Telling time where to go, what to do
One of the most popular small business questions I receive on a regular basis might surprise you. It goes something like this: How do you run a successful company without it completely taking over and ruining your life?
The average small business owner works more than 60 hours a week. And no matter how much you love your job, those hours over a long period of time, will begin to take a toll. Pretty soon your family, your health and the company itself will begin to suffer.
Before I began to study the principles of time management, I thought the whole idea was some kind of slick, money-making scheme hatched by a know-it-all who had never really worked for a living. But a funny thing happened. As I applied some simple time management principles to my life, I began to get more accomplished. In addition, I wasn’t as tired mentally and physically as I was before. I was on-task, efficient and I had more energy — even at the end of the day!
Most entrepreneurs are hard-charging, bust through and get-it-done types of people. The last thing we need is to feel like a rat in a wheel, just running and running but never getting anywhere. To enjoy our work, we must have a plan and a sense of traction and accomplishment. My friend John Maxwell says a budget is telling your money where to go. Well, the same principle can be applied to your time. You can plan ahead and tell it where to go, or you can scratch your head and wonder where it went.
Years ago, I never viewed time management for the purpose of productivity as something with personal or spiritual implications. Then, I was told that today’s system of minutes and seconds was developed by 14th Century monks, who were also mathematicians. They were able to formulate calculations breaking hours into minutes and minutes into seconds. Before that, time was measured only in hours using instruments like a sundial. The monks did this work with the purpose of gaining the ability to more precisely worship God.
"Managing time and money well, and viewing them as precious commodities, should be a normal exercise in both our professional and personal lives.”
Make time to grow
One of the most important things you can do as a leader is to take time to grow. Running a business can leave little time for anything else, but, believe me, when it comes to your professional life, it’s always worth the investment.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to surround yourself with winners. We call them thoroughbreds at my office. Taking extra time and doing your due diligence in the hiring process is a great way to ensure that you’re hanging out every day with people who can help you grow. You’ll become more astute as a business person and become a better human being just from hanging out and working with quality people day-to-day.
Seek out experts
Spending time with the best of the best may not be as difficult as you think. Many of the top minds in business regularly host live events and write books. Did you know that the average millionaire reads one or more non-fiction books a month? Learning from the best and brightest will open new doors, generate ideas and show you what you’re doing well and where you can improve.
Connect with peers
Living in a technology-driven world, it’s often easy to forget that the best relationships are made when people talk to each other face-to-face. So, get out of the office and meet people! Don’t make the mistake of being the person who is constantly trying to sell themselves or their company. The objective here is to meet people and gain knowledge and insight. Plus, you’ll make lots of new friends along the way who actually get you.
Leaders need mentors, too
Finding a mentor probably isn’t as difficult as you think. In fact, most successful people are flattered by such a request and happy to help others. You’re not going to be able to simply call up Bill Gates or Warren Buffet on the phone, but that’s okay. All you’re looking for is someone you respect and admire, who is bit ahead of you in terms of experience and development. You may even find that you need different mentors for different areas of your life.
"Learning from the best and brightest will open new doors, generate ideas and show you what you’re doing well and where you can improve.”
We host numerous EntreLeadership events each year. In them, we teach small business owners the principles we used to grow our company. Yes, growth is that important to me. It should be to you, too. It’s one of the simplest and most gratifying things you can do to become a better leader and win the race!
By: Dave Ramsey
Dave Ramsey is America’s trusted voice on money and business. He’s authored four New York Times best-selling books: Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover and EntreLeadership. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 6 million listeners each week on more than 500 radio stations. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.Read More Articles by Dave Ramsey