Some Thoughts on Managing Time and Money – Miriam Gunn
Whether you are an entreprneur or you work for someone else, if you wish to reach your next level, you have to learn to manage both your time and our money with a new level of proficiency beyond your current one. Setting yourself up for greater success by disciplining your choices, staying focused, and being proactive in terms of your actions regarding both time and money will pay your future self more dividends than you might imagine.
The Undisciplined Use of Time
It is not uncommon for entrepreneurs to struggle with time management. We have a tendency to cram too many things in too little time, often believing that things with “magically” turn out in our favor.
Magical thinking is what is know as a classic “thinking error.”
Thinking Errors – also referred to as Cognitive Distortions – are irrational and extreme ways of thinking that are not grounded in reality.
Magical thinking occurs when a person believes that specific words, thoughts, emotions, or rituals can influence the external world.
For example, if you use magical thinking, you might think, “If I hope hard enough, I can make all five errends fit into ten minutes.” Or “I’ll have enough money to pay off that credit card by the time it comes.” Or “The customers will come if I wait long enough.”
It is not uncommon for each of us to utilize some form of magical thinking in our every day lives, but I encourage you to stand back and check your thought process, to make sure that you aren’t creating real damage to your forward movement with sloppy thinking about your use of time.
Rather than try to cram that last chore in before the meeting, I try to get into the car a minute early and pause—Did I forget anything?
I also try arrive to the engagement a minute or two early. This allows me to ground myself, rather than run in breathless and look and feel scattered.
There is always another layer to optimizing yourself and your use of time. That is what makes being a human being so incredible—we can always improve ourselves!
So maybe you aren’t a magical thinker, but there’s always another space of growth to be had. Until you take your last breath, there’s always something you can get better at or improve upon.
Maybe you take Sundays to look at your week and plan it out beforehand.
Perhaps you conduct a time audit and really look at where you are spending your time. You might be surprised.
Over the years, I have utilized many different time management systems. Presently, I color code my activities in my analog planner.
Pink for administrative. Yellow for product creation. Green for activities that make me money. Purple for seed activities that may make me revenue in the future. Blue for networking and friendships.
By doing this, I can tell at a glance how I am spending my days. It helps me keep my finger on the pulse of my business and life.
One of the things that can eat up my time is ever-present distractions. It is SO easy to get distracted.
Sometimes I need to coach myself and tell myself that you can do it—I can stay focused. I can finish the task. Let me challenge you:
Push yourself a little bit.
Stay focused and take a break 10 minutes after you accomplish the next little thing.
Research is mixed about when you should take breaks, but you need to find what works for you.
What works well with your brain? Find out when your brain wants to take a break and make that work for you.
If you can stay in a flow for three hours without taking a break, do it. If you are someone that needs a break every 50 minutes? Be kind and give those breaks to yourself.
We are in the habit of taking direction from everyone outside of ourselves, but you know yourself best and know what you need.
The Undisciplined Use of Money
Talk About Money
Prior to coaching high performers, I used to do marriage counseling. One thing that I noticed (and is also supported in the literature) is that the two topics people fight about the most are money and sex.
This topic of financial resources and how they are allocated is stressful enough in a normal, two income family, however, if you are in business, the stress can get to a whole other level.
If you get yourself into a space where you don’t have enough money to cover your expenses, the stress becomes visceral because your team members, employees, and other people’s lives are involved.
I have seen things become dark and bleak for entrepreneurs in this situation. Sometimes taking your own life begins to seem like a viable option.
I’m here to say that nothing is worth that!
All these problems can be worked out no matter how many zeros are involved. Get some help. Go to a therapist. Find a coach. Find a friend. Don’t let something that is temporal (the situation) become permenent by taking such drastic action.
Understanding Your Financial Bottom Line
Let me encourage you to get in the habit of really understanding your finances and where your money is going.
There are so many people who are unaware of the actual status of their finances. They spend if they feel like it. If they have money in the bank, everything is good. But this isn’t necessarily the case.
I have observed that there are two different personality types in terms of how people think about money allocation: Lumpers and Splitters.
The Lumpers look at the bank account and if there is X amount of money in it, they are reassured and they spend.
The Splitters approach this differently. They split their resources into several different bank accounts and only if those accounts have money, do they spend.
I am a Splitter. I have bank accounts for everything. Health expenses. Vacations. Taxes. Auto Repair. Animal Emergency Funds. You get the idea.
There is no right or wrong here. However, either way, it is important to have a budget, personally and also as a business.
Here is a question:
What is your perfect scenario regarding money? Everyone has that internal ideal and it is different for everyone. It is extremely useful to know what your ideal is, because then you make decisions based on this principle.
For me, the ideal scenario is that I never have to make a decision based on whether or not I have enough money in the bank. I want to make decisions from a standpoint of —is this the right decision? Therefore, I need to have enough money to allow for my ideal.
What is your ideal scenario regarding finances?
Setting Yourself Up to be Proactive
You want to be proactive with both your time and money.
I have found that it is easier to become and remain “not stressed” than it is to talk yourself off the ledge, whatever it may be that created the ledge.
It is curious how willing people are to be in the dark regarding their life. They don’t know what is going on with their money and they don’t actually audit their time.
I have observed that as entrepreneurs get to a certain level, they start spinning off satalite businesses here and there and they begin to lose sight of who and what is supposed to be happening in each.
I knew one guy who lost over $13K, because he never invoiced his customers. His email inbox was overflowing.
You can’t run so fast trying to fulfill the business that you are not working on the business. (Which is a topic for another article).
Pay attention. What products are making you money? What products are costing you money?
Open your statements, create a plan, and take action.
Don’t put your head in the sand.
(This blog post was excerpted from a podcast interview that I did with Kelly Smith on The Podcast Launchpad. Click here to listen to the full interview.)
If you are curious to know more about how I can help you achieve your business or life goals, please contact me: Miriam@leavebetter.com
As someone who has been a therapist for over a decade and has been coaching people for over three decades, I am uniquely qualified to join you on your quest for seeking the best version of you possible.