Are you a priority in your life? Do you set time aside for yourself to work on your goals and your dreams? I'm not just talking about the corporate goals for your annual performance reviews with your manager. Stay tuned as we talk about how to prioritize yourself in a busy non-stop world filled with distractions.
Welcome to episode #15. My name is Jeremy Epp, and I am here to help you set up, launch and grow a profitable business. Before we begin, do me a favor and go over to jeremyepp.com and subscribe to the show. That way you'll be informed on any new episodes or information that's coming out and you won't miss a beat.
You may have heard of the concept of pay yourself first, as it relates to money, which is the practice of paying a percentage of your income every time you get paid, first, before you pay other bills. The money is typically applied to some type of retirement account to ensure you've got a nest-egg at the end of your working career. Over time, with compounding interest, you're saving grows to a considerable amount. This is the opposite of paying your bills and obligations first and then saving money from what you have left over. Which you probably have noticed can fluctuate dramatically month to month, and you'll be fortunate if you can consistently put money aside for your retirement using this approach.
That's why financial advisors are always telling us to pay yourself first a percentage of your income before you pay other bills. Now, what if we took the same concept of pay yourself first, as it relates to money, but instead apply it to your time. Instead of paying a percentage of your income before we pay our obligations, we get out our calendars and block out a percentage of our time in the coming weeks to work on a business that will grow with time to provide an additional revenue stream for our future.
It's not uncommon, when looking at the steps required to start a business, to quickly become overwhelmed with the various requirements that will demand time to learn and develop the product, the service, the marketing, in addition to legal, accounting and all the other tools necessary to start and launch a business. Instead of slowly taking action, we tell ourselves, "We'll get to it someday," but that day never comes because we keep pushing it off into the future, always getting swallowed up by other career, other family and personal obligations.
This is where a schedule yourself comes into play. For example, you may have a desire to write a book, but you don't have the option of setting aside a full day to write for several weeks in a row. However, if you could write one hour a day, every day for several weeks, at the end of the month, you'd have a chapter completed and at the end of the year you'd have a book written.
When I had a vision for this podcast, it was my desire to produce two to three episodes per week to share my message and help others. But, my schedule wouldn't allow for the time to produce that level of volume in the beginning. So, instead of producing two to three episodes, I committed to producing one show a week, every week, knowing that at the end of the year I would have completed 25 shows, because I started in the middle of the year. But, 25 shows produced was 25 shows more than I had at that moment. If I take this 25 and do this for another year, I'll be up to 77 shows and over a hundred episodes in just two years time.
As I learn how to better balance my time, I'm implementing the practice of batching my activities, where I'll record multiple episodes in a day or over a given weekend. But, the reality is that there are still times when even getting one episode out a week is still a challenge. However, I want to hit my goal of 25 episodes by the end of the year. So, I continue to grind it out even when it's those tough weeks. I don't want to look back at the end of the year and think, "Man, if I had just been consistent and started in June, I would have had 25 episodes already completed." So, this is where scheduling yourself first comes into play.
If I were to give you 5, 10 or even 20 hours a week to work on your business, how would you spend your time? Would you begin to write that book, develop and test a product, build and launch a marketing campaign? Perhaps, you might even reach out to prospects and talk about hire your company to help them. Would you build an infrastructure that would allow you to automate various requirements, allowing you to spend your time on high dollar producing activities?
If you were to set aside one hour a day to work on your business, Monday through Friday, over the course of a year, you would have invested 260 hours in your business, which equates to about six and a half weeks worth of work at 40 hours a week. If you doubled it to two hours a day, Monday through Friday, you'd have 520 hours or 13 weeks worth of work, which equates to three months. If you add in four hours every weekend, so a total of 12.5% of your waking hours, after we had equate for eight hours worth of sleeping, you'd have 18 weeks worth of work done at the end of the year or four and a half months worth of 40 hours a week worth of work into your business.
The point I'm trying to make here is it's not all or nothing. You can start small and make major changes, if you are consistent at it and you schedule yourself first, the time will add up and there will be value. So stop saying, "I'll get to it one day," and one day never occurs. You've got to be diligent. Start where you're at today. Figure out how to carve out some time and stick to that. If you are able to commit to setting aside time to work on your business, you are going to face pressure to do the work later, so that you can participate in some other activity. Don't expect others to value your commitment to set time aside for your priorities.
