Are you struggling with finding the time and efficiency to balance your day job with your dream chasing? With the first of a five-part series, BlackEnterprise.com offers tangible tips on how entrepreneurs are balancing their 9-5 (day gig) with their 6-10 (additional pursuits). The hope is for you to find the necessary tools and strategies to master your own balancing act as you aspire for all-around success.
We kick things off with the Black Enterprise’s own Alfred Edmond:
9-5: senior vice president and executive editor-at-large, Black Enterprise
6-10: co-creator of Grown Zone (GrownZone.com), co-founder (with wife Zara Green) of A2Z Personal Growth Enterprises Inc, and host of Money Matters, a nationally syndicated daily radio feature of American Urban Radio Networks.
Edmond’s Balancing Act:
- Be ruthless with your schedule. On my days in the office at Black Enterprise, I focus on my work for Black Enterprise. On the days when I am pursuing other business interests and deadlines, including for GrownZone.com with my wife and business partner Zara Green, I focus on that. You can please more than one master, but you can’t please them all at the same time. Make them wait their turn.
- Learn to love saying ‘No.’ In order to say yes to what you are working on at any given moment, you have to say no to everything else, at least in that moment. Most of the time, no really means “not right now” (or as Elocen Group CEO Necole Parker says, “Next Opportunity”). It’s okay for people to be temporarily frustrated, as long as you will ultimately satisfy their needs and keep your promises. Be comfortable with people waiting for satisfaction.
- Don’t over-promise. It’s a lot easier to adhere to tip No.2 if you don’t create unrealistic deadlines and expectations in the first place. Even if you think you can get it done tomorrow, if they really don’t absolutely need it until next week, set the deadline for next week. Best case: you thrill them by getting it done earlier; worst case: you get it done on time.
- Do not allow the urgent to distract you from the important. Decide what you HAVE to get done on a given day (if it’s more than three things, you are not prioritizing); everything else is a bonus. You can usually tell something is urgent because it serves the agendas of others. Don’t adopt other people’s emergencies as your own. Choose your problems; don’t let them choose you.
- Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. Place higher priority on tasks that only you can do, over those you happen to enjoy the most, or that others can do (even if not as well as you can).
- Don’t respond to every invitation. This is about avoiding distractions. Just because the phone is ringing doesn’t mean you have to answer (that’s what voicemail and texts are for). Don’t respond to every text unless the need for an answer is truly immediate. Schedule a time to respond to e-mails, instead of responding to them throughout the day. And don’t seem too available by dropping what you are doing whenever you are asked; allow people to value your time and become accustomed to requesting appointments; not just making demands on the fly.
- Don’t confuse having exactly what you want with “having it all.” Time is a finite resource. Know exactly how you want to spend it, and don’t obsess or feel bad about what you aren’t doing. This means knowing the difference between must-have (for me, at least six one-hour gym training sessions a week) and nice to have (I have never seen an episode of Empire and won’t commit to seeing every episode of any TV show).
- Given the choice between disappointing others and disappointing yourself; disappoint others. The best way to do this is to say “No” to requests on the front end, instead of “I’m sorry I didn’t do it right/on time/at all” on the back end. Compulsive people-pleasing is a dangerous thing; it will drive you to make promises that you can’t keep and overcommit by volunteering to do things no one asked you to do, which will ultimately destroy your reputation and the relationships you value and need to succeed. Better to grant 5 requests and honor them all, than to grant 10 requests and honor only 5. It’s the same amount of work and time, but 100% follow-through will always trump 50%.
Aspiring entrepreneurs will learn more about the art of work/work balance and how to maximize your business ventures at the 2016 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit, May 4-7, at the Loews Hotel Miami, Miami, Florida. Register now.
Be sure to follow Black Enterprise on social media @BlackEnterprise for Entrepreneur Summit news, highlights, and updates. Use hashtag #BESummit to stay in the loop. Please be on the lookout at BlackEnterprise.com as speakers, activities, and sessions are announced.