I used to think time management was a buzzword, and frankly, I also thought that struggling with time management was a bit of a joke. Weren’t we all organized and ambitious enough to know how to prioritize our time?
But over the past few years, I’ve changed my mind. I’ve found that if I’m not myopically focused on time management, I run into trouble. I’ve also started seeing it happen all around me.
The number one challenge I hear from women business owners these days? Overwhelm. From the minute they wake up and check their phones, they feel stressed out by clients asking them to do something right away.
It derails every single plan they had for the day and their ability to achieve their own objectives. The stress it causes is awful.
When this happens to me, I always come back to the single best piece of advice I have ever gotten on this topic.
A few years ago I was talking with a mentor and friend. He was asking me how things at Her Corner were going.
I was lamenting that every single day I would wake up to dozens of emails from women asking me for their help – anything from “Can you look at my pricing?” to “Can you write a book intro for me” to “How do I promote my upcoming event to the Her Corner community?”
I felt responsible for helping them, and it would literally take me hours to get through all of the emails – at the expense of what I knew I needed to do to grow the business. It left me feeling overwhelmed, burned out and irritated.
I knew my mentor was head of an entire region for one of the largest global consulting companies in the world. But I did not know that he had somewhere around 100,000 people reporting to him. Each and every day, people needed something from him.
Suddenly I paid attention, because he was doing something right if he could manage the demands of 100,000 people.
He reminded me that the women emailing me were already customers. My job as a business owner was to prioritize business growth and revenue. Therefore, the first thing I needed to do every day was think about business development. The second thing I needed to do was manage cash (invoices, receivables, etc.) and then (and only then) I could move on to client work. Otherwise I would be out of business in about six months.
He was right.
Your customer’s questions are secondary to focusing on growth. Period.
And by the way, taking time management seriously has been life-changing.
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