If you own or manage a business, you wear an important title; you’re the boss. But for many business owners, that title doesn’t mean much because they’re constantly working below their pay grade.

What I mean by that is they are doing tasks that could easily by done by someone whose time is, frankly, worth much less. This phenomenon isn’t exclusive to any one industry. It’s a universal problem all businesses wrestle with.

Time, money and people

These are the main resources in your business, right? So which of the three do you have the most control over? I’d say it’s your time. Even though you can’t change or stop time (how you wish), you have 100 percent control of how you spend it. There will never be enough hours in the day, but there are plenty of options for what you do with yours.

Know your worth

How much would you say an hour of your time is worth? $200, $300, $500? A business owner’s time is highly valuable – I’d say closer to $500. But business owners tend to be control freaks (in the best sense), so it’s natural for them to take hold of a problem and convince themselves no one else is capable of solving it.

The thing is, most of the time, someone else really can do it – for much less than what your time is worth.

One of our Board Members at TAB told me this story after we had discussed this topic a couple meetings ago:

He and his business partner agreed to assign a value, $450 an hour, to their time and work to ensure their time was being spent on the right activities. So a few weeks ago he noticed she was leaving the office with keys in her hand, and asked her where she was going. She said she’s going to pick up their important client at the airport. Our TAB member replied, “how long will you be?” She said it would take about three hours to get to LAX and back. He mentioned that would cost the company $1350. He suggested they arrange for a car to pick up their client at a cost of $150. She did, and folklore has it that she landed a large contract while they were waiting for the client to arrive.

So where do you start?

If you’re ready to start working at – not below – your pay grade, I recommend three steps to give yourself the necessary tools to effectively manage your time.

Step 1 is to build a list of what I call Platinum Activities.

These are the tasks that bring the greatest value to your business: creating a Strategic Plan, establishing culture, building strategic partnerships, communicating effectively with your employees and speaking with your customers.

Think about your day. What are your Platinum Activities?

Step 2 is to create your TO DON’T LIST.

If you take one thing out of this article, pull out a sheet of paper and label it “TO DON’T LIST.” Keep it in your top drawer and every time you find yourself doing something that could be done by someone else, write it down. We do this in our Board meetings all the time and our members are shocked at how many tasks they’ve been able to delegate to others.

Step 3 is to designate a time of day as your PRIME TIME.

How many of you are morning people? Your prime time should be first thing. Do not read email, take calls, etc, and commit to only working on Platinum Activities during your Prime Time. Even if you have to pick one day a week, designate some good hours to spend working on the most important activities

I get it. You’re a business owner, and sometimes you have to go in and do a task just to show how it’s done or because you’re in a pinch. But doing it regularly is a waste of your time and your strategically invested money. And this isn’t just about you; as you delegate tasks, you build a staff that are able to handle situation and make important decisions without your handholding. Everyone wins.

If you want to learn more, contact me at penn@pennultimateconsulting.com