Fatal Error #34 – Being too Busy “Doing the Work”

Border Collie puppy dog in front of a white background biting its own tail

So cute, right?  Not so much when it is you running around in circles in your business or even in life.  “Stop bothering me for I am too busy chasing my tail in a circle to stop chasing my tail in a circle.”  I hope this doesn’t describe you, but if it does, it’s time to make a few changes.

This is one of the biggest issues we see over and over in our mastermind groups, business owners/CEOs doing too much of the day to day operations and not enough strategic work.  I understand that it is all stuff that needs to be done, but is it really best for the leader of the company to be doing the small day to day tasks?  What happens when there becomes too much busy work?  The obvious answer is to pass it along to someone else, delegate it.  However, more often than not, it never happens.  I do understand!  I have started businesses from the ground up and in most of those I was a solo entrepreneur in the beginning.  It was a one-man show, and I was it.  I wore all the hats because I just couldn’t afford anyone else.  Now, as your company starts to grow, you need to start to evaluate when it is time to bring on the help.  That may be an employee and it may not.  It may just mean outsourcing some of your everyday tasks, such bookkeeping, answering phones, social media, etc.  There are only so many hours in the day and days in the week.  If you keep doing everything, eventually you will hit a bottleneck.  Unless you have figured out how to clone yourself, (and if you have, please give me a call) there is only so much of you to go around.  So you have to evaluate what tasks you as the business owner/leader should be doing.

So, what tasks should the business owner be doing?  

Think about what a business owner is … they are the leader, the decision maker, the one responsible for the direction the company takes.  In the beginning, you don’t have a choice.  You have to be everything for the company.  However, it is important to assess where you are in the building process and recognize when it is time to start moving some of those tasks over to an employee or outsource the work.  You, as the leader of your company, have the responsibility to keep things moving forward.  You can’t stop being the entrepreneur that you were when you first decided to go into business for yourself.  If you are unable to offload the busy work, you will never be able to take care of those higher impact activities.  Be willing to buy back your time so you can take care of the “big stuff” like growing your company.  

Here is a little exercise for all of you:

  1. Evaluate where you are in your company.  This can be a tricky one.  A lot of people, without giving it a lot of thought, will just say they are too early to look at hiring or delegating out certain areas of their business.  I ask you to be honest with yourself on this one.  Are you afraid to relinquish the control?  Do you think you just can’t afford it?  Maybe you should actually be asking yourself, “Can I afford not to?”
  2. Then I want you to monitor your time over the next month.  Keep an honest and accurate time log and then add up the hours in which you actually do strategic activities.  What is a strategic activity?  Think of it this way, if in 5 years you can look back on it and say, “I’m so glad I spent my time doing that,” it is probably strategic.  If you can’t, then it is just busy work.

Now that you have taken the time to see how you spend your time, I will make you a bet!  I bet you are spending less than 20 hours a month on strategic items, and I will go as far as saying that some of you are spending less than 10 hours.  That’s the bad news!  The the good news is, just think of the upside!

Comment below on tasks you have delegated out or ways you have made more time to be more strategic in your business.

 

**Fatal Error #34 comes from the best-selling book, “The 51 Fatal Business Errors and How to Avoid Them” by CEO Focus founder Jim Muehlhausen.  Check it out here.

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