As a business owner, you’ve probably been told that you “wear a lot of hats.” As the owner of an outdoor lighting company, I never really thought about what it meant until the other day when I was heading from a design consultation to a job site. Once I arrived on site, I wanted to change out of my nice dress shoes so they wouldn’t get ruined by the mud. As I reached into the backseat to grab a pair of work boots, I realized they weren’t the only pair of shoes I had on hand. All in all, I had five pairs of shoes in my truck: a pair of dirty New Balance shoes, a pair of nice running shoes, two pairs of work boots, and my dress shoes.
By the end of the day, I had changed my shoes two more times as I went from a design consultation to a job site to the gym to home. It was then I realized I’m not a man of many hats— I’m a man of many shoes.
I—like you—am pulled in so many different directions. In the space of a few hours, I can go from looking professional while meeting with a customer to being knee-deep in mud while installing a lighting system, to running around a field while playing “fat guy” softball. Then, to wrap up the day, I make time for a night out with my wife or a playdate with my kids. As business owners, spouses, parents, and more, we need to be experts at managing our time and expectations. It’s easy to run through the day at 180mph, impulsively reacting to every problem that arises. However, this leads to sky-high stress levels, disorganization, and missing out on the most important aspects of our lives. There is still much I have to learn, but these are six lessons I’ve picked up while running an outdoor lighting company that have helped me to better manage my time and responsibilities:
PLAN YOUR WEEKS ON SUNDAY AND REVIEW EVERY MORNING
Take 30 minutes each Sunday night to create a plan for the upcoming week. Then take 10 minutes each morning to review your plan. This will help you to stay on top of your schedule and avoid missing important meetings, events, and deadlines.
HAVE A SYSTEM TO ORGANIZE ALL YOUR TASKS
Clear out the clutter in your mind by writing down your to-do list. Find a reliable place to keep your list like a task manager app, a notebook, or a dry erase board. This will help you organize your thoughts and your tasks.
IF SOMETHING TAKES LESS THAN 5 MINUTES TO COMPLETE, DO IT NOW
Now that you have a to-do list, it’s time to get things done. Unfinished tasks are burdensome. Even if your to-do list is a mile long, focus on knocking out the small items before they become overwhelming.
MAKE TIME FOR THINGS THAT GROW YOUR OUTDOOR LIGHTING COMPANY Schedule time to plan your marketing campaigns, your trade alliances, and your business growth. Difficult customers, tight deadlines, and daily stressors will always demand your time and attention, so it’s important to set aside time to assess your business and make plans for future growth.
INVEST IN WHAT’S IMPORTANT
When the pressure is on, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” This simply means that when we’re flying through life at a breakneck speed, we tend to only take care of the most pressing issues that arise. This leads us to neglect other important areas in our lives. So schedule time for your family and friends—even when life gets busy. Time flies by quickly, so it’s important to make time to spend with your loved ones.
REMEMBER TO REST
Everyone needs a day to rest and recharge each week, and you’ll perform so much better when you take care of yourself. If you’re anything like me, this may be the hardest advice to take. It’s so easy to neglect rest, but it’s integral to become a well-rounded person. It’s difficult to balance being a business owner of an outdoor lighting company, a husband, and a father. We all have many shoes to fill as business owners, and not a lot of time. However, if we take steps to manage our time better, maybe we can have enough time to throw a pair of golf shoes into the back seat.