Out of the thousands of small business owners and leaders we speak to each year, one of the top questions our EntreLeadership team receives isn’t about taxes, inventory, hiring or firing, or the numerous other complicated tasks a small business owner has to manage each day. Instead, it’s something much simpler: How do you run a company without ruining your life?
And they are not alone. The average business owner works 60-plus hours a week. And when they do that for a long period of time, life is simple no more. In the long run, their health, family and companies suffer.
The good news is that there is a solution. In Dave’s best-selling book, EntreLeadership, he answers questions on business and leadership, including time management. Check out the excerpt below.
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It is so unsatisfying to work my tail off all day and feel like nothing happened. How many of you have had this experience: you get up early and head down to the office, you have an entire day of fire after fire that needs to be put out, you can’t remember what happened to lunch, and 12 hours later you arrive home completely exhausted, collapsing on the couch as your spouse says, “What did you do today?” And you shake your head thinking, I have no idea. Most of us who bust it, who are hard-driving go-getters, have had that experience. That experience is disgusting and unsatisfying; you feel like a stupid rat in a stupid wheel… run run run and get nowhere. To enjoy our work, our business, we must have a sense of traction.
"To enjoy our work, our business, we must have a sense of traction." -Dave Ramsey
Time management sounds to me like some cooked-up corporate training program by someone who has never really worked themselves. They have never faced an entire day of crisis after crisis. Yet when I apply these basic principles in my life, I get a ton more done, and, strangely, I am more rested—or is it just more satisfied?
My friend John Maxwell says a budget (for your money) is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went. Managing time is the same; you will either tell your day what to do or you will wonder where it went. The weird thing is that the more efficient, on task, on goal you are with your time, the more energy you have. Working with no traction, or for that matter simply wasting away a day, does not relax you, it drains you. Have you ever taken a day off, slept late, wandered around with no plan or thought for the day, watched some stupid rerun of a bad movie as you surfed the TV, and at the end of your great day off found yourself absolutely exhausted? Strange as it may seem, when you work a daily plan in pursuit of your written goals that flow from your mission statement born of your vision for living your dreams, you are energized after a tough long day.
"The weird thing is that the more efficient, on task, on goal you are with your time, the more energy you have." -Dave Ramsey
As a person of faith I always kind of viewed time management for the purpose of productivity to be a business kind of thing devoid of any spiritual or personal implications. I was teaching this lesson years ago, and one of my young leaders, who is very bright, came to me afterward and asked the leading question, “Dave, do you know where the concept of seconds and minutes was developed?” I said, “No, but I bet you are going to tell me.” According to my young leader, who has a master’s degree in divinity, prior to the 1300s man measured time only in hours using instruments like a sundial. Somewhere in the 1300s mathematicians who were monks were able to do the calculations that now allow us to break hours into minutes and minutes into seconds. The monks did this mathematical work in order to enable them to more precisely worship God. So managing money and time well and viewing them as precious commodities is a normal exercise for all of us, particularly people of faith.
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