If you are looking for help with personal productivity, you might want to check out our book let go to GROW: why some businesses thrive and others fail to reach their potential. In this award-winning book, we teach you how to get your life back by delegating effectively – one of the hardest skills for entrepreneurs. We will also cover the other critical skills necessary to grow a smoothly running operation.
Get Your Life Back
Q. I own a small business that has about 25 employees. The good news is that the business has been growing nicely and it’s profitable. The bad news is that it has taken over my life. I’m working 70 to 80 hours a week and I never get a day off. Do you have any suggestions for helping me get my life back?
A. We don’t know the details of your business, but based on what you told us, it seems that you need to delegate more effectively. It’s likely that you are performing functions that were completely appropriate when your business was smaller. You’re probably very good at them. These tasks include things such as making most tactical decisions and hiring and managing front line employees. Your skills in these areas have made your business successful.
As your business has grown, the time it takes to perform these tasks has expanded exponentially. To get your life back, you have only two choices: shrink your business to reduce your workload or delegate these responsibilities to your managers. Depending on your goals and your situation, shrinking your business may be a viable option.
Q. It seems that there are thousands of self-help books, videos and courses. In addition, tens of thousands of people want to be your life coach, success counselor, business coach or spiritual guide. It’s overwhelming. Do you have a perspective on what it takes to succeed?
A. We have lots of time listening to the likes of Earl Nightingale, Bryan Tracy, Deepak Chopra and Brendon Burchard. Many of their books and cassette tapes (yes, we are old, we have cassette tapes) still line the shelves of our office. After years of study, we have concluded that their messages are, in essence, all the same. The messages are packaged in different ways. They use different analogies, different acronyms, and tell different stories; but at the end of the day, they are saying the same thing. It all boils down to these four points:
Q. I'm thinking about starting a new business and becoming an entrepreneur. What are the most important things about which I should be concerned?
A. A few months ago, we wrote a column where we outlined the three most important personal attributes of an entrepreneur. They are: (1) Adaptability -- the ability to change direction as the world around you changes, (2) Persistence -- the willingness, ability and financial wherewithal to carry on through difficult times, and (3) Work Ethic -- the propensity for hard, hard work. We stick by these. You’ll need all three personal attributes. However, you’ll also need to deal with three very practical issues.
Q. What are your recommendations regarding managing e-mail?
A. For most of us, e-mail is both a blessing and a curse. It makes asynchronous communications possible, which aids productivity. It acts as written documentation, and enables the busy entrepreneur to extend customer contact beyond normal business hours. It’s a wonderful tool. However, we have seen people completely overtaken by inboxes containing thousands of e-mails. How do you manage the constant flow of communications? Here are a few tricks that will help you dig out from under this electronic pile: