Perhaps you’d like to work from the beach, the mountains, an RV, or from just about anywhere. But first, let me back up a little bit. I started my business so I could retire when I was 50 (key word was, because I’m considerably north of that now). However, I believe our businesses are meant to fuel the lives of our dream, and for me, that does not include retiring any time soon. Why would I? I absolutely love what I do and I believe we are making a difference for so many small businesses.
Instead of retiring, I’m opting in to a “working from anywhere semi-retirement/semi-not-retirement”. I have strategically built an organization that runs without me. For me, that meant I had to build a team that I could confidently delegate to and I had to embrace technology without letting it consume my every waking moment. The latter is a balancing act I’m still working on. Here’s what I recommend:
- You simply MUST delegate. Yes, I said MUST. Start by doing some time tracking to build data around where your time is actually going. Once you’ve built this data, you can make strategic decisions on what to delegate. You can start small, but start you must! Your goal: stay focused on that which drives your business forward.
- Build “team”. Whether they’re your employees, subcontractors or vendors, spend time making sure everyone is moving in the same direction. Hold regular team meetings (we love zoom.us for video and/or phone attendance) to create space for collaboration, cross-training and team building. Most importantly, keep them focused on your organization’s WHY. Remember, people do business with you / work for you because of why you do what you do, not so much what you do. Check out Simon Sinek’s TED talk on how great leaders inspire action.
- Find the tech tools that work for you and your team. The list is endless but our core tools include Office365, Asana, TSheets, Zoho, HootSuite, Constant Contact ARS system and several WordPress plug ins. Take it a step further and make sure they are integrated to eliminate redundant entries. Once you find a suite that works, stick with it by re-evaluating new options on an annual or semi-annual basis (avoid the shiny object).
- Turn alerts and technology OFF. Yup, I said OFF. Create some boundaries people. You are serving no-one by being on 24/7, you are simply training your team & clients to do the same. Check email once or twice a day, period. Use email rules to manage email and better yet, work to delegate your email management.
- Schedule everything. This works much better for me than a task list. By scheduling everything (appointments, travel, prep time, project work) on my calendar, I create a visual that allows me to more easily see when I am over-committing. Here’s the most important thing to schedule: DOWN time. I call it “white space” on my calendar. This is my most proactive way of anticipating the unplanned things that simply happen every day. It is also how I create creative space and MAKE time to stay strategic. Most importantly, it’s how I make sure to take breaks. Sounds counterproductive, but taking breaks is absolutely my #1 productivity tool!