Your 3 Time Buckets as a Business Owner
As an entrepreneur, you have three buckets of time to consider when you begin planning for any given week.
And while the amount of your precious time you chose to put into each bucket may fluctuate, the three buckets themselves won’t.
The three time buckets you have are:
- The time you spend not working.
- The time you spend working on your business.
- The time you spend working in your business.
Time Bucket 1: Time you’re not working.
If you’re a business owner, it’s likely that you love your business and you’re passionate about dedicating your time to it.
Personally, if I had 14 hours a day to devote to my business, I’d do it happily because I genuinely enjoy what I do!
However, working that many hours a day isn’t good for me or my life overall. It doesn't make me a well-rounded individual. And it most likely doesn't make me someone very delightful to spend time with. Also, I have other things that I love such as my family, friends, activities for myself, etc.
One way to manage this time bucket is choosing to set specific office hours, but this can be challenging for entrepreneurs like myself whose calendar isn’t always the same.
What you can do, even with a changing schedule, is set clear boundaries for yourself for non-working hours.
This includes not checking your email or quickly doing some engagement on social media. If it’s your time to be off work, respect that boundary for yourself. Your friends and family will greatly appreciate it (and you).
The great news is that you set these boundaries to work for your life! For example, I know I like to work a small amount either Saturday or Sunday morning, so I do that, but then I make sure to take the rest of the weekend off for personal and family time.
You can choose when to put time into this bucket, but also be sure to honor that time.
Time Bucket 2: Time you’re working ON your business.
The time you spend working on your business is the strategic level activities you do as an entrepreneur.
This includes brainstorming and creating new things.
Time spent working on your business is focused on the activities that keep you learning and will actually help you expand and grow.
Time Bucket 3: Time you’re working IN your business.
Time working in your business includes all of the tactical, day-to-day activities.
This is where you’re in the weeds of business ownership — answering emails, posting to and engaging on social media, content creation, dealing with tech issues, creating nurture sequences, etc.
This is the place where, if you're not careful, you can quickly spend a whole lot of time because, honestly, there are a lot of things that have to happen on a regular basis just to keep the doors open in a business.
However, at a certain point, in order to continue growing your business, you have to make sure that time spent in your business doesn’t take over all of the time you need to spend working on your business, too.
And as entrepreneurs, particularly if you're new in your business, it's really tricky, because often you don't have anybody to delegate or assign tasks to.
If this is you, I simply want to encourage you to start recognizing how much time you're spending working in your business versus on your business.
You’ll always be doing some of both, but it’s finding that healthy balance that will really help you keep from becoming stagnant or burnt out.
Here’s a quick tip to try this week: As you go through the next few days, track how much time you’re putting into each bucket. This doesn’t need to be anything formal. Simply note your time in a journal or in the notes app on your phone — whatever is easiest!
I personally do this at least once a quarter, and each time I have my clients do this, there’s always a light bulb moment about where they’re getting stuck and what they need to shift in order to grow. I know it will help you, too!