Back when I worked in post-secondary, I had a saying:
My time is my currency.
Few things frustrated me more than having to put in time at a desk, especially when it was busy work or pushing papers around.
Even 5 minutes of low-value work is too much for me.
But I have no problem with doing the high-value work that matters.
Now as you may know, we run an accelerator mentorship of sorts—a 6-month, 1:1 mentorship where we help them structure the inside of their business for sustainable scale.
And in this accelerator, one of the big things we focus on is getting everyone focused on being the CEO of their business.
Which means, they need to be doing their highest value work.
So we get them to track how much time they’re spending on various things, and then together we look at how we can increase the high-value work and decrease the low-value work.
But this begs the question, what constitutes highest value work?
What should you, as the CEO of your business, be doing every day, anyway?
Well, it ties into what we’ve been talking about over these past few weeks, in terms of all the jobs you could be doing in your business and what the return on investment is for them all.
So what I’d like to do is give you a run-down; five of the highest-value activities you should probably be spending more time doing in your business:
1. Creative Problem Solving
The first thing you probably should be spending more time on in your business is creative problem-solving.
See, as the CEO of your business, it’s really easy to get stuck solving all the problems.
But the truth is, most of the problems your business is dealing with right now aren’t high-value. In fact, most of the challenges you’re facing have already been solved … by someone, even if not by you.
Solving the big problems, though? The ones that you can’t just Google the answer to, or just hire an expert to figure out for you?
Those are worth sinking your teeth into.
Apply your brain, your smarts and your creativity to solving those problems, rather than getting sucked into the day-to-day decisions, and you’ll notice your business growth increase dramatically.
2. Setting Mission, Vision & Culture
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times:
If you want people other than you (ie. your team) to care about helping you grow your business, it helps a lot if they have a reason to do so beyond just making you more money.
That’s why setting mission, vision and culture is the second high-value thing to spend more time on. Because when you take your passion for the business, and multiply it by all the people you’ve got on your team … #magic happens.
It’s so critical, in fact, that it’s one of the very first things we tackle in our intensives. For some people, it’s about creating jobs for other moms. For others, it’s about connecting people to something greater than themselves.
What is it for your business?
By the way, if you’d like a hand answering that question, send me an email. We can jam on it; I’d love to help you get a bit of clarity.
So that’s the first two things; #1 is applying your creativity to solving the big problems, and #2 is setting the mission, vision and establishing culture for your company.
3. Exploring New Ideas
Next up is new ideas.
Now, I’m sure you have no shortage of new ideas … but how much time do you give yourself each week to explore those ideas?
I mean, we’ve got a few clients who aren’t the typical visionary types. They are more interested in implementing ideas than coming up with new ones all on their own.
But most of our clients are the types who will have 20 ideas a week … or maybe a day … but probably only one of them will be a truly great idea.
How can you tell the ideas that will be great from the ones that will be duds? The only way is to have the free, unfettered ability to research and develop those ideas: to see which will sink, and which will swim.
That’s why spending more time exploring new ideas is the third high-value thing you may want to consider spending more time doing.
4. Relationships & Partnerships
You’ve heard the saying “a rising tide lifts all boats”, right?
It can be so easy to lock yourself in a room and never talk to anyone, especially if you’re an introvert like I am. Though I’m told that extroverts in the online business world find this a challenge, too!
When it comes to being able to work through new ideas, though, it’s so much easier to do when you have other smart people around you to play off of.
In fact, pretty much my favorite thing to do is to sit down and just have a virtual coffee date with a friend or colleague.
Sometimes, we have a purpose to our conversation—like mapping out a new partnership idea, or getting feedback on a specific idea one of us is testing out. Other times, it’s just a chance to sit and have a really good, smart conversation with someone else who “gets it.”
Either way, I always leave these conversations feeling excited about what I’m creating in the world, and full of new ideas to make it happen in an even better way.
It’s something that most entrepreneurs simply do not do enough of.
5. Uncontaminated Time
And finally, the fifth thing that you really could be spending more time on …
At one of our first ever intensives, one of the participants coined it “uncontaminated time”—as in, time you spend not thinking about or working on your business.
Dan Sullivan, founder of Strategic Coach, calls them free days: periods of 24 consecutive hours where you completely disconnect from anything and everything having to do with the business.
I’ll be honest: this is a hard one.
Most of our clients say that it takes them 2-3 days of vacation before they can actually get to a point of disconnecting enough to experience truly uncontaminated time.
But the rewards are huge. Never mind the benefits of just taking a break every once in a while, but it’s also a really great way to kickstart your creativity.
So get out into the world. Get away from work. Spend some more time not working, thinking about work, checking email, or reading business books.
Whether it’s a week vacation every month, or a long weekend every week, I can pretty much guarantee that everyone reading this would find more uncontaminated time to be one of, if not the highest-value thing you can do for yourself and your business.
Now over to you …
The question I have for you is now is: how much time do you spend kinds of on these high-value activities in your business?
Like I said, it’s a question we have our clients tracking and reporting on all the time. Both because it gets them spending more time in their Zone of Genius, but also because it actually contributes way more to the overall growth and health of their business than all the other low-value tasks they’d otherwise get sucked into doing.
We ask them to benchmark it, and then we look at how to change things in their business so they can spend more time on those things and less on all the other busywork.
So here’s some homework for you: do your own benchmarking. Ballpark how much time you currently spend on each of those 5 high-value things in a week. How much time you spend:
- Doing creative problem solving of the big problems
- Setting mission, vision and culture
- Exploring new ideas
- Building relationships and partnerships
- In uncontaminated (ie. non-business) time
And if you’d like, you can pop on over to Facebook and let us know what your total was. Whatever your current numbers are, there’s no judgment: just let us know, and if you do, we’ll give you a bit of help to figure out how you can make those numbers grow.