Working ON the business, instead of IN the business: How to make time

by | Jul 18, 2016 | Agency Roadmap

Feeling trapped? Work ON your business, not IN your business.

Stuck working IN your business? Here are three ways to make time to work ON your business.

A coaching client reached out for help—the agency owner wrote, “I have trouble setting aside blocks of time to work on specific things and then sticking to it.”

It’s tough—everyone struggles with this, because you’re fighting human nature. Running an agency is especially hard—clients and employees are interrupting you all day long.

This is the age-old “work ON the business, instead of work IN the business” situation.

Consider these three suggestions, based on my experience advising busy agency owners in 20 countries:

1) I like blocking-in time for activities ahead of time. In March, I assigned my assistant to block-in the entire rest of the year on my calendar. This includes chunks of time throughout the week for billable work, bizdev activities, business-building, working out, and relaxing (based on a list of about a dozen business rules I set). For instance, I don’t know exactly what bizdev activities I’ll be doing the week of December 12th, but I know I need to spend time on bizdev that week. Here are some key priorities for you.

2) It’s often easier to keep appointments with others than with yourself—I see this with several of my clients, and I struggle with it, too. One thing that helps is to be conservative on scheduling—when I’m handling something myself, I include unscheduled “buffer” time to reflect the reality that things take longer than I expect.

3) I find it helps to turn some self-meetings into meetings with others—for instance, personal training forces me to work out (and to show up early for 30 minutes of cardio beforehand). I’ll also do some activities on the phone with my assistant—some of that is my delegating to her, but it also includes talking through things that I could do myself, but that are easier when I talk about them.

Ultimately, you know yourself best—find the combo that works best for you. It’s easier to work ON your business when you’re at your peak, and it’s easier when someone’s holding you accountable.

Question: How do you hold yourself accountable to work ON the business?

Image credit: Cat photo by Kylir Horton, via Creative Commons


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