All entrepreneurs can remember back to the days when we had a 9-5 job, a boss, a steady paycheck and lots of PTO. We left that life behind in search of independence, risk with reward, and a spirit of “why can’t I?” So how is it that now instead we work 7-7, have to manage complicated staff relations ourselves, our paycheck is variable, and PTO is laughable at best? This “job” that we have created for ourselves is compromising our independence and what we fought so fiercely for.
It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the “rugged individualist” persona, because it’s true: we make stuff happen better than most. But this mindset comes at a cost to our personal lives, our health and our other aspirations. Below are 4 easy shifts you can make to re-take some ground from your business:
- Shift your mindset: Acknowledge what’s actually working and where you’re having success. Dan Sullivan teaches a concept called “The Gap and the Gain.” This technique is designed specifically for entreps who are always chasing the horizon. The challenge? It’s impossible and unreachable; and by the time we get close, we’ve already pushed the goal further! This puts us in a mindset called “The Gap” which leaves us feeling unfulfilled, unaccomplished and bitter. In contrast, “The Gain” is about acknowledging the wins and the progress in a ritualistic way and letting the positive momentum fuel you. Mindset work is one of the keys to shift your attitude towards success rather than discouragement.
- Rely on automations: I would bet that at least 10% of your time is spent on mindless work that technology can absorb. One of the rocks that I assign to each of my Leadership Team each quarter is that they must identify at least 10% of their workload that can be delegated or automated off their plates. This commitment to upleveling our focus on work that only we do best has been a game changer. If you’re nervous about automations, start small with your lowest value work (think data entry and scheduling) to build trust and knowledge. Then begin to look at how you can use automations on a larger scale within existing processes (think billing or sales reporting). Check out a list of some of our favorite automations and how to use them here.
- Baby step into taking time off: If the thought of taking a week or two off completely overwhelms you, try starting with just one day. In my experience, Fridays are the easiest place to start-- especially in the summer. We coach clients to take the day, and then when they come back the next day, they diagnose what went wrong or fell apart. Tweak and add systems to adjust from there. At Delegate, we rotate Fridays off across our Leadership team year round. We started small by running 2 Leaders on and 2 Leaders off for a few months. When we felt successful with that, we amped it up by doing 3 Leaders off, 1 Leader on every Friday. We have also trained the team to take any issues to the Leader on Duty and notate this duty schedule on our team calendar. We use the day for deep thought, to work on creative projects, deal with personal matters or hit the beach! Whatever falls apart is simply a lesson to tweak for next week.
- Empower your team: What is the one necessary ingredient for you to feel good about taking some time off? Knowing your team has it covered while you’re out. Above all, this is the most critical thing that is standing between you and the beach. Your team needs to know how to handle things while you are gone, even if it’s for a day. This comes down to accountability, process and delegation of thought. Having an accountability chart helps your team know who owns what. When a breakdown occurs, it forces someone to own it, or it forces you to address that it’s not on your chart! You can learn more about how to build your own accountability chart here; I update ours once a quarter.
What keeps things running once accountability is established is your process. Having repeatable work running as a process helps extract you from the day to day on the regular. For a deep dive into process check out our recent webinar: How Your Company Can Run Itself. The last part is that your team feels empowered to make decisions on your behalf because they have learned how you approach decisions. We call this “delegation of thought.” For a deep dive into this concept, check out our webinar: See The Exact Delegation Process These Entreps Used to Grow Their Companies.
Deploying any of these simple shifts will help create more space in your life for other things you love (besides your business!). Time off is what rejuvenates our spirits to do our best work and to be our best selves.
Enjoy your summer!