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Have you ever had those days where you wondered where time went? Have you ever had those days where you are off to a great start and feeling super productive only to then be interrupted by something, and then you have a really difficult time getting back on track? I know I have! Those days used to be SUPER common for me, and I only even realized that after I was more aware of the passing minutes. It’s those pesky time thieves in your everyday life, and that’s what I wanted to talk to you about. Your time management is absolutely crucial to your success.
I will say that one more time. Your time management skills directly relate to your financial success.
Time is your most valuable resource. It’s the only thing that you can’t get more of, no matter how hard you try, how much money you dump into it, or how you manage it. It’s finite. And when it’s gone, it’s really gone. How’s that for a slap across the head, am I right? That’s why the super popular saying of “time is money” is dead on. That’s also why it’s worth physical money to me to spend time with my family, friends, and simply to take time for myself and enjoy playing a round of golf or going out to a comedy club.
Many (most) of us realize that time is important, but only a very few truly do anything about it. We fall back into the same habits as we used to, and we continue losing out on our productivity — and even more awful, our money. After all, if we aren’t being productive, our business bleeds money.
If you don’t capture the importance of time and the things you get accomplished during a given hour, week, month, quarter, or year… then your business is destined to fail. Sorry, not sorry. It’s just the cold, hard truth of it. That is how important it is to get a grasp on these mortal enemies (time thieves), and the fact that you need to put a stop to them IMMEDIATELY in order to have success in what you do.
Awesome question. Time thieves are anyone (and anything) which rob you of your productivity, your mindset, your gumption, your motivation, your energy, and yes… most obviously, your time.
The biggest time thief of them all is social media – especially Facebook and Instagram. I know it’s a great place to network and to get your work “seen” by your audience, but be careful of getting lost down the rabbit hole. Get in, do what needs to get done, and get out. And even better, schedule your content so it automatically posts for you. (Buffer is a great tool for that).
Have you ever wondered how much time you are spending on specific apps on your phone? Data tracking is super interesting, and it can really tell you how much time you are spending (cough, cough — wasting) on your phone. If you have an iPhone, go to Settings > Battery > Last 7 Days > then click the “clock” button on the right. There, you will see the number of minutes/hours spent on apps on your phone. Did you spend more than 5 hours on any one app? More than 10?? YIKES!!!! I hope if you are spending more than 5-10 hours on any given app that it gives you a LOT of money in return.
Building relationships can definitely make you money in the long-run, and Facebook is a great way to keep in touch. BUT, it’s so impersonal. I challenge you to set up a meeting with them, or better yet – I challenge you to create a little mini meetup with a small group of those you would love to work together with. Make it informal, but have a game plan about what you intend to talk about and truly help each other hit their goals. Lend advice, share referrals, collaborate on a styled shoot, do shout-outs on social media of the other person’s business. Do whatever makes sense for you guys – but just help each other. These face-to-face interactions are WAY more useful and powerful than any hour-long FB message chat you can have.
This one is tough. Super tough. We all have them in our life (at least at one point or another). These time sucker friends (a term I learned from Dan Kennedy) are super common. They are the ones who want to text you in the middle of a workday and expect a response in 5 minutes. They are the ones who are always wanting help in their life, but never returning the favor to benefit yours in any way. It’s those completely one-sided, one-way relationships where they are the only person benefitting. And it’s those people who don’t respect your time. They are late to hanging out with you, late to call you back, and they always demand more and more from you until you are completely exhausted. And when you see them on Facebook, it’s always something so dramatic and negative. You’re now more than likely so exhausted (and now time depleted), that you aren’t being productive in any area of your life.
Personally, I “nixed” quite a few friends in my twenties, but I also strengthened my relationships with a core group of people who always have my back, who understand that I may work odd hours as a wedding pro, but who also maintain that two-way relationship. Quality over quantity, folks.
I’ve already chatted about Fixed vs Growth mindset in a recent blog post, so I won’t go into too much detail about that here. (Definitely check it out, though). I just wanted to quickly say that cutting out (or severely reducing) time thieves can be hard. You (like me) have a LOT of bad habits. They’re hard to kick. But the simple awareness of where your time is being spent (and stolen) is a huge game changer. You can stick with the same habits you’ve had over your life and get the same results, or you can actively decide for yourself that you want a change in your life. Whether thats to make more money or spend time with your family (or both – I definitely prefer both), then your habits need to change.
Be less accessible. Curate everything in your life, not just your portfolio. Focus in on the things that are getting you closer to your goals every minute of every day. If there is a conversation with someone that can wait until after business hours, wait. If there isn’t a reason to sign into your social media, don’t. And if you simply “lose track” of time, get a BIG, HUGE clock and put it in front of you so it screams in your face all day long with a ticking second-hand. Personally, I have one that is right below my computer screen. It’s about a foot long and it’s always reminding me that time is ticking.
Do you know how much your time is worth? It’s more complex than just the hourly rate you are booking with. But let’s simplify it as much as possible for the sake of time management. 😉
Let’s say your goal is to make $100,000/year.
Roughly speaking, that would mean that your hourly rate is somewhere close to $50/hr. (Again; super, super rough here). I want you to triple that. Why? Because there are so many unproductive hours in the day. There have been many studies by countless professional organizations that the “actual” productive hours spent during a typical workday is typically between 15-30%. So, I want you to triple that hourly figure. That is your ‘productive’ hourly billable rate for your daily work life. So if your goal is $100,000/year… I want you to tell yourself that your “worth” by the hour is $150/hr (minimum).
Now that you have that figure, I want you to tell yourself that every single day when you are doing tasks. Is that task worth $150/hour? If not, why are you doing it? If it is, do more of it.
As an example: Even if I am cleaning up my Instagram account or learning something new with Pinterest, Facebook, or my email lists… can those tweaks or new things that I learn eventually earn more than $150/hour? You betcha. Are other things like me posting 10 times a day to Facebook going to earn me more than that time spent on the app? Probably not.
The task that is primarily worth way more than $150/hour is typically going to be marketing & sales. Focus your time there. That is what is going to be bringing money into your business, so that is also where I want you to invest in yourself, in books, courses, workshops, mentors, and coaches. Sure, the creative stuff can be fun and inspiring, but you can’t pay your rent/m0rtgage with something that is inspiring. So, far all of those “lunch meetings” where someone wants to pick your brain and they offer to buy you a meal… that’s really just a slap in the face. They think your time is worth $20, and they think that they are you doing you a favor. Remember, this is your mortal enemy. The all-encompassing “time sucker” and time thieves.
Of course, there are. It’s learning from others. Get rid of the “trial and error” phase of your business. Simply do what others have found success with. That is exactly why I created my Signature program, “How to build a Six-Figure wedding business.” I want to help others grow, and I want to save them time and money along the way. It’s also why I personally invest into courses & coaches often. I can confidently say that I will always have a coach of some kind. I find them invaluable (with the right coach, of course).
I hope this helped you, and I hope you take these things seriously. Time is truly the most valuable resource we have. Use it wisely. Become an expert with your time management. Don’t let time control you. I want you to control time.
Where & How To Invest Your Time To Propel Your Business Forward
- with Natalie Franke
The Raw & Authentic Truth of Owning a Wedding Business
- With Susan Stripling
Profitable Photography Business Building Tips & Strategies
- with Sal Cincotta
How to Build a Massive Facebook Group
- with Arne Giske