Time. One of the few things no amount of money can buy. And something that can’t be regained once passed.
We all have time, we just differ in how we spend it.
Richard Branson, Margaret Thatcher, Elon Musk, Karren Brady and Thomas Edison…what do these people have in common?
They famously sleep/slept for just four hours each night. That may sound extreme to most of us, but it clearly works/worked for them on their paths to success and achievement.
Not everyone wants to be the next Richard Branson in business, however. Some do, and they strive with every hour they have to make more money, open up more opportunities and move further towards their current goal. Others aim to simply afford their bills, maybe a little more for a few luxuries, and the freedom to spend time with family and friends, i.e. to achieve a good work/life balance.
Many of us, inadvertently, rediscovered a slower pace of life recently. Lockdowns prevented many business owners from trading or restricted their activity to purely online. Our routines changed and time spent commuting was returned to us.
Now that things have opened up again, in-person meetings have been held by many businesspeople. Commuting is back in play, now that employers and employees have returned to the office. Our time is being squeezed once again, and it may not be long before we’re burning the candle at both ends as we chase our tails to get everything done.
Do you really want to go back to all that?
If you enjoyed the relaxed pace of lockdown and put your energy into other areas of your life (perhaps you took up a fitness regime, started a new hobby or got stuck into self-development), it’s unlikely that you would want that to change, just because the country has come out of hibernation.
If this is the case, you have a choice. You don’t have to give up the joys you discovered outside of your business, just because life may now become busier. Understanding what your time is truly worth is eye opening, and remembering that its finite and non-returnable can help you determine how you should spend it.
Would you rather spend an hour scheduling your social media content or pottering about in your garden whilst the weather is nice? Would you rather organise your office/digital files/business receipts or play a game of tennis with your friends? Would you rather set up the automation of your customer enquiries or work on your five-year plan?
We all know that a virtual assistant takes on the tasks you don’t want to do. What a VA does on a more holistic level is give you back your precious time and afford you choices when it comes to how your days unfold. The choice of whether you do the school run (in a relaxed manner, where you’re in the moment—rather than in a manic I-have-to-get-home-straightaway-to-work way). The choice of enjoying the sun whilst it’s out (as you can never rely on it in good old Blighty!). The choice of whether to take the day off to spend with a friend…just because you want to and you can.
It’s a common bugbear for the self-employed, that you almost have to ‘earn’ your time off. If you were working in a huge conglomerate, other members of your team take up the slack when you’re on holiday and everything ticks along unaffectedly. As an employee, you can look forward to your time off, knowing that you can switch off mentally and not even think about work whilst you’re away.
For the self-employed, however, it’s not that easy. There’s no holiday pay when you’re a business owner. You may find yourself putting in double the hours before you go, just to get ahead and maintain your income, so that you can have a week or two off. And even though you may put your ‘out of office’ on, there’ll always be that one client who doesn’t see this or respect it, and who will still try and contact you on holiday.
Now, imagine that same holiday, knowing your trusty VA is running everything. Not just acting as your PA, fielding calls and watching the work pile up for when you return, but actually doing the work for you. How lovely would that be to come home to after a lovely break away?
Always remember that you run your business…it shouldn’t run you. It’s okay to be selfish, it’s okay to outsource work (its quality won’t suffer just because someone else is doing it), and it’s okay to have some downtime whenever you wish.