Million Dollar Small Business Question? Where Is My Time Going?

This is a struggle for everyone, let’s face it. It is, however, especially important for an entrepreneur because we don’t have anyone delegating to us and offering up deadlines.

Now, let’s be real — for many of us, this is one of the reasons we took the leap into business ownership. We love that we’re are responsible for all our time. We thrive on the empty page that is our day.

What comes with an empty page, sadly, is the possibility of inefficiency. Now, this NEVER happens to me, but if you find yourself in this position, I have some tips. Okay, okay. I have the tips because I, too, suffer from blank page day syndrome. Fine, I’ll admit it (begrudgingly.)

Queue the helpful tips:

  1. Keep a Timesheet: I don’t mean keep track of your every second. What you want from this exercise is a better understanding of where you really spend your time. I realized that I was doing more billable time than I was actually charging for. Trying to remember how long something really took a few weeks later isn’t helpful. In my case, I was giving time away. My timesheet helped resolve that.
  2. Give Yourself Guidelines: Does your business thrive on social media? Then you need to stay consistently engaged without giving your entire day over to it. I tend to miss a few days (weeks) here and there. For me, this is about being sure to log in and say “hi.” For some of you, it may mean turning the apps off for a few hours a day.
  3. Make an “Absolute Yes” List: This is take off of Cheryl Richardson’s life yes list. Choose 3 things that you will focus on today. If something comes up that is not related to these three things, postpone dealing with them for another day when they are on your Absolute Yes list. This will help ensure than your time is going to important items while recognizing that some days involve more than one priority.

As entrepreneurs, we put the time in — no one’s questioning that — but sometimes managing our time is the key to better outcomes. After all, the goal is to build a successful business; the goal is not to log the most time possible at our desk.

3 Replies to “Million Dollar Small Business Question? Where Is My Time Going?”

  1. “Or fifteen” is right! Been there; done that.

    I, too, love David Allen’s “Getting Things Done.” Being as efficient as possible is the key, I think, but — in the end — we can only do what we can do!

    Take care,


  2. Oh my gosh, #1 is soooo critical. It’s something I’ve had my small team start doing to keep track of how much time they (and I) spend on each account. I, like you, have a tendency to do more work than I charge for, and since most of my work is on retainer, it just makes it too easy to slip in an extra hour or two (or fifteen!) here and there. The next thing you know, you’ve spent the equivalent of 15 hours a week for 4 weeks on a client account, when really you should have been doing 10. Or at least charging more!

    Time management is an ongoing challenge for me. I devour time management books — my personal favorites are “168 Hours” and, of course, David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” — and yet, for some reason, I’m STILL not getting things done! Ah well. Work in progress.


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