Self-Care Calls for Plan to Protect Your Time

Brent Szalay

Typically each month, I interview a leader in a specific area of business strategy. But this month, it feels only right to take a different approach. It’s December after all, and I’d like to wrap this year up with some individual insight and optimism towards what promises to be a brighter 2022.

So, I’d like to interview you as the leader in your business! Yes, I’m going to encourage you to firstly take a reflective glance backwards. And, then I’m going to prompt you to set your lens towards 2022; with your key priority being you and taking control of your time.

A common cause of burnout in business, is ‘lack of control’. It can be a relentlessness feeling of ‘I’m not making progress.’ It’s hard to see accomplishment (particularly the little wins) with the everyday juggle struggle, keeping up with the demand on your attention and the urgent pace of tasks needing to be done.

Control over our time (how much, and where we allocate it) is what we need and crave most as business owners. Our Business Assessment, which some of you have already completed, sheds interesting insight on our time reality:

  • Only 20% say they do a reasonable job of allocating time to drive the strategic direction of their business. The other 80% score below ‘reasonable’ and are likely trapped in the detail of doing client work.
  • Only 40% say they manage ‘quite well’ at working healthy hours. While the other 60% of us consider ourselves to be lacking balance.
  • Only 20% claim to do ‘extremely well’ at saying ‘no’ to things that aren’t in line with their ideal business (such as taking on undesirable clients). Which means most of us aren’t setting strategic boundaries.
  • When asked ‘how well do you rely on a coach or mentor to keep accountable to improving your business’ – 64% say ‘not well at all.’ Yet many of us realise we require an accountability mechanism to keep focused and efficient.

Tapping into my personal ‘early on’ experience as a business owner, these results aren’t surprising to me. But I also now know that it doesn’t have to be this way! I encourage you to take 2022 as your chance to redesign how you plan, protect and proactively allocate your time to achieve greater control and greater self-care.

It’s time to interview yourself and ask:

  1. Where did I predominantly spend my time? (Look back over your calendar schedule)
  2. Where did I spend time worrying? (What’s the root cause of your stressors)
  3. Where did I spend my energy? (In meaningful work or putting out spot fires?)
  4. What bad habits blurred my time boundaries? (Such as: checking your inbox too often and letting it dictate your day. Or holding on to tasks, rather than delegating).
  5. What are 2 things I learnt this last year?
  6. What are 2 things I want to do differently next year?

A new year presents a fresh opportunity. Here are some prompters to help you reset for 2022:

  • Capacity planknow your ability to delegate and ensure there’s ample for growth.
  • Be clear on what’s ‘enough’ for youenough money, enough enjoyable tasks, and enough time away from the office to regularly refresh.
  • Design your ritual a routine that maximises your strengths. For e.g.: if you’re a morning person, block out 2-3 solid hours first thing for thinking, without checking phone, nor email. Leave meetings to the afternoon.
  • Protect your timeyou and your team need to know what you’re saying ‘no’ to.
  • Cut the crapall of us can think of 1 task to delegate, such as bookkeeping, admin, anything that’s not valuable use of our expertise.
  • Leverage technology automate questionnaires and send videos with advice to shorten meeting times.

Remember, self-care is only possible if you have a plan to protect your time.

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