How to find time to work ON your business
As a creative and business owner it can be hard to balance client work and everything else you have to do.
But we tend to put off a lot of it while we focus on our clients. But we forget to work on the tasks that will help us grow our businesses, bring in new clients, and let us start hiring and outsourcing.
It’s the difference between working on and in your business.
Working on your business means working internally on the tasks that will grow and support your business.
Working in your business means client work.
It’s taken me a while to understand the difference between the two, and be intentional creating time for both.
Because you can’t expect to grow your business if you never work on your business.
The majority of us are so entrenched in client work that we rarely take time to actually work on our businesses. We see the to do list of all the things that we need to do, but rarely do we actually set aside time to work on it. We know the importance of doing it, but some how everything else seems to take priority over it.
I have 4 tips for how to find time to work on your business so that it can grow into what you dream it could be, so let’s dive in.
1. Track your time
Use an app like Toggl to track your time and see how many hours you’re actually working each week, and where that time is being spent. Also track how much time during your work time you’re getting sidetracked—notifications on your phone, responding to emails, checking social media, etc.
After 2-3 weeks look at where your time is being spent and how much time you’re actually working each week. You may be surprised to see where your time is being spent and how many hours per week you really work.
2. Make a plan
If you don’t make a plan to do something, you’re never going to do it. So now that you’ve tracked your time and know where you’re spending your time, you need to figure out when you’re going to get things done.
"If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail" — Benjamin Franklin
The biggest thing that has helped me is to take one day a week off from client work to focus on internal business things. Each Tuesday I step away from client work and meetings, and focus on working on my business. I’ve been calling it CEO day so that internally I can understand the importance of what I’m doing. Before I started calling it CEO day, I’d allow client work to slip in and not actually work on my business. It was a small change, but it changed my mindset around Tuesdays.
If you can’t take an entire day off, plan to take one morning or afternoon off each week from client work to work on your business. The big thing to note is that you want to work on your business during business hours. If you work on your business in your off-time, then your business is taking up more time in your life, which is what you're trying to avoid. It may not seem possible at first to work on your business during your business hours, but that’s why you start with tracking your time. So that you’re aware of where you’re spending the most time. You’ll also see how important it is to turn your phone on silent, work from a coffee shop, hop in a co-working call or whatever you need to do so you can have solid time to focus.
After you’ve figured out when you’re going to work on your business, you need to figure out what you’re going to work on. The easiest way to do this is to keep a running list of projects in one place, like Asana, where you can prioritize what needs to get done first.
Personally I plan out each Quarter with what I need to promote, write, and share with my audience. I also have a running list of random things I need to do like: update Dubsado workflows and canned emails for my OBM service, update my welcome sequence for my email list and the opt in that goes with it. With my quarterly plan and running list in hand, I can plan out when I need to work on the quarter goals I’ve set and sprinkle in the task from my running list.
Plus, having set quarterly goals has helped me to focus on what tasks in the running list will make sense to get done at the same time as the goals.
3. Get accountability
Sometimes you need more than a plan to do what you said you’d do. You need accountability. Someone to check in and push you to put your plan into play.
Over the years I’ve had a couple different accountability groups, and the ones that have been the most helpful are ones where I can be honest about what I’m doing (or not doing), and get strong but necessary pushback and encouragement to do what needs to be done.
One of the places I still go to for accountability is Launch Brand Grow. This group of biz owners are not only encouraging, but are right there to remind and hold me accountable to the goals and actions I’ve said I’d do.
Sometimes I need more than just messaging with people to help hold me accountable. I need to see their face and work alongside them (virtually). This is where co-working comes in. If you haven’t co-worked before, essentially it’s where you hop on a video call, state what you’re working on or want to accomplish, then mute yourself and get to work. Co-working may look different depending on who’s hosting, but I’ve found the most helpful ones are when it’s video-based and you state your intentions at the beginning and have a final check-in before hopping off. I find myself more productive and motivated to get things done when I can see other people working and know that in an hour or two they’re going to ask what I’ve been working on.
4. Create systems + batching
One of the easiest ways I’ve found to give me time to work on my business, has been the use of systems and routines.
Automations and workflows take time up front to setup, but are more than worth it when things that used to take up your time are now automated.
My 3 favorite workflows I have setup using Dubsado are:
New lead welcome sequence
Onboarding new clients
I also have templates setup for my blogging and social media process, so that when it’s time to sit down and write, I know the process to follow each time without missing a step.
Batching and creating routines doesn’t have to be just for your business, it can be for your life too. I have a fairly consistent morning routine that helps me plan for the day and make sure that once my day is done I can enjoy the evening with my family. When it comes to batching, I make sure that if I leave the house that I get as many errands done as I can, which is why I keep my grocery list and other errand notes in my Reminders app on my phone. I also try and do my big grocery shopping list for the week on one day, and prep as many meals and lunches as I can right after.
Creating routines and batching tasks has freed up so much of my time and sanity. Even though it takes a little more time to setup and get into a habit with, it’s been more than worth it so I can spend more time doing what I love.
Wrapping it up
It may feel like a lot of work to setup systems, make a plan, track your time, and find accountability partners, but if you take it step by step you’ll get there!
If you’re ready to step into the CEO role of your business and start working on your business more but need some help with how to do that, let’s chat! Schedule a discovery call with me so we can chat more about how to get you where you want to be.