I grew up in a family where my mom went grocery shopping each week and as a family, we did weekly chores. I used to think it wasn’t a big deal — just part of life — not something to be questioned or changed. I continued in that pattern following leaving my parents’ home. I didn’t really (and still don’t) mind these activities; they were just a natural part of making life work. But in mid-2014, I realized I needed to rethink my approach to managing life outside of work to take my business to the next level.
Last year, I came into a crunch time. I was developing a training pilot, wrapping up the manuscript for my second book, coaching clients and managing personal strains, including my boyfriend’s father being in the hospital for months. I felt like I had no spare time. When I did have room to breathe, I wanted to spend it with the people I loved or asleep — not at the grocery store shopping.
That convergence of pressures brought me to finally not only hire people to help with my business activities but also to get help with day-to-day life. This included grocery shopping, cleaning and errands. The benefits to myself and my business have been remarkable. I wrote my second book on “How to Invest Your Time Like Money,” but in that process, I also learned that you need to invest your money to get more personal time.
Here are three principles that can allow you to have more time and money for what’s most important.
- Growth requires letting go of control. A lot of overachievers have a pretty strong distrust that anyone can do what they do as well as they can. They also can feel overly cautious about spending money on non-necessity items. However, as your business grows, you must let go of control of more and more activities so that you can focus on what’s most important and handle a larger scope of responsibility. If you don’t, you end up in time debt. Your internal and external expectations will exceed your time budget. This means that you need to invest money in either automation or delegation so that you have more time to then invest in strategic revenue generating activities. That could mean having someone else set up your business appointments, do shopping, or handle your finances. Yes, it’s scary to not know exactly how everything will go. But when you trust others, you’re free to pursue more.
- Optimizing on the micro is not the same as optimizing on the macro. In my book, I talk about how optimizing on the micro level may not lead to optimizing on the macro level. For example, organizing your files perfectly may save you a few minutes each day, but if it keeps you from moving ahead on important strategic projects, it’s not an optimal use of time. Or it may seem more efficient to only go to the post office when you can do multiple errands at once. But if you wait to go to the post office until you have a large block of time and then end up paying your bills late, leaving you to spend time, money, and energy sorting out the resulting issues, you haven’t optimized your time investment or minimized your stress. The same holds true with your money. Yes, it will cost a bit more to pay others to do items you could do. They also may end up spending a little more here or there since they’re making decisions based on lists you gave them instead of being able to weigh the benefits of different deals. But if you can bring in thousands more because you have more time and energy, an extra five or ten dollars spent on order delivery or a grocery bill isn’t a big deal.
- Abundance can only be enjoyed when it is shared. The most successful and happy people in life see themselves as flow-through entities. That means as they receive more time and money into their lives, they give more of their time and money away. That flow of resources makes room for them to receive more success and fulfillment through their lives and businesses. As your business grows, if you’re generous with your money and allow other people to support you, you can be more generous with your time. When you pay other people for helping you, they benefit. You benefit because you can fully take advantage of the new opportunities coming your way instead of being overwhelmed. Keep a list of all the items that someone else could do for you. Then as you can, delegate them. That way you can reserve your time outside of work for refreshing activities, like spending time with family, exercising, volunteering or simply relaxing.
If you want to see your business grow in this coming year, consider how you could invest money in creating more time to work and to live.
Elizabeth Grace Saunders is the founder and CEO of Real Life E®, a time coaching and training company, and the author of “The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment: How to Achieve More Success With Less Stress” and “How to Invest Your Time Like Money.”
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