Ever Feel Stuck in the Rat Race?


Ever feel like your business is running you instead of you running your business?  Most of us got into business for ourselves so we could be our own boss, make our own rules, live life on our own terms. Then we found out that owning a business could be just as much, or more, of a rat race than working a nine to five.

Until we get the right people on the bus and workable systems and processes in place, there is a lot to do. In addition to there being a lot to do, all the responsibility rests with the owner which can cause a lot of stress.

We’re pulled in many directions and wear many hats at the same time. Said hats include, but are not limited to, scheduling appointments, sales and marketing, customer service, product/service research and development, strategic planning, etc. Oh and we have to eat and sleep too. Most days.

Then as we grow and take on an employee or a few which adds training and management to the list too. Obviously this brings up a whole new set of challenges to work through heaping more things to do and responsibility on the business owner.

Most people have heard of the 80/20 rule. If you haven’t, here’s a refresher: basically it means that 20% of our actions produce 80% of our results. This can be framed in several different ways. We’re going to take a look at one of them here in this article.

There is a habit that plagues most small business owners today. They tend to spend significantly more time working in their business versus on their business. That means they spend way more time doing the day-to-day tasks associated with running their business than thinking strategically and planning for the future.

There are many reasons for this such as the need for control, perfectionism, and lack of leadership. None of these are permanent problems, but it is up to the business owner to do something about it. Following are three simple things you can start practicing immediately without spending a dime.

1. Spend 20% of Your Time Working ON the Business

Yup. Just do the math. If you work forty hours a week, spend eight of those hours thinking and planning strategically about the future of your business. This one simple practice will break the pattern of being stuck in the weeds with your hands busy.

Trust me when I tell you that I realize this is simple in word and not so easy in deed. And if you don’t do it, nothing is going to change. You can expect the same results that you’ve gotten on average or an incremental change in results over a long period of time.

Let that sink in. Let yourself feel what it feels like to realize that to expect  different results from doing the same thing over and over is insane. Think about the pain you feel sometimes when you realize you’re in the rat race with everyone else. And then think about it being that way forever. For the rest of your life.

If you choose to do this one thing, spend 20% of your working hours developing ideas and plans for the future, about making your business better, you will literally change your life forever

2. Pick One Task to Delegate to Someone Else

When you do, you will begin honing the habit of becoming a leader. You can only take it so far all by yourself. Even if you haven’t please and they are doing parts of your business for you, I guarantee there is at least one thing that you’re holding onto that you don’t need to.

By doing this you’re holding yourself and your whole company back. You are literally stifling your dream.

Give the responsibility to someone else. Practice training and developing that person into being even better than you when you did it. That’s leadership and I promise you’ll be happier for it. This is when true freedom is made possible through your business.

3. Take a 3 Minute Vacation

I definitely stole this one, but there’s nothing new under the sun, right? I believe it was Tim Ferris who said this, but please don’t quote me on that because I don’t recall for sure. And with that being said I’m sure he wasn’t the first one who said it either. Maybe a Buddhist monk from back in the day or something.

Whenever you’re feeling stressed out, or whatever you call it, take three minutes and remember a really fun experience or think about the next vacation you’re going on or what it would be like to do the thing you think would be the most fun in the world.

Sounds silly I know. Try it. What do you have to lose? After all it’s three minutes. And you can count this as part of the 20% of your time working on the business instead of in the business. We all need time to recharge our batteries, and if we don’t, we’ll wind up grinding ourselves to nub.

These are just three ideas of many that can break up your pattern of being stuck in the rat race. Have fun implementing them. Consider asking some other business owners you know about how they spend time working on their business. And please feel free to drop me a line and ask me any question anytime.