How To Make The Most Of The Time You Spend Running Your Business

Time investmentHow do you decide where to spend your time when you have so many competing things to do in your business?

There are two major resources that you can invest in your business: time and money. So how you spend your time is just as important (if not more important) than how you allocate your money.

I see my time in this business as an investment, and the different activities that I do as different aspects of my portfolio.

Thinking in terms of an investment portfolio, you can see that different activities have different returns.

Writing this post provides a certain amount of value, and allows me to connect with you (woohoo!). Creating a new paid program that I can sell over and over again provides a different amount of value, but both are a necessary part of my balanced time investment portfolio.

I hope I didn’t lose you with all the financial metaphors, because time is one of our most precious resources and I want to make sure you know the best ways to allocate your time…

So that you’re not just building an amazing business, but you’re also able to take time away and rejuvenate, too!

I’m answering a question in today’s video that specifically asked about balancing daily and weekly tasks, big projects and education.

The Time You Spend Running Your Business: Education

I’ll tackle how I like to focus on my education: consistently and sometimes as a means of relaxation.

I read roughly one book per week on average every year, and more recently I’ve started to listen to podcasts while I’m out walking around the city. Those are both great ways to get educated on interesting business topics, and they’re both pretty relaxing for me.

I’m also continually learning through online courses and attending workshops and events. For these types of education, I usually set aside a chunk of time when I know I need to work on this area of my business.

Setting Time Aside For Big Projects

This brings me to the big projects allocation of my time.

I like to set no more than one major project or focus per quarter as the main priority for me and my team. You can think of this as the seasons of your business… in the fall you can focus on one project, in the winter on another, and so on.

Now to look at how these bigger projects show up on my weekly or daily task list, we need to see how I structure the more ongoing things that keep my business humming.

Keeping The Business Running

I allocate about 20% of my time creating new content for the Off The Charts video show, doing guest posts, and other “regular content”.

The difference is that I tend to batch these activities so I’m usually writing scripts or guest posts all in one week. This saves time between context switching, and if you write a lot you know that it’s easier to write when you’ve been doing it regularly.

Then, one week per month I’m coaching my clients through the Daring Business Cultivator. That leaves about 2 weeks per month where I’m working on those bigger projects or priorities for the quarter, like a launch or other initiative.

On an ongoing basis I’m available to my clients through our insiders groups and I’m coordinating with my team to make sure we’re all on the same page.

I like to slot in the activities that are core to my business first so that I can know exactly how much unscheduled time I have to devote to other activities like big creative projects or networking with new business friends.

I also want to mention that before I created the Daring Business Cultivator program, I was spending a lot more time talking to potential clients, following up, and so on.

One great piece of advice from my friend Nisha Moodley is that if you don’t have the number of clients you’d like to have on a weekly basis, you should still set time aside in your calendar as if they were there.

If there is nothing scheduled in a spot because you don’t have a client there, use that time as your marketing and sales conversation time. So you have built-in time in your calendar marked off for getting more clients.

Be really diligent and honest with yourself about this time in your calendar, it’s not to be wasted on tasks other than those that will lead to new clients!

The important thing is to do your own check-in about how you use your time right now, and see if you are spending your time on the right things and reaching the goals that you’re going after.

What’s does your time breakdown look like?

Leave a comment and let me know what is the #1 thing that takes up most of your time in your business. Is it in your zone of genius?!


21 Responses to How To Make The Most Of The Time You Spend Running Your Business

  1. Batching is such a great way to organize and plan, and something I am working on at the moment! I have a huge tendency to get distracted by shiny things, and drop my plans.

    I LOVE Nisha’s advice, which you have so eloquently summarized here. I never thought to simply treat my life like I have those clients, and use that time to hustle and find them. (It seems so straightforward when you put it that way!)

    • Yay Makenna, I’m so glad that Nisha’s advice was useful for you. It really helped me reframe how I thought about my time, too!

      And yes – batching is one of my favorites. I record all of my videos in one day, and try to do most of my writing in one day per week, too. :)

  2. Thanks so much for a great post Nathalie! I’ve been struggling with creating a weekly schedule forever – nothing ever seems to fit! With your advice, I’m thinking that creating a monthly calendar might be more fitting for the business. I’m excited to give it a try!

    • Hey Martine!

      Absolutely, I think weekly is a great way to look at your time – but often we have bigger projects that we can’t devote time to every week. Or conversely, we have things that need more dedicated space but can’t happen immediately.

      Let us know how it goes! :)

  3. Thanks for valuable information Nathalie. I’m working on my first product launch now. So your Big project quarter focus is a good idea for me. I do a test program now for 6 weeks to do a proper product launch in March 2014. I’m also forcusing on list building in parallel – so I joined your 30 Day List Building challenge and invited a business accountability partner to stay focused!

    • Woohoo Anastasia, way to go on getting your first product out there! I’m excited to have you in our 30 day list building challenge too, you’re going to be rocking it out in no time. :)

  4. Education – Listening to Podcasts? YES! Love that. Great tips re the Season of your business. And yes batching rocks. it! #lifenow! Podcasting is where I spend most my time. Live Your Life Now Show! But I am doing better at batching. Thanks Nathalie.

    • I think batching is especially important for you Liz, but I imagine it can be tough to schedule all of your interviews within a specific time period. Still, I think you can do a lot by following the seasons. :)

  5. Nathalie I am SO guilty! I love you idea of grouping client sessions into one week per month and staying focused when you are committing to one type of task rather than switching around which is what I often do.
    I REALLY want to plan my time better. I even got an annual planner today so that I can set goals and keep myself accountable. Thank-you as always.

  6. Oh, LOVED this!! As a new entrepreneur I flounder a lot with time management, and i LOVED how you broke it down.

    Also REALLY love the idea of scheduling in clients before you get them!

    Your focus is so inspirational – I’m off to try and implement this stuff. Thank you!

    • Yay Marsha, so glad this spoke to you. And by the way, this isn’t how I started out in my business, so I’m really happy to be able to pass on what I’ve learned over the years of trial and error. :)

  7. Thanks for this Nathalie. Batching works great for me. I just started with a morning exercise routine and it really makes a difference. After that I tackle my “have to do” tasks usually marketing related.Your “quarterly focus” is my biggest take away. I’ll try it out!

  8. I LOVE the idea of scheduling in time to connect with potential new clients or ‘get a new client’ when you have an opening in your schedule. I can’t wait to try this out next week when I’m free!

    Also – I’ve resisted batching for so long. But as a writer by trade, I definitely know what you mean about getting into the writing groove. Definitely think it’s worth a shot.

    Thanks for all the awesome insight, Nathalie! xo

    • Yay Erica! So glad that you’ll be giving batching a try. It’s the context switching that kills a lot of time, and getting into that zone feels so good – I never want to break it! :) And happy to hear you’ll be taking on the “get a new client” scheduling idea too!