I’ve noticed a rather disturbing trend lately among both our clients and other business owners as well – the belief that they are too busy to take any time to learn new things.
There are so many things wrong with that belief, I have a hard time deciding exactly where to start, so I’ll start with a lesson from Stephen R. Covey regarding the Time Target. In his lessons on Self-Management and how we should be prioritizing our activities based on Importance and Urgency, he recommends spending 20% of your time on activities that are Important, but not Urgent. Activities that fall into this category are things like Planning, Education & Training, People Development, etc… Activities that are critical to the future of your company but might not result in more widgets getting shipped tomorrow.
Go for 20%
So if we follow the 20% recommendation, and assume your work 40 hours/week (we wish, right?), that’s 32 hours per month (4 days) where you should be focused on improving yourself first, then others.
Top business coach and best-selling author Brad Sugars puts it even more directly – if you want to Earn More, you first need to Learn More. When we set goals to achieve more next year than we did this year, that often means we will have to do something differently, which means we will need to go learn more.
If you stop growing, so will your business
The thing to remember is that your business will only be as Big or Good as you are. If you stop growing, so will your business. This becomes even more important as we enter a time of economic uncertainty, as the business owners who are on the top of their game will perform much better than those who just kept slogging away, hoping to survive.
Here are some things you could do with just one of those four days each month:
- Spend a ½ day learning new life and business concepts.
- Spend a ½ day with other business owners dealing with the same challenges you are.
- Pick one thing you learned and spend some time planning to actually implement it. Why bother learning if you don’t plan to apply the learning?
Learning creates Leverage
When you allocate the time for learning, the 8 hours you spend working ON yourself and your business will turn into a multiplier of your effectiveness, or Leverage, for the other days of the month. Remember, Stephen R. Covey also taught us to be continually “sharpening the saw”, as the sharper saw cuts through the log much more quickly than the dull blade.
The question isn’t whether you can afford to take the time, it’s can you afford not to? If you are ready for a structured approach to your learning that leverages your time by combining education with peer support, then check out our new ActionMEMBERSHIP program, which you can attend for FREE here.
Author: Mark McNulty, Business Coach in Louisville, KY.