An example of others not sharing the value of my priority comes when I was working in real estate. Frankly, I was on call seven days a week, always waiting for the phone to ring, asking for assistance or some kind of question that would always keep me on edge. Frankly, I was feeling pretty burnt out. I like to have downtime where I have no expectations, I'm not waiting for the phone to ring and I can just purely relax and invest myself in whatever is non-work related.
I made an interesting decision that I was going to set aside a Sunday as my family day. I say interesting because in real estate, as you can imagine, the weekends are pretty busy. But, I had built up my business to such, where I could afford to take a weekend off and focus that on a family day. However, when I would tell clients that I'm unavailable on Sundays because it's a family day, they would typically give me a nod and say, "Okay, sounds good." However, it wasn't very long before I would get a phone call saying, "Hey, we just came across a home. We'd like to take a look at it. I know it's your family day, but it should only take about 20 minutes."
Well, consistently a 20 minutes showing would turn into an interest and we would end up writing an offer on the home and it would end up costing three to five hours worth of work. I'm not begrudging writing an offer, after all, that's how I got paid as a realtor. However, it did take away the value of what I was trying to accomplish with setting aside a family day in the first place. So instead, what I found is that I would tell people that, "I'm sorry I cannot meet on Sunday. My calendar is full with other appointments." Their response would be, "Oh, okay, that's fine. Are you available Monday?" And that worked out fantastic for me.
Going to the corporate world, I found a similar response when I would go take a day off from work. My co-workers and other managers would still think I was accessible even though I wasn't at the office. "Yeah, he's not here, but give him a call, give him an email. He could jump into that meeting." The key here was to let people know that I wasn't accessible as I had other appointments throughout the day. What I wouldn't tell them is that the appointment was with myself to work on my business. There is a perceived difference in saying, "Hey, I'm taking tomorrow off," versus saying, "Hey, I won't be in tomorrow as I have several appointments." "Oh, okay. Sounds good. I'll see you the following day."
Let me switch gears here. I want to touch briefly on the benefits of scheduling yourself first. Now the first benefit is ending the guilt that you currently have of not taking action. You need to silence those voices in your head telling you that you should be doing something to better your future. I know you know what I'm talking about, because I felt it, personally, myself for many, many years, telling me, "Get off your butt. Go do this. Stop just thinking about it. Start taking action."
Number two builds off of number one of scheduling yourself first, as it helps to end in decisiveness. By taking action you will gain clarity. As you start to take steps to build your business, you'll gain direction based upon getting clearer with your thoughts and through market feedback of what your business should be. You don't have to have 100% right before you begin. In fact, I would encourage you, if you have some semblance of an idea of your business, get started on it and clarity will come. But, you must schedule the time to allow yourself to work on it.
The third benefit is you need to learn how to prioritize your work. As you are setting aside your time to work on your business, you really need to get smart about where the bang for your buck will be. To pull from the Pareto principle, "You need to focus on the 20% of the effort that will produce 80% of your results." Which leads right into benefit number four, which is by doing this, you're going to just achieve your goals faster. If you can write one hour a day, over the course of a year, you're going to have your first book. Amazing. Think about that. How many people desire to write a book in their lifetime, but never do? And you could be one of those with only a year. You could write your first book.
Another benefit is that you're going to gain confidence in your skills and your abilities, and you're going to take back control. Instead of working to be validated by your corporate job and your corporate efforts, you'll create an environment for self-validation. Stop looking to others outside of yourself to validate what you're doing in a corporate world, but, instead, look to yourself to gain that self-validation through your own efforts and the work that you're doing.
Finally, one of the other benefits for scheduling yourself first is you're going to be more energetic, as you create a better future for yourself and build up positive momentum. It's just going to be exciting. You're going to see the progress, you're going to build off of that energy, you're going to gain clarity, and as you move forward, your future becomes brighter than it ever has before.
In episode #13, I talk about scheduling your time when you're at your peak production time zone. If you can match up the time you set aside for your work on a daily basis with your peak performance, my goodness, you're going to be able to multiply your results and be that much further ahead.
If you want to learn more about how to launch your own business and work toward leaving the corporate environment, go to my website at jeremyepp.com, and subscribe to the show. Also, for a limited time, and I mentioned this in my last episode, I'm offering a free business coaching session to a select number of people. If you are interested in getting advice and having somebody look over your shoulder, go to jeremyepp.com/coaching and fill out that questionnaire for consideration. We'll be pouring through the information and selecting a handful of people for a coaching session in which we can help provide some clarity and some guidance.
I appreciate you tuning in. Thank you for your support and I look forward to speaking with you in the next episode.
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