Time Traps!

If you have a dream and don’t have a team, your dream will die. But with a team, your dream will fly!
~Todd Duncan

Whether you’re a “solo-preneur”, someone who has an established team behind you, or a control freak, we want you to know that you don’t have to travel your entrepreneurial journey alone! There are gifted people all around you to help you and free you up to do your best work. Today we’re going to explore some options for finding these people and empowering them to help you build your business.

© Brian Jackson – Fotolia.com

Contrary to a belief held by many entrepreneurs, you can ask for and receive help along your journey to success.  Many of us started our businesses as “solo-preneurs”… i.e., we wore every hat in the company. From sales and marketing, chief cook and bottle washer, banker, accountant, custodian, receiving clerk, sidewalk sweeper, truck unloader, HR department head, and much more, it had to be done, so we did it! As a recovering “Multiple-Hat Wearer”, I can tell you that it is not easy to ask for help, train others to do what comes so naturally to you, and turn over responsibility to others…but I am learning to do so!

Time Traps
I’ve been reading the book “Time Traps” by Todd Duncan, and will probably do a full blown book review on this one when I get it finished, but for now let me share a few highlights.  This was originally published 10 years ago in 20o4, with an update in 2006, so it is a bit dated when it comes to talking about technology, however, the theme throughout the book is absolutely timeless! The way we choose to spend our time can either control us, or we can control it.

Todd says, “Many of us have given up trying to control our schedules and have accepted an existence in which chaos and catch-up are the status quo. One clever woman summed up her surrender this way:

The clock is my dictator, I shall not rest. It makes me lie down only when exhausted. It leads me to deep depression, it hounds my soul. It leads me in circles of frenzy for activity’s sake. even though I run frantically from task to task, I will never get it all done, for my “ideal” is with me. Deadlines and my need for approval, they drive me. They demand performance from me, beyond the limits of my schedule. They anoint my head with migraines, my in-basket over-flows. Surely fatigue and time pressure shall follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the bonds of frustration forever.Marcia K. Hornok, Psalm 23, Antithesis

He continues, “We laugh because we can relate all too well. But who wants to live in the “bonds of frustration forever”?

Maximizing Time Feels Good
Maximizing time feels good, no matter how it is enjoyed. Wasting time feels bad, no matter how it is wasted. We need to find a way to work in a way that is ultra productive while we are working, so that we can enjoy time away from our business and invest in our family, personal growth and stay both mentally and physically healthy.

As the owner or manager of your company, or of a team within your company, it is vitally important for you to prioritize where your time is spent.  Even though you may not formally wear the title of CEO, and don’t dress in an Armani Suit on a daily basis, your responsibility is to run your company just as a Chief Executive Officer would. Your job is to forecast sales, work on the infrastructure of your business, be the “Rainmaker” and create ways to bring in revenue to your company, and to create the culture of your workplace.

As entrepreneurs who have worn all of the hats in our company, we can easily get sucked back into tasks that are not the best use of our time: making copies, sweeping the sidewalk, getting the mail, going to the bank, etc. Not that these are not important jobs that need to be done, it is just that if you are not spending your hours on your top priorities, you will be putting in an extraordinary amount of hours and most of that time is spent just spinning your wheels instead of concentrating your efforts on bringing in business.

Control Freak
“I was trying to expand a sales-based business with two hands and one mind- it wasn’t enough. I was guilty of buying into some common misconceptions that essentially caged in my potential:

  • If I want it done right, I have to do it myself.
  • No one will work harder for me than I will.
  • I cannot expect another person to take responsibility for my career.
  • I am the only one I can truly trust with my livelihood.

Aren’t we expected to pull up our bootstraps, take control of our futures, and make our job “our baby”? Yes, we are-but we can take it too far. When we do, we end up trapped by the very things we are trying to control.” ~Todd Duncan

I don’t know about you, but I can completely relate to each of the four bullet points above. It may come in baby steps, but we can learn to give over control to many of our day-to-day responsibilities so that we can spend our most valuable resource, our time, on things that will bring the most back to our company.

3 Keys to Collaboration

  1. Utilize the skills of people already on your staff. You probably have some very gifted people who are already on your payroll, but you may not be using their “hidden” skills in the most productive way possible. Just in the past few weeks, one of our part time staff members has become my “right hand” when it comes to Facebook Posts. This is something that I had done alone for many years, and only occasionally had asked our staff members for ideas and help.  She really stepped up to the plate and has gathered photos, and written copy for upcoming posts. This has been tremendously helpful to me and freed me up to do other things.
  2. Ask for advice from members of your Mastermind Group.  In just this past week, the following subjects have been discussed within our group: Asking for ideas for renaming an existing store, searching out sold-out products for customers, advice for hiring staff members, sharing photographs with other members of the group for upcoming publications, sharing resources for marketing materials, etc. We have a fabulous and very diverse group of entrepreneurs in our group.  Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you! If you haven’t started a Mastermind Group yet, today is the day to do this! Call one person that you respect and that is in the same field that you are in (and I would recommend not in your geographical area), and start your group. The other members will come over time. I consider this to be one of the best investments of time you can spend in your business.
  3. Hire an assistant. Even if you can only afford to bring someone in for 10-15 hours a week, bring in someone who is organized, and will help you to remain focused on what you need to do to build your business. Find someone who is fired up by organization, and is highly productive. They will help to keep you on your toes! Maybe you could bring in someone just to coordinate your paperwork, pay bills and reconcile your bank statements. This could probably be done in just a few hours a week, but it would relieve you from that pressure so you can do other things.

I know this may feel like putting a Band-Aid on a gaping wound, but we must all start the healing process somewhere.  When spending time with other retailers and entrepreneurs, one of the most descriptive words I hear over and over is “overwhelmed”.  Let’s begin to take steps to get our time traps under control, and learn to prioritize our most important tasks.

I vowed to make some changes to the way I worked and the way I used my time. I wanted to INVEST my time, not merely spend it. And I wanted those investments to give me more free time off the job to do whatever I wanted to do, even if it was only an hour more a day.Todd Duncan


Before I go, here is the Link to purchase “Time Traps” by Todd Duncan. I think you’ll enjoy it as much as I have!

As always, we love to hear how your journey on the Road to Remarkable is going, so please leave a comment below or send me an email with your thoughts and ideas.

Thank you for helping us build the “Remarkable Retailer” TRIBE…please share this website with other business professionals in your circle!
Welcome to the conversation!

Vicki Adrian

PS…I would love to be on your business’ email list! Please add me:  vicki@remarkableretailer.com

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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