How an entrepreneur cut his hours from 100 to 35 per week

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Barnaby Lashbrooke, 40, started his first business at 17.

The Birmingham, England native started a website hosting company that quickly grew to thousands of users, and with them, his need to spend more hours. “Sometimes I would do 24, 36 hours straight,” he says. This was the case even after hiring a small team.

Lashbrooke sold this business in 2006 and immediately launched his next and current venture, time etcwho links independent virtual assistants with companies and individuals who need their services.

During the early years of running Time etc., Lashbrooke carried his old working habits with him. He worked 100 hours or more every week, working so much that he had difficulty getting up in the morning.

But the business was not growing, and several years into this lifestyle, Lashbrooke was exhausted. As his days went on, he began to question the mantra he had long heard that “if you work harder, it will happen,” he says. “I had to look at all of this and say, what if it was wrong?”

Lashbrooke decided to try an experiment. Instead of putting in more hours, he was going to drastically reduce his. Most of its employees, then about 15, worked about 37 hours a week. He decided to limit his hours to just 35 hours a week. As his mental and emotional health improved, his business revenue grew from $1 million a year in 2011 to over $12 million a year now.

Lashbrooke wrote a book about his success titled “The myth of hard workin 2019. Here’s how he managed to both cut his hours and grow his business significantly.

“I had to be very selective”

While contemplating a new professional life, Lashbrooke realized that having no limit on the number of hours worked meant “there was no rush”, he says. “I could do so much work that there was no need to be selective about what I did.”

But while he was limiting the number of hours a week he worked, “all of a sudden I had to be very selective about where I spent my time,” he says. Now he had to prioritize the tasks that really drove the business forward.

Change was a challenge, but one tactic he used to prioritize is called the Eisenhower Matrix, a four-quadrant chart in which each section represents a level of urgency. Completing it allowed Lashbrooke to see which activities on his to-do list were actually critical to solving business problems and which he could eliminate altogether.

“For me, that was the hardest thing to learn is that there were things that I got attached to” that weren’t necessarily critical, he says.

“I had to get used to scratching them.”

“I use Google Calendar as a to-do list”

Another tactic that helped was actively putting tasks into her calendar.

“I use Google Calendar as a to-do list,” he says, adding “it helps you get time on tasks, which I think is so important when trying to juggle a heavy workload.” . A calendar can help you visualize these boundaries in your day and compel you to fill it with only your most important projects.

Using a calendar “also allows you to schedule certain types of tasks for when you’re likely to be in the best frame of mind to work on them,” he says. Lashbrooke, for example, likes to schedule meetings in the morning because that’s when he’s most energetic and enjoys interacting with people, and leaves time for creative pursuits after-hours. midday.

Ultimately, “I think self-awareness is probably the hidden weapon in the whole productivity room,” he says. It’s about getting a sense of how you handle the types of tasks you have to do, when you’re best suited to do them, and how you can organize your day to do them. the most optimal way.

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