Have you been wondering how many hours should you put into your business?

Does working endless hours make you a hero or a failure?

If there is one thing I learned from being an entrepreneur since 2003, it is about the time it takes to succeed in business. Recently I was on a vacation in Hungary and I have noticed that businesses operate shorter hours than what I am used to here in the USA.

It got me thinking. What if you had fewer hours each day to run, grow, and manage your business?

What would you change? Would it make you a better entrepreneur or would it put you out of business?

Many of us think of our time as an inexpensive asset. If you can’t get it done in 8-hours you can take 10-hours if you need to, right? But, what if you would think of time the same way we think of money. 

You set a daily, weekly, and monthly budget and you can’t exceed it.

If you had to set a weekly time limit, how many hours would you say is the least number of hours you need to succeed in business?

Limit your hours

Be strict with the number of hours you allow yourself to work on your business.

Make an honest assessment of the total number of hours you spend working on your business and reduce the number of hours by 10 percent. Demanding 10 percent greater time efficiency of yourself is realistic. No one can honestly say that they can’t be 10 percent more efficient. It should be a doable goal for anyone.

Another, an even more radical approach is to immediately reduce your hours to 40-hours per week. Even if you now work 60-hours.

Improve your efficiency

One of the quickest ways to improve your work efficiency is to spend more of your work hours during your most productive hours.

What makes the most productive time of the day is unique for everyone. You know yourself and you understand what time of the day you are most productive. If you are a morning person, spend most of your active work hours in the morning. If you are a night owl, schedule your life to allow you to work mostly during the night hours.

Work smart instead of hard

Here is what I mean by that. Consider the activities that give you the greatest returns. Start your day with the activities that have the greatest positive effect on your business.

Understand the difference between being busy and being productive.

Spend your time on activities that move your business forward. Avoid busy work or work that could be easily outsourced. If you find yourself doing tasks that could be outsourced to inexpensive virtual assistants, you are wasting valuable time.

Prioritize

Identify the 2-3 key tasks you must perform each day. Don’t do anything else until you have completed the highest priority tasks. A great way to do this is by preparing your list the day before, so you start your day knowing exactly what must be done.

Use the 80/20 rule

Spend 80 percent of your time on the 10-20 percent of the tasks that really make a difference in your business. List all of your business activities and rank them in order of importance. For example, spend 80 percent of your service hours on clients who pay 80 percent of your revenues.

Constantly ask yourself. Am I doing a task now that is part of the 80 percent that matters little or the 20 percent that makes all the difference in my business?

Create systems

Your first step toward reducing the number of hours you work in your business is through creating systems. Systems will save you time and it will save time for your team members.

Start with the task that you perform the most frequently. Break each task into the smallest of components. Then, create step-by-step instructions. If people can follow your instructions, to perform tasks with minimal training, you have succeeded.

Delegate

Entrepreneurs who succeed are master delegators. This is where creating systems pay dividends. Systems enable you to hire or outsource, to take the load off of you.

Do, delegate, or cut

In order to reduce the time you put into your business, identify the tasks you must do, what tasks to delegate, and what tasks to eliminate altogether.

 

photo credit: IBM introduces Spectrum Computing

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George Meszaros is the editor and co-founder of Success Harbor where entrepreneurs learn about building successful companies. Success Harbor is dedicated to document the entrepreneurial journey through interviews, original research, and unique content. George Meszaros is also co-founder of Webene, a web design and digital marketing agency.