Stop Focusing on Time Management; Focus on Creating Value Instead

“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” -William Penn.

Time is elusive, it’s mysterious, and it’s the one thing small business owners never seem to have enough of.  That is why you’ll find a lot of verbiage on time management.  But perhaps instead of focusing on time, how much you have of it, how much you worked in the last hour, it would be best to focus on value and quality of work.

The Time Trap

The hard truth is: you can’t manage time.  Time just marches on and can’t be manipulated by human. Yet, I bet many of us try to do precisely that.

Then a strange thing happens.  We attach our success to the time it took to accomplish a certain task.  It’s either that doing it quickly is a victory or that the length of time it took gives it valor.  Or, we cut corners in order to get things done quickly, valuing the fact that we’ve stopped working and now have “free” time.  The question, though, is how great was what you created?

Tasks that Go Nowhere

One of the reasons we never seem to have enough time is often that we’re trying to do too much.  Often, people value work for the sake of work and try to cram too much into a particular day.  When someone wants us to do something, or when a piece of work is related to a larger task, it can often seem, intuitively necessary.  Only too rarely do we evaluate tasks to see how necessary they are.  We may fear that doing so comes from laziness or a lack of the proper work ethic.

Stop trying to race the clock! Instead, take a moment to a whittle down your to-do list to those essential tasks that bring real value to your business. Everything else can either be given to another person or left out entirely.

The Case of the Chronic Clock Watcher

Everyone looks at a clock now and then, but if you’re a chronic clock watcher, there’s probably something that lies at the root of your compulsion. The fact is you probably do not enjoy what you’re doing. Passion makes time completely melt away. When I’m working on my business and then suddenly look up and realize three hours have passed, I know I’m doing something I love.

It’s pretty normal to go through periods where it feels like your passion went on vacation (and didn’t look back). In that case, you just need to find ways to rekindle the spark. But when those downs are frequent and prolonged, that typically means the issues are deeper, and you’ll need to stop and re-evaluate the direction your life is going in to see where you can make changes.

When Value Becomes the Focus

When you give time less prominence and instead focus on those tasks that will bring the most value to your business, your whole perspective will change. Instead of trying to be the next superman or superwoman who can scale enormous to-do lists in a single bound, you’ll focus where focus is most needed. And you what to know something: not only will the quality of your work improve, but you’ll be so much happier, too. Let your shorter list of accomplished tasks be the measure of success, not how much time you’ve spent on it.

In closing, it’s important to remember that the greatest measure of success should be the actual tasks you’ve accomplished and not the time it takes to get there. This will lead to a richer work experience where time becomes irrelevant. You’ll begin having fun and the hours will fly by.


  1. Quinn says

    Hi Susan,
    Great point – I love this subject!
    I work towards outsourcing those things that still need to be done but where I add little value or simply don’t like doing.
    By doing this I am able to work on things of bigger value because the business is now scalable too.

  2. Hugh says

    Great points here – thank you for sharing. Time management has become such a big topic, but, you’re right, it seems like people are focusing on the wrong things

  3. says

    Hey Susan, you’re right on the point. We can always show to be “busy” and yet go by doing nothing. Time is precious and in my opinion I cannot afford to waste that. Either I should be working on what will build my business or I should be relaxing or having fun.

    I should not “seem” to be working yet do nothing towards my growth. Brilliant post.

  4. says

    Hello Quinn,

    I think when creating value becomes the focus, then our perspective changes. Things like outsourcing are not just about saving time, it’s about creating a setup where you can bring the most value to your business in order to maximize your return.

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