When you sit down to work on your business, how are you spending your time and energy? Are you consistently productive or do you, as one of my clients described it, “piddle” for hours on end without much to show for it?
It’s really common for coaches to go into their office each morning and stare at the computer for 8 hours because they think that is what they “should” be doing to move their business forward when in fact they just aren’t using their time effectively.
Plus, when you’re building a one-to-one coaching practice, there’s only so much you can do to work on it at the beginning, especially if you aren’t yet clear on your Ideal Client [link to article]. You’re building out your network, your relationships and your credibility, and some of that work takes time. And sometimes, working 40 hours a week can backfire and will actually yield less return on your investment of time and energy.
How much time do you spend “piddling”?
Think about it: if you’re strategic in how you spend your working hours, you could get really far in just 20 hours of work a week. When you feel like you “have to” work for 40 hours, at a certain point you’ll get tired and you’ll start to push. The more you push, the less effective you will be (and the more time you’ll find yourself piddling!)
There are also those people who put in 50 hours a week because they’re coming from a pull energy and don’t fully see that by doing so, they are probably spending little time on the other things in life they enjoy. For short sprints, it can be invigorating to dive deep into your business, but if you do this all the time it begs the question, “is it worth it?”
Having a full tank when you work on your business each day will take you so much farther in the long run! (Think tortoise vs. hare).
One woman I recently spoke with mentioned that, even when she puts in 40 hours of work or more during the week, much of it isn’t helping her make great progress in her business so she feels like she hasn’t accomplished enough to hang her hat up for the week. She ends up working on the weekends, too, to try and make up for her lack of progress. It is easy for your saboteurs to move in and have a field day when you aren’t making the progress you want.
As I spoke with her, I was really present to how heavy the energy felt around her work “on” the business. Obviously this experience is not what she wanted when she became a coach—she wanted freedom, flexibility and she wanted to love her work and make a big, juicy difference in the world.
So, how can you become more strategic when you work on your business so you spend less time on it but are more productive? What if you spent 20 hours a week working smart instead of 40 hours a week mostly piddling?
So many of us work 8 hours a day because of the confines of what we were used to in our corporate jobs (and not because it really is what serves). In a regular nine to five job, you have a ton of structure that most of us took for granted. Come in to the office at a certain time, break for lunch at a certain time, go to a meetings with certain intentions and outcomes, deliver certain projects on a certain date, etc. There’s automatic structure in a job. Som coaches have difficulty transitioning over to a position where they manage their own time, accountability and deliverables and tend to rebel against structure when it actually could really serve them.
The key is to create a structure for yourself that helps you reach your goals AND actually feels good:
- Each day, get clear on what you want to accomplish and how each action will lead you toward your goals.
- Prioritize those actions and put them into your calendar to insure you will work on them.
- If you get done early, reward yourself by leaving the office and enjoying life.
To learn more, you can read about The Freedom Schedule to get a better sense of how you can create structure in your work day that feels yummy instead of stifling.
This isn’t just about saving time and energy: It is about the energy that we are BEing.
In our line of work, the energy that you are being completely ties into your ability to attract clients to you. If you’re feeling downtrodden about your day to day work “on” your business, it will be obvious to everybody else in the world. On the other hand, if you’re excited about what you’re doing, you’re on target and you give yourself freedom and flexibility to enjoy your life, you’ll show up powerfully in your world.
Tara Butler Floch