In this series, I’ve been telling you how to maximize the investments you’ve made in your business. Some of those investments are financial, and they’re easier to measure. But your time investment is equally important.
It’s harder to quantify your return on time (ROT)—unless we consider you an employee of your own business.
Here are 10 ways to increase the value of your time:
1. Increase your return on time. Every employee in your business should create either more revenue or more time. The return on an employee’s time should be 2.25 times his or her pay. Some roles don’t generate revenue but do generate time for the owner, who generates the revenue to validate the role.
2. Focus on the things that pay you most.
3. Stop doing the things that pay you least.
4. Move to higher-value roles.
5. Work less often. Cut out one day per week.
6. Work shorter days.
7. Get everything out of your head.
8. Be more focused. The average employee produces at 30 percent capacity.
9. Take more vacations. One of our 2020 Summit speakers, Cameron Herold, recommends 25 days per year.
10. Listen to Andy and Mary Boimila talk about their work-life balance on Two-Brain Radio.
The Time Bandits—and How to Stop Them
Get a door that closes. We think it’s our duty to be available to our staff at all times. But really, it’s our duty to train them not to need us. And if you’re not doing your work as CEO, they’ll be the first to suffer. Do everyone a favor and close your door.
If you really need to, make a little sign that says “can’t talk. Text me” and hang it from the knob.
Todd Herman told me this: “There’s nothing in your inbox that will move your business forward. The only things in there are people asking you to do something for them.”
I set up my laptop to block notifications by default—to start without the Mail, Slack or iMessage icons in the dock. There are no little red circles demanding attention in the morning. I turn those on later, when Focus time is over.
You don’t need to set up an auto-responder saying you check email twice per day. Those are annoying. Everyone is busy. No one expects an immediate reply to an email. Answer them between your productivity windows.
Calls and Texts
Someone else should be answering your phone. Forward your phone to someone else during your productivity windows.
Don’t give out your cell phone number to anyone except family. And don’t open message apps like Slack before your Focus window in the morning.
Hire someone else to manage it for you. Yes, your company needs to be on social media. But no, it shouldn’t be you.
If you’re tired, burned out or distracted, you won’t get anything done. Making many decisions creates fatigue. Stress creates fatigue. Lack of fitness creates fatigue. Eating sugar, being dehydrated, losing sleep—they all create fatigue.
Instead of fighting through three hours of distraction and half-assed effort, you’ll actually get more done if you take a 15-minute nap or exercise for half an hour. You’ll come back sharp and actually accomplish something that moves your business forward.
As a CEO, your primary role is to think. And the larger your business grows, the more time you have to spend thinking. That can mean more time behind closed doors, more time hiking or cycling or meditating to get into Flow State. And because these things appear to be recreational, it’s easy for your family or staff to think you’re “off.”
It’s important to explain these principles (and your responsibilities) to the staff around you. Remember: They have no context on leadership. They probably think you’re a millionaire who leaves at 3 p.m. to ride a bike for fun, leaving them to do the work. Tell them what you’re doing and how it benefits them. But don’t let the feeling that “they need to see me working hard!” distract you from doing the work that actually helps the team.
Remember: You’re not judged by how many hours you put in. Your success will not be determined by your martyrdom. You have to produce.