Your Money or Your Time?

I was talking with a client of mine recently, a business owner, and by almost all accounts their business is doing very well. They have good profits coming in, the cashflow is strong, the business is growing and they have a great team working for them.

In fact, they are making more money than they ever have before…

And they appreciate all of those things – a lot of hard work, dedication and focus has brought them a meaningful level of success.

But… it’s not all sunshine and roses. They are working really long hours – generally they are the first into the office and the last to leave. And when there’s an issue, they usually end up taking point to resolve it.

What if you’re at a point in your life where you are starting to value your time more than money? What if you’re feeling like you have Time Poverty? Do you have to cut back your income in order to gain time?

Time or Money?

Successful business professionals are busy – that’s usually a cost (or is it a byproduct?) of their success. If you’re an employee and you want more time, your options are limited – hopefully you’re able to be successful without a lot of overtime, but there’s clearly an expectation of working full-time.

As a business owner however, things aren’t quite as black and white. Granted, most business owners work way more than 40 hours a week, but the really successful ones have figured out that they don’t have to choose between time and money.

In fact, that’s the discussion I ended up having with my client. Their history told them that the amount of money they could make has been directly tied to the amount of effort and time they put into their business. And for a smaller business or one that’s in the first couple of years – that’s usually true.

But once you’re established and you’ve mostly figured things out that doesn’t have to be the case. As a business owner, you get paid for supplying value to your customers – but there is nothing in that equation that says that you personally are the one who has to supply that value.

How do you free up your time?

If you really want to start developing Time Affluence (a term a friend of mine recently reminded me of…), then you have to start with your mindset.

You have to understand and believe that it’s okay to not be the primary engine for your company. In fact, if you want to grow you really need to not be part of the engine at all.

Once you’re comfortable with the concept, here are 3 tangible things you can start doing that will set you on the right path. Keep in mind, freeing up your time is a process and an ongoing effort and it’s not going to happen overnight.

Build a leadership team

If you’re going to take yourself out of the primary workflow, then you must have someone else who will take over those responsibilities. You need to have people on your team who can and will take ownership of at least some of the key outcomes in your business. You need to move past Deciding and onto Delegating – which requires a legitimate leadership team.

Start thinking Who not How

Along the same lines, as new challenges come up your initial instinct is going to be to dive in and figure out how to solve whatever the problem of the day might be. You have to fight that instinct and instead you should be focused on thinking about WHO could solve that problem (and letting them figure out how…). This is a habit that’s really hard to break, but it will make all the difference in the world for you when it comes to freeing up your time.

Force the issue and block time off…

The other tangible thing you can do right away is to start blocking a chunk of time off of your schedule. I have some clients who have blocked off Monday mornings as a first step. They don’t show up to work until Monday afternoon. Alternatively I know a lot of successful business owners who block off Fridays instead and get a head start on the weekend. This doesn’t mean they’ll never work a Friday again – but by actually blocking it off the calendar and planning on not working, they are a lot more likely to end up with at least most of that time free.

The idea is that you have to let Parkinson’s Law work to your benefit – the amount of work expands to fill the amount of time available. By proactively taking more time off your calendar, you will find other ways to get the work done (either by being more efficient or having others do that work).

The bottom line is that you are the only person who is truly able to free up your time. If you don’t make it a priority, then it’s never going to happen.

Which would you rather have – more money or more time? Ideally you can have both…! Is Time Affluence something you’re shooting for? What steps have you taken to address it and how is it going? We’d love to hear from you.

Shawn Kinkade Kansas City Business Coach