Back in 2012, I taught a totally free class called The Secrets to Working Less Without Making Less.
Although some of the specific wording I use today to talk about these ideas has shifted, the core concepts are still applicable to anyone wanting to build a thriving business without working to the bone. Heck, it even works great if you’re an employee who wants to work less!
You can find the full, free, recording of the 2012 audio training here.
To accompany it, below you’ll find a summary of insights shared on the call.
I cover the seven secrets to working less without making less, plus actionable tips to help you implement changes in your business and life starting today.
Secret #1: Clarity (about your values)
Before you can work less, you have to get clear on your values so you know where to focus your efforts and changes in your business and life.
Look at your business with the spotlight of clarity. Why are you in business? Why are you in THIS business? What’s your long-term vision for your business? Why do you do what you do?
In your life, what do you value? What’s important to you? Is your business enabling you to live out those values, or not? See where there are disconnects and if you can reconcile them.
Take a look at everything you do in your business. Do you know WHY you’re doing it? Is it enabling short and long-term vision and goals for your business? Notice any disconnects and reconcile them.
Secret #2: Schedule
Scheduling your time allows you to prioritize what you value in your business and life and make sure you have time to spend on what matters most to you.
Decide what type of schedule would work best for you. For example, do you need to create windows of time for batch-writing blog posts or running errands, or set aside certain days of the week for client work and others for product creation? How do you need to change your schedule so that you can get more done in less time?
Setup your schedule and experiment with it for 2 -4 weeks. See what works for you and what doesn’t, and modify accordingly. Be flexible. Create a schedule that works for you and aligns with your values.
Secret #3: Focus
Once you are clear on your values and have a schedule that supports those values, you need to employ FOCUS at each point during that schedule. Notice where and when you get distracted and eliminate those distractions wherever possible. The more you can focus on what needs to get done at that moment, the more productive you’ll be.
Notice where, when and why you lose focus. What can you do to eliminate those distractions and get back your focus?
Secret #4: Systems
Systems are simply processes that you do repeatedly, that work well. By not reinventing the wheel every single time you do a task, you save time and energy. They’re essential if you want to work less without making less.
List the things in your business that are done on a regular basis (i.e. blog posts, newsletter, client scheduling, invoicing, social media scheduling). Then implement a system for each one.
Need help with systems in general? Check out The System Flight Kit, one of my original opt-in offers!
Here are some specific systems that I already mapped out for you.
- System for getting killer testimonials
- System for booking new clients
- System for social media posting
- System for getting it all done (and having a life)
- System for a work-free vacation checklist
Secret #5: Delegation
When you create systems in your business, you are more easily able to delegate to others, like your VA. Delegating gets you out of the details and helps you learn to be a better communicator.
Get a good VA and start delegating. Then, find three more areas in your business where you can delegate work, and delegate it!
Check out the following on the basics of delegating:
- How to know when it’s time to hire an assistant
- How to train your assistant in 5 minutes
- How to get your assistant to run your business for you
If you implement just the first five secrets, it will literally be saving you hours of time each week. Saying no will also help. When you know your values and what’s important to you, it will become easier to know whether you should say yes or no to something.
What are you currently doing or have you agreed to do that you don’t really want to? How can you get out of it? If you struggle with saying no, get help drafting a kind and loving email that helps you exit gracefully.
Notice what people tend to ask you for that doesn’t align with your values but you have a hard time saying NO to. Put whatever measures in place (i.e. a pre-drafted email) that will help you say no the next time it happens.
Secret #7: Dealing with Mental Garbage
I use the term “mental garbage” to encompass all of the negative thoughts, ideas, thought patterns, habits, and unproductive emotions that stop us from achieving our dreams. These can include things like “I’m not good enough”, “I suck at this”, and “Who will pay me for this?” They’re huge time-wasters!
To work less and not make less, you must be mindful of your mental garbage. Throughout the day, as you’re working (or even not working), make note of your mental landscape. What’s serving you and what’s not? Adjust accordingly. Get help if you need to.
Here are some articles and videos that might help:
- Is Your M.O. Holding You Back? Working With Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies Framework to Grow Your Business
- Are You Using “the Introvert Excuse”? (Facebook Video)
- Easily Discouraged When You Don’t See Immediate Results? (Facebook video)
- Rough Day? How to Take Back Control When You’re Feeling Distracted, Stuck, and Overwhelmed in Your Business
- Steal This! My Step-by-Step Approach to Pushing Past Your Own Limits and Discovering What You’re Capable of