16th May 2013

You are working too hard. Ever considered why? by Ian Kinnery

There is a saying, “if you don’t know where you are going how will you ever know when you get there?” It is true in life, and even more true in business.
What are you trying to create? What are you trying to build? If you don’t know, how will you ever know when you have achieved it?
One of the major challenges that is common to most of the people I work with is that they are time poor. They are not lazy, in fact they are usually working too hard, but not always on the right stuff. They are busy doing it, doing it, doing it, constantly working in the business, working harder and harder and not necessarily getting where they want to be. Often this is because they have never really worked out where they want to be.
When I ask “When you first set out in business what did you want to achieve?” the most common answer I get is something like “I wanted to replace the income I was getting before I left the corporation I had just left”. There is nothing wrong with that as a response but when you think about it from a design point of view, what they were designing was another job to replace the job they had just left. Did they really mean to design another job? Or did they really intend to create something else?
The second most common response is “I wanted to earn more money”. Again there is nothing wrong with that response other than its lack of specificity. Did they stipulate exactly how much more money, and by when? I normally hand over 50p to those people and point out that I have just helped them realise their goal. When they say “that’s not what I meant!” I simply point out that they didn’t say how much more they had wanted to earn.
Building a business which can be defined as an enterprise that can work without you, is about designing a different thing altogether than designing another job or another money making scheme. Do you have a design that you are working to which allows you to set clear priorities?
Overcoming the “time poor” blight that seems to infect so many business owners is all about prioritising what we do with our time. The fact is that we are all given the same number of hours each day and for most of us a lifetime is between 70 and 80 years, so the difference that makes a difference is, fundamentally, not how much time we have but what we do with that time. What we say yes to and what we say no to.
Unless we are very clear about what we are trying to achieve we cannot possibly have a viable criteria against which to judge what we do and what we don’t do.
You will never be as productive as the day before you go on holiday. The day before we go on holiday we are ruthless about prioritising, the stuff we do, the stuff we delegate, the stuff we bin.
Why? Because we are much clearer about our goals, our deadlines and our priorities.
What would it be like if we had such clarity every day? How much more productive and successful could we all be?