As long as I have owned my business, I have struggled against continuous outside distractions. There is a never-ending supply of non-work activities available to fill every waking hour. Self-motivation is difficult enough when internal distractions pull me away from my work but when distractions come from outside sources I often fight a difficult struggle to stay focused.
Flexible Time vs. Free Time
One of the reasons I started a lawn care business was to have free time and flexible time. Free time and flexible time are great benefits. However, without a time clock or boss marking my work hours, non-productive activities creep into my day to consume my valuable work time.
You may relate to a few of the distractions listed below.
1) Your time is not respected by family and friends.
Physical labor of a lawn care business is only a small portion of your work life. Especially during the early days of starting your business and building your customer list you may spend more than half your time developing advertising strategies, handing out lawn care flyers, calling contacts, and giving estimates. Once your lawn care business has customers you will still spend many hours with office work, maintenance, customer relations, and research & development of the services you offer. These ‘non-work’ hours are as important as the hours you spend performing physical labor of your business. Friends and relatives may not understand the importance of these hours and may lure you to “take the afternoon off” since you don’t have lawns to do at that particular time. It is very enticing to take the afternoon off when friends call you on their way to the lake.
Resist the temptation of neglecting non-mowing duties just to spend a fun afternoon with family and friends. Let them know how important your work is and ask them to respect the fact you are trying to build your business.
2) Need a friend? Buy a truck.
People with trucks always have plenty of friends. Lawn care business owners are lucky that we get to purchase nice trucks and big equipment trailers. Once you have hauling capacity you will notice a steady stream of people needing couches moved or loads of lumber delivered from the hardware store. They appreciate your help but they fail to realize the amount of time consumed.
By all means help friends and relatives when they truly need assistance but offer your help sparingly to prevent your flexible schedule being taken advantage of.
3) Facebook, Twitter, Texting, CNN, CNBC, Talk Radio, The Latest Movie, Sleeping-In, Staying Out Late, Long Lunches, etc, etc.
Distractions come in all forms. There are an infinite number of distractions which can completely consume your day. Force those distractions to respect your time by setting goals, developing a work schedule, and forcing yourself to respect your own time and the demands of your growing business.
Defend Your Hours
I am not ungrateful for my friends and family members (and for Facebook and Talk Radio). I relish my ability to spend free time with them. I also know they are not purposely consuming the time I should be spending on my business.
It is up to me (and you) to steadfastly defend the work hours needed to reach our goals of building a successful business.
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