Kenny Chapman: Structuring your business to increase personal freedom
Creating work life balance sometimes takes extra planning and strategizing.
Do you value freedom? Do you like to have options and choices regarding how you spend your time? Do you want the freedom to be able to pretty much do what you want, when you want and with whomever you want? If you’re reading this, there’s a high likelihood that you and I not only have these desires, but so do most of the thought leaders creating massive value in the marketplace.
Personally, my number one desire is freedom. What I uncovered after much trial and error was that the solutions for creating personal freedom were in the way I structured my companies.
If you want more freedom, increase the structure in your business (and life, for that matter). It sounds completely counterintuitive, doesn’t it? “Wait a minute Kenny, I became the ‘boss’ in order to have complete freedom over my calendar and schedule. I don’t do anything I don’t want to do.” If you are feeling this, like I used to, allow me to challenge this mindset.
I have owned and operated nine businesses in five different industries in my 25 years as an entrepreneur. Everything from 900 numbers back in the day (not the unsavory kind) to a cloth diaper delivery service company (no, that’s not a misprint). Every move I made was in the interest of freedom, getting to the next level, learning and becoming more than I was in the past.
Build an Effective Structure
None of this has changed as I’ve aged (and hopefully become wiser), but I have had great mentors and coaches over the years to help me see what true freedom is and how to get more of it. If I want to be a top creator and producer in the world, I will definitely have certain things that need to be done at specific times.
When I’m booked for a keynote speech, as a guest on a podcast or have a client session, I have specific calendar-based time responsibility for these actions to keep fulfilling my personal purpose (why I was put on this planet in the first place).What if the increased structure you create in your life, calendar and daily schedule is actually a recipe for setting you free at a whole new level? I’m not saying it’s easy; I’m saying it’s necessary. I’m the biggest advocate in our en-tire industry for creating work/life balance; sometimes it just takes a little extra planning and strategizing to achieve it. What I have found is when you create structure, you create freedom. Here are three ways to help build an effective structure in your personal and professional life:
- Block your time and plan ahead. This is one of the most crucial and efficient things you can do to improve your freedom. Block hours, block days, heck, block weeks if that’s your desire in your current circumstance.
Allow the structure to create your calendar and time around your best self. Like to journal in the morning? Block the time and it becomes a priority that will get done. Like to go to the gym? Block the time and it becomes a priority understood by your team, and it will get done. Need more thinking time? Block the time and get clarity of implementing plans rather than ideas. This activity alone can (and will) change your level of daily effectiveness.
- Create strategic systems in your business. Systematization helps immensely when attempting to build a greater amount of structure (and ultimately freedom). The majority of our clients would agree that the systems we’ve helped them implement have saved them more time and built the foundation for personal and professional freedom than anything else they’ve done.
In fact, when I personally took a six-month motorhome trip across the U.S., the systems I had in place at my company held my team members accountable to results and were a major contributing factor in my ability to have the freedom to be away for that long in the first place. Of course, I was monitoring reporting and having virtual meetings while I was gone, but I wouldn’t have been able to take that life-changing trip if the right strategic systems weren’t in place.
Think about the things you’d like to do but haven’t felt like you’re able to do them because you “can’t” be away from the business. Whether it’s a week away with your family or just a mental vacation, systems will help you create the freedom to actually do those things in the near future, not just some undetermined date in the distant future.
- Examine your habits. In our conference room at The Blue Collar Success Group headquarters in Phoenix, we have a famous quote on the wall that states: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Simply put, your habits either move you in the direction you want to go or they don’t. As you move through your days in the next week, really pay attention to how you are spending your time. Keep an informal log of what you do with your time each day for a week and you will see patterns start to emerge.
Are they productive patterns, or are you running around putting out fires and dealing with things that don’t have systems in place to deal with them? Are you eating healthy and staying active so you have the energy to do things you really want in your free time, or do your habits involve skipping meals, drinking soda and sitting for long periods?
Review your average week and look for areas of improvement. Then here’s the real key: make one positive change, no matter how small. Challenge the things you do on a daily basis, especially the activities you do because “you’ve always dome them that way.” If your habits aren’t excellent, create new ones.
As strange as it sounds, structure actually helps create the freedom we all desire. As you personally strive for that elusive, all-encompassing balance in your life and career, focus on blocking and planning your time, developing efficient systems and examining your habits. You might be surprised by how a few small structural changes can make a big difference in the amount of freedom you have.