There are 1,440 minutes in a day. Do you have any idea how many of your minutes are spent actually contributing to your income? More importantly, do you have any idea how many of those minutes are contributing to the impact you make in the world?
Many entrepreneurs believe they have to hustle around the clock in order to make it and become successful.
That couldn’t be further from the truth.
The 24/7 hustle mentality is not only broken, but it is dangerous. Working around the clock leads to depression, burnout, and broken relationships.
Matt Kohn is the founder and Head of Growth at Different Hunger Media, a lifestyle brand that empowers digital agency owners to live more and work less through systems and automation. Matt himself transformed from a burned-out freelancer to 6 figure agency, and he did it – not from hustling – but from implementing systems and auditing his time on a daily basis. In fact, through this strategy, entrepreneurs are able to scale their businesses while working 20 hours or less per week. Today he gives us a rundown of how to leverage our time so that we no longer have to hustle our time and lifestyle away.
Know Where you Spend your Time
How can you change the way you spend your time if you don’t know how you spend it? Entrepreneurs are often guilty of going through the day working on a million different things without even realizing it. Self-awareness is critical to any change you want to make in life. So the first thing you have to do in order to break out of the hustle mentality is to track how you currently spend your time.
Keep a detailed log of how you spend every hour of every day for 4 weeks. For those of us working online, just use simple time tracking apps like Toggle to do this. Don’t overthink it. Just log it. Once you have your final log, you will be able to visualize exactly how much time you spend on every task you do. By the end of the 4 weeks, you should know how many hours you sleep at night, how many hours you waste by scrolling through social media, and everything in between. When you tally up your log, you may have an “ah-ha” moment, and that is a good thing. Self-awareness is key to growth and change.
Filter your Tasks
There are many tasks that entrepreneurs and business owners must do to keep the business going. However, very few of those tasks are actually income-generating activities. Sure, some of them may need to be done, but do you need to do them?
Now that you have your time log, take some time and run each task through the following filters:
Can the task be eliminated? Is the task a valuable use of the time that generates income or is otherwise required? Be honest with yourself here. We are often guilty of working on tasks that don’t really need to be done at all.
Can the task be automated? With all of the technological advancements in the world, many repetitive tasks can be automated. From social media posts to accounting, a lot of tasks can be set up to be completed on autopilot for very little money compared to the time that you already invest in it.
Can the task be delegated? If you cannot eliminate or automate, can the task be delegated? There are virtual assistants who charge by the hour available online, and their skills vary widely. You can find help for everything from content writers to website design to eCommerce store management.
The bottom line is that the only tasks you should keep for yourself are the ones that focus on your zone of genius and strategically grow your business. You should be proficient at and enjoy everything that you choose to invest your time in. Most other tasks can be eliminated, automated, or delegated.
Optimize your time
Now that you have run all of the tasks you work on through a filter, it is time to implement and optimize. Systemize your recurring tasks, delegate any low-value work or tasks that require skills you don’t have, and automate as much as you can through hiring or technology.
The tasks that are left over should be tasks that significantly contribute to your business's growth and development. Examples of these tasks are things like high-level business strategy, product development, expanding into new markets, systems, and processes optimization, negotiating deals and partnerships, mapping sales funnels, etc.
The more systematic and structured your schedule is, the more time you will gain back to your day and the more flexibility you will ultimately gain. Build your schedule by grouping related tasks together and daily themes. Once your daily themes are established, assign those tasks to a time slot in your calendar the same way you would with an appointment or meeting. They will become appointments with you, and you should honor those appointments the same way you would honor an appointment with a client or your doctor.
You do not have to constantly hustle to succeed as an entrepreneur or business owner. There are only 1,440 minutes in a day, and truly successful people know that their time is their most valuable asset. When used wisely, there is enough time in the day to spend with the people you love, doing the things you enjoy, and making an impact in the world.