This is a guest post by Sabrina Bolin.
“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.” ~Carl Sandburg
As an entrepreneur who connects with most of her clients online, I am presented with a multitude of choices daily when it comes to how I spend my time.
Will I focus on direct outreach today and send emails to follow up on referrals? Create new programs? Nurture my community through social media? Write informative articles for my blog or for other sites? Deepen my training through courses? Seek speaking and opportunities to share my message with a live audience?
Or will I clean up my house? Get into my yoga studio? Go on a bike ride? Take my dogs on a hike? Spend a date day with my man?
And on and on and on!
Most of us choose the entrepreneurial lifestyle for the freedom it brings us, but with this freedom also comes an opportunity for overwhelm and misguided action out of alignment with our values and bigger goals if we aren’t conscious and strategic about how we spend our time.
So how do we get more conscious and more strategic?
The first step is to take an honest look at “what is” by getting clarity around how we’re already spending our time. I like to do this by spending a week putting everything on the calendar as I go – even if it’s after the fact. Think of it as your schedule and diary rolled into one.
For example, if I checked emails from 10 AM-11 AM, got sucked into the social media vortex from 11 AM-12 PM, made lunch/ate it/did the dishes from 12 PM-1 PM, coached a client 1 PM-2 PM, replied to blog comments from 2 PM-3 PM, tweaked elements on my website 3 PM-4 PM, rode my bike to make deposits at the bank from 4 PM-5 PM, stopped by the grocery store for a few necessities 5 PM-6 PM, then finished editing a blog post from 6 PM-8 PM – I would put ALL of these events in my calendar (I’m a big fan of Google calendars, but the best calendar is the one you use – so use what works for you!).
Once I’ve done this for a week, I start to get a clear picture of how many hours I’m actually spending on each area of my business and life, and from there, I can comb through asking these questions:
- Am I being as efficient as I can with the tasks I’ve taken on?
- Have I invested in the time to organize myself so all processes run more smoothly?
- Have I carved out space to strategically grow into what’s next, ensuring I’m not only working in my business but also on my business?
Once I have clarity and have brought awareness to “what is,” I can start to focus on those areas that need my attention the most…and then make changes as necessary to sort out the rest.
Play with this – what someone else might consider a “time waster” might be an integral part of your process! That said, you might be wasting time in ways you don’t realize…
One way that we can waste time is by spending it doing tasks that might be better suited for someone else.
Gay Hendricks speaks about this in his book “The Big Leap” when he breaks down the different “Zones” that we can spend our time in; the Zone of Incompetence, Zone of Competence, Zone of Excellence, and Zone of Genius.
The idea is this – there are certain things that we’re simply not that good at and that we have no desire to learn – this is our Zone of Incompetence. These are areas where it’s best to delegate or hire, or else we run the risk of wasting our time and true talents (aka our Zone of Genius).
Often times we get tripped up here, especially those of us bootstrapping our businesses, as our ego says “well I could figure this out!” Then we spend so much time and energy “figuring it out” that we get off track with our real goals and desires.
There is a fine line with this of course, and your intuition is always your best guide in choosing what to pursue and what to release; a challenge can certainly be worthwhile if it really lights you up.
Finally, it’s good to be aware of how we can devalue our own time, either by letting others waste it or just not honoring what we’re worth; we have to own our worth, starting with our time.
We aren’t victims of time thieves, though we may have let things slide unknowingly; however once we realize where our time – and energy – are being compromised, we have the choice to lovingly speak up and reset those boundaries.
If you don’t value your time, who will?
This doesn’t mean that we don’t give – giving is key to abundance and manifestation, not to mention a fulfilling life – but we do so consciously and with pure intention, rather than out of guilt or because we’ve caught a case of the shoulds.
This is really the fun part because once you cure the shoulds, you realize that there are no “rules” when it comes to how you spend your time – it’s YOUR time after all! For example, when I walk my dogs in the morning, I love to slow down – just a bit – and literally stop and smell the roses (my neighbor’s roses that is – as gardening is currently in my Zone of Incompetence, our roses aren’t doing too well!).
When you value your own time, you inspire and empower others to tap into their own resourcefulness. Enforcing the “sacred yes and sacred no” by honoring your own time can be an act of extreme self-care and one you have access to in the only REAL time there is: right now in this moment.
I would love to hear from you: Where have you been wasting your own time or where have you allowed others to waste it for you? And what steps will you take in your own life to bring yourself back into alignment?
If you’re having trouble hearing your own intuitive nudges around how you really want to spend your time, I invite you to book a complimentary 15 minute Discovery Call with me so that I can guide you to reawaken your intuition and hear it more clearly in all your choices in life.
Sabrina Bolin is a Featured Speaker in the Heart Centered Business Bootcamp. Hear Sabrina’s interview, and 20 other experts, talk about how you can take YOUR business to the next level in 2014. CLICK HERE for more information.
