We live in a society that glorifies busyness. We constantly need to be doing something and, thanks to our rapid proliferation of digital devices, we usually are.
We feel guilty, uncomfortable even when we find ourselves relaxing or in a state of idleness. It’s hard not to, especially when there is always something you could, or should, be doing. And this isn’t a bad thing. We should be active. Working hard is admirable.
After coaching hundreds of business owners and entrepreneurs over the years, I find that that too many of them mistake being busy for being productive.
Most Business Owners I meet have transformed the spelling of the word Business to Busyness.
The truth is, when Business Owners are willing to take an honest assessment of their days, to-do lists and time management, they will find that the things keeping them busy often tend to also be the things keeping them from real progress – may that be in their personal or professional life (probably both).
When they are busy, they are often stressed out. This is not to say the case is not the same for when they are actually being productive, but the latter gives them a feeling of accomplishment because they can actually feel, if not see, exactly how the activities that they are engaging in are paying off. The gratification, however subtle, that comes with this is one of the major differentiators between busy work and worthwhile work.
Business owners are often busy doing things that do not help their business grow. This prevents them from allocating enough time to high valued activities that enables the actual growth of their business. Out of 5 business owners, 3 of them are likely to fall in this entity of business owners. A challenge that most Business Owners face is which work to Delegate or Outsource or do it themselves.
Skill Fun Matrix – is the simplest yet most powerful method in this world which can help Business Owners use their time more productively.
One tool that Business Owners can use to help you make better use of your time is the Skill Fun Matrix.
Any task they do can be assessed by two criteria:
Each task they do will be low, medium, or high fun for them, and require a low, medium, or high skillset – as shown below.
Low skill – Low fun: These are the minor bothered activities towards their business growth and where they don’t enjoy working on it. For example, the tasks like general administration or maintenance. These tasks may save some bucks doing these relatively straightforward tasks but do they help winning new customers or deliver value to your existing customers?
Medium skill – medium fun: When Business Owners free themselves from low skill- low fun activities, they can find some time for highly valued tasks. These tasks, in general, add revenue to the business. For example, marketing, advertisements, accounts, etc. These tasks help Business Owners generate revenue and build relations with customers.
High skill – High fun: These are the tasks an actual business owner should tap into. High skill – High fun tasks are those which they enjoy working on. For example, building business strategies, marketing plans, building the team.
These tasks bring profits on board in the long term. It requires a high skill set and brings significant financial benefits to the business.
Growing your business
If Business Owners are committed to growing their business, they have to invest at least 5 hours per week on work that brings value to the business. Ultimately, the long-term aim is to spend 80% of the time on strategic ‘on the business’ work. That will mean growing the team, in both numbers and skillset, so they can do the lower skill and lower value tasks.
Growing your team
The most cost-efficient way to leverage your time through the team is to delegate the low skill jobs first. Some of these tasks might even be suitable for outsourcing, meaning Business Owners do not need to physically bring in another person to the team at all – reducing both the costs and risk.
Longer term they have to create a career development path for the team members so that they themselves can increase their value to your business.
There are two key advantages to having a career development path:
Or else, one runs the serious risk of killing their business if they hold onto low skill tasks – perhaps because Business Owners think it is easier or quicker for them to do it themselves.
If they hold onto the medium skill jobs its highly likely that the growth of the business will stagnate once they have reached your personal capacity to do medium value work.
Business Owners need to put the ego aside. They should not allow busyness to become an excuse. It is easy to use being busy as a reason to not start other things people truly want to do, usually because of the fear of failure.
If being busy makes someone feel important – that’s fine. But everyone should know that it doesn’t automatically make them successful.
At Beyond Red Ocean Consulting, we have helped hundreds of Business Owners address the triple challenge of “Team, Time and Money” through our structured Business Coaching Programs.