It’s no secret that running a business requires focus, intention and commitment. But there’s a misconception that it also requires a ton of time, which is why so many small business owners work more hours than they’d like.
In fact, most business owners I know would like to work less. They want to end the hustle and ditch the persistent feeling of overwhelm. They want to experience time freedom and create more space to enjoy their life. But they’re afraid that if they work less, they’ll lose momentum in their business. They’re afraid that they’ll sacrifice their reputation, not to mention success, income and growth.
This is why so many business owners stay in a perpetually busy state. It’s why they end up working more hours in their business than they would in a full-time job. It’s why they feel like their business runs their life.
I’m here to tell you that it’s entirely possible to work less and still get great results in your business. It’s possible to run a full-time business while only working part-time hours. It’s possible to prioritize your health, hobbies, self-care and relationships and simultaneously grow your business to the next level.
I know it’s possible because I live it. I run a thriving service-based business in just 25 hours each week. And let me just say that I didn’t get here because of some stroke of luck or a bunch of time-saving hacks or an industry secret.
I got here because I learned the best practices to help me manage my time, get through my to-do list and grow my business with ease and intention. Today, I’m sharing these practices with you so you can discover ways to work less without sacrificing growth.
1. I don’t do all the things.
There, I said it. I’m not on every marketing platform. I don’t do livestreams every day. I turn down publicity opportunities when they aren’t a hell yes. Saying no to things that aren’t a great fit for my business allows me to focus my energy on the things that will really help it grow. It ensures that I’m not working all the time trying to do all the things. It also means that I don’t need to work a bunch of extra hours to meet obligations for things I never should have agreed to do in the first place.
Your takeaway: We all do things in our business that don’t really serve us. Whether it’s spending time on a marketing platform that doesn’t yield results or saying yes to publicity opportunities that aren’t aligned, I encourage you to identify one thing you can stop doing in your business right now.
2. I delegate often.
I ran my first business for 8 years as a one-woman show. (Rest assured, I worked far more in that business than I do now.) When I launched my coaching practice and decided I only wanted to work part-time hours, I knew I had to get comfortable delegating. Today, I pass things off to my team each week, which allows me to spend my time supporting my clients, developing content and tackling big-picture projects. What I don’t have to do is work overtime to manage daily to-dos and administrative tasks because my team handles those things for me.
Your takeaway: You don’t have to delegate every task on your plate to benefit from this practice. In fact, if you can delegate just one thing in your business you’ll free up time and brainspace that you can dedicate to more important things. So ask yourself, what is one thing you could delegate right now? Then start taking the steps to make that happen.
3. I rely on systems.
I’ve always been a fan of systems because I’m the kind of woman who loves checklists and planners. But what really got me excited about implementing systems in my business was seeing how much time they’d save me each week. Now that I have systems in place in all areas of my business, I know they help me execute tasks more efficiently and effectively. That translates to fewer hours at my desk and more time enjoying my hobbies and family.
Your takeaway: You may not recognize it but you probably already have a few systems in your business. You just haven’t documented them yet. So think about a task you repeat often in your business (such as onboarding a client or requesting testimonials). Then document the steps involved and put them into a checklist. This simple system will create more ease for you, and prevent things from slipping through the cracks.
4. I designed my schedule to suit my life.
I’ve never subscribed to the idea that you should work tons of hours, then try and squeeze your life into the fringes of your schedule. That’s why I design my schedule to suit a 25-hour work week, and why I’m so intentional about the things I plug into it too. I’ve found that the constraints of a part-time schedule actually make me more productive and efficient in my business. Even better? They create the kind of focus that helps me grow.
Your takeaway: If you want your schedule to work for you, you have to design it with intention. To help you create a simplified schedule that will allow you to work less and live more, you can download my free Simplified Schedule Workbook here. Inside, you’ll see how I’ve designed my schedule around my biggest priorities in business and life, and get access to calendar templates that you can use to do the same.