Sabrina Bolin is an energy healer and intuitive coach, compassionately guiding her clients to learn to work with their fear and overwhelm, get their energy unstuck, and awaken their intuition so that they feel more guided and take more inspired action in their lives.
You can connect with her virtually at www.SabrinaBolin.com, or find her investing her time wisely at www.facebook.com/MyMiBoSo and www.twitter.com/MyMiBoSo.
Hi Sabrina and Karen! You know, I am trying to become aware of where and when my own time thieves strike, and I find that they’re mostly hiding behind the icons on my iPhone. If I recall correctly, you once mentioned an app that blocks other apps for a scheduled amount of time. What app was that again? Thanks for the brilliant post!
Hmm I don’t know if that was me, maybe Sabrina? I do think I’ve heard of apps like that. I am WITH you on that one, I have to really remind myself to disconnect!
Hello Erin! Thanks for the comment and sorry for the late reply! I actually haven’t come across anything for the phone yet, but StayFocused is a desktop app that achieves that on your computer. For a phone solution, I turn on the Do Not Disturb function and switch all notifications to the off position (except for voicemail, text, and calendar). Works most of the time, as I’m not opening social media at every notification but rather sticking to a time that I want to consciously connect.
Thank you for this opportunity to share my insights on time, Karen! When we approach it from a more empowered perspective, we can truly focus on how we want to invest it!
This is such a GREAT article Sabrina. It’s my honor to showcase your talents!
I loved this Sabrina! For a while I was doing this when I had my own office in our own home. Now that I’m living with my in-laws for a few more months, my schedule has been completely thrown off. I’m trying to get up earlier (because it’s silent and I’ll get more done that way) — and manage my time in an efficient way. It’s a struggle at the moment, but only a transition and I’m looking forward to being a better time manager. Thanks so much for this post. Insightful and beautiful as always. <3
Ah yes, it’s always easier in our own space, isn’t it? I’m currently traveling, and what works for me at home certainly changes when I’m on the road. I integrate what I can and release the rest!
I love how gracefully you’re finding what works for you in this transition, Jenny!
I love this. Time management and “shoulds” come up all the time in my business group and with my clients. Thanks so much.
Yes, the “time” story is one of our most limiting ones, isn’t it? The more I practice mindfulness, the more I make peace with the fact that what’s important is happening now….and what needs to “get done” will.
Thanks for reading the post and for your feedback, Cheryl!
thoughtful and helpful article, sabrina. i’m in that space right now of saying “well, i could figure this out” with a specific roadblock of mine. i’m trying to decide if doing it myself makes sense or if i should be delegating. your words are helping me work through it (thanks).
April, you’re absolutely welcome. Speaking for myself, an entrepreneur with “perfectionist” and “control” tendencies, handing things over is always easier said than done. But it’s almost always worth it!
Love this, Sabrina. Thank you, Karen for sharing this guest post. I don’t know if it’s TIMETRADE that does an analysis of your time and unlocks certain apps when you’ve “earned” the time to use them, but I have some clients who swear by it (I’m one part scared of using such an app and one part certain my existing old-school systems of time management are pretty dang good for me).
I’m a big fan of the whole, “Yes, I *could* do this, but think of what ONLY I can create in that same amount of time, if I would just pay someone else to do this?!?” convo. The first time I paid an assistant to do something in four hours that would’ve taken me 45 minutes, I winced, but realized that I created something in that 45 minutes that MORE THAN paid for her four hours, and the next time she did it, she was faster. 😉
Love THE BIG LEAP and love this post. <3 Here's to mindfulness in all things!
Love seeing you around “town,” Bon! And you make a great point – sometimes handing things over takes more time in the short term…but when it’s someone else’s time (and worth it to them!), it still makes sense so we can unleash that creative genius ;).
Time management is an ever evolving process for me. My greatest rabbit hole is Facebook. It’s also where I generate the most engagement with my business. You’re so right about following those intuitive nudges. My best strategy thus far is “chunking” my errands one day a week so that I have focused time on my business and working “in” my business rather than “on” it. Thank you both for a very thought provoking post.
Facebook is a tricky animal, isn’t it? It’s brilliant for connection when we use it correctly – that is, focused with intention. For me it’s all about scheduling it in – and sticking to it!
Love your “task chunking” idea, Sue Ann – will definitely play with this!
I’m reorganizing my time and focus for 2014 so I’m more efficient and more happy about it ‘all’ this year…. so I loved reading this post and remembering that it is MY time! Made me feel wonderfully human! Thank you!!!! a lovely gift inside all the shifting….
It IS your time, Elizabeth! We often let others dictate the way we spend it, so I LOVE how you’re reclaiming it!
I wish I could be one of those people who didn’t even look at emails before 11am. I think that would be the best way to be more productive….never slide down the slippery slope of handling other people’s issues, until I have given the best part of the morning toward chasing my own dreams….
You can, Tanya! If not 11 AM, perhaps just 10 solid minutes before anything else focused on YOU. YOUR dreams. Then dive in and get in your flow!