning came. 😉
Our nanny came in and as I finished washing up the dishes from breakfast and printing off some materials I needed before squirreling away to my hole; I proceeded to tell her how I had mapped out the schedule for the upcoming homeschooling year (because just for kicks and giggles I will be tutoring in my homeschooling community, which I felt comfortable agreeing to because of my well-oiled nanny system). I mapped out the school year including vacations, convention schedules, volunteer commitments, travel plans, extracurricular activities… you name it.
Then, she ever so sweetly tells me… “Oh, I won’t be available after the summer because…” My mind was reeling at this point, not unlike that of my friend I was helping. I’m not going to lie. My stomach was tied up in knots because my productive schedule I had come to know and love was no longer a certainty.
The irony is overwhelming, isn’t it? 😉
“Oh, so you're feeling comfortable, do you? Feel like you got a handle on things, do you?”
Momentary panic set in.
I thought… “The children will be devastated. Shoot, I will be devastated. How am I going to fit it all in? My plate won’t be balanced anymore! How could I have possibly committed to…?? Why on earth did I said I would…?? Who will make me feel human by giving me someone to share life with in my home who is over 3 feet tall during the week? Snap out of it, Susan!! What would you tell your clients or business partners to do??”
First, for my families specific situation, finding a replacement for our nanny wasn’t something we were interested in doing. She is one of a kind for many reasons, and considering how long it took us to find her (which truly she fell into our laps when we were ready to give up on our search), we knew the likelihood of finding our Modern Day Mary Poppins again was slim to none.
So, how else could I effectively manage my time??
"A time audit is not about boxing yourself into recording every last detail, but rather to get a feel for how you are spending your time." - LJ Earnest
Enter the time audit. The first of many tools in my productivity arsenal (we’ll touch on the others later).
If I was going to loose the ability to wok undisturbed for a few hours each week without fear of my children’s burning the house down or running down the street naked (hey… it happens) then I was going to have to assess how I was using my time and if those efforts were providing the results I required to reach my goals.
I personally use a simple spreadsheet (or you could use a notebook or app or whatever suits your preferences) to track all of my activities from wake to sleep, every day for a set amount of time. It only takes a matter of minutes every day, and at the end of that time frame I can easily assess whether or not my activities are supporting or hindering my goals.
"Keep in mind, time audits do not have to be overwhelming, nor should they be. They are not to punish you or make you feel guilty, but to help you get an accurate overview of how you are spending your time." - LJ Earnest
Once completed I can best determine what I need to do to stay productive and create the momentum I need to reach my goals. What activities do I need to stop doing? What activities do I need to start doing? What activities do I need to continue doing?
Everyone has been granted the same 24 hours in a day and no amount of hemming and hawing is going to create more hours in a day. It is impossible to squeeze 48 hours into 24 hours. We ALL have JUST 24 hours in a day. Nothing more. Nothing less.
I cannot will more time into existence. That’s simply beyond my control. BUT… I can control HOW effectively I spend the time I do have.
By performing an audit of my time every so often (usually once a quarter, or when there’s a major change in the flow of my business) I can identify exactly how I’m spending my time and whether or not the activities I complete on a daily basis are bringing closer to or further from my goals.
So, no more nanny… ok I’ve got this.
This is the time I do have to run my business each week. These are the activities that will bring me closer to my goal. Repeat them over and over again creating the momentum I need to get closer to my goal faster. Everything else gets the ax. Remain laser focused on doing what I need to do in the time I have, so I can get back to doing the things I love with those I love.
So… what about you? How will you use time audits to stay productive and create momentum in your business?
I hope you found this helpful. If so, please like, comment, or share with those you feel may benefit from hearing this.
AND if there is an area YOU want to challenge yourself to overcome or master, I would love to hear what it is and see how I can help you.
Oh… if you’re interested in learning the tool and strategies I use to help me master the mindset and skill set needed to build a successful business… you can click on the link below and request access to the same FREE 10 day training I used to change my business… AND you can even share it with anyone you like!
Until next time… Make Today Awesome!