I know that “stewardship” and “being a good steward” has a Christian connotation. But that’s not the context in which I will be using it for the purposes of this blog post. Being a good steward to me means making responsible choices that benefit you and others. It means being able to see the bigger picture, and using your talents and your resources to build a better future for yourself, your family, and make a contribution to your community.
Being a Good Steward of Time
I consistently wish I had more hours in the day to do my work, but I’ve expanded them as much as I can by getting up early and starting work as soon as the morning routine is done.
You can only work for so many hours in the day before it becomes unhealthy and unfeasible. So, one way to make the most of your time is to spend it doing the tasks that are going to make the most impact or make the most progress towards what you’re working on at the moment.
Mike Vardy from Productivityist says that you can’t manage 5 minutes so well that it will turn into six minutes. The only way to do better with your time is to make better choices about what you spend it on.
So, to be a better steward of your time, I suggest the following. For each day, week and month, you should have tasks and projects planned out. These are things you’d like to complete or make a measured amount of progress on. Projects are usually multi-phase or require a number of steps. Choose to do the aspects of these projects that by doing them, will make the rest of the project easier or move a lot quicker.
You don’t want to spend time on things that can be done easily by someone else. You want to outsource the tasks that you don’t need to be directly involved with (I wrote about why I decided to outsource as well as about my outsourcing process in this blog post.). More on that in the “Human Resources” section below. Your time has a dollar value, and the more time you spend on admin that you don’t need to be doing, you’re losing time that you could have been spending on doing work that makes you money. It essentially becomes too expensive for you to do those things.
Example: It’s too expensive for me to clean my own house, so I have someone come in twice a week and help me with that so that I can focus on doing what I do best. I don’t feel guilty about it for a second, because I’ve created part-time income for someone else, I can relax knowing that the house is clean, and I’m still doing the work that’s on my plate.
Being a Good Steward of Money
Being able to separate your business and personal finances is a good step towards making good financial decisions for your business. Being a good steward with your business’ money means not making impulsive decisions about what you’re going to spend on based on short-term trends. Instead, ensure that you’re spending money on tools, systems, software, courses and experts that are going to help your business grow, as well as help you to be a better functioning boss while smashing goals.
As with time, you need to choose to spend money on the things that are going to have the greatest impact and the greatest benefit for the short- to medium-term. To be able to decide where to spend money, take a big-picture look at your business over the last year.
Ask yourself the following:
- Are there parts of your business that you’re handling manually and which would benefit from the implementation of a software system? If so, research the software and the costs involved to assess the viability of the decision.
- Are you currently spending money on software that you don’t use?
Are you going to use this software in the future or is it better to end the subscription?
- Are there expenses that you need to take on to help you accommodate the growth of your business? Are there expenses that you took on last year but that are now no longer necessary (because your business has grown, pivoted or adjusted course)?
- Are you resisting spending money on things that you think can help you? Would it be possible to try out one of these items for a few months to see if you really need it and if it would truly benefit you?
- Is spending money on this product/software/system/course going to save you time/money/stress in the future?
- Is the money that you’re planning to spend going to help you grow your business?
- Is the money that you’re spending going to help you become a better professional, help you improve your craft or help you to charge more for your services/products?
This will help you to be more mindful of how you spend your business’ money and to spend money with a clear purpose and goal.
Being a Good Steward of Human Resources
If you are your business’ only employee, you are your most valuable asset. If you’re sick and can’t work, your business suffers. I don’t need to tell you this – I’m sure you already know.
I suggest scheduling in self-care into your schedule monthly, weekly and daily. You don’t need to splash out and go to extravagant lengths to show yourself some love. You can schedule monthly appointments to have your nails done (I do this, it’s fantastic. It gets me out the house for a while and I feel spoiled as well.), weekly time out to journal and pursue your creative hobbies and daily yoga sessions at home. Big corporate companies have employee wellness programmes for a reason. Create your own employee wellness plan 😉
What I’m going to talk about next closely relates to the “Time” section above. As mentioned, don’t do everything yourself. This is an ineffective use of human resources. Find a virtual assistant or ask a friend for a few hours of their time. It is a far better use of human resources, time and money to get help instead of struggling to do everything yourself, not making any time for yourself and not having time off.
Another way that you could look at this is as follows: only choose to do work that falls in your zone of genius, that you want to do and that by doing it, you will be making a meaningful contribution to someone else’s life and/or business. I am aware that this isn’t always possible (sometimes you really really need money, or you’re just starting out and need any work that comes along). Having said that, to me the best use of human resources is to do work that you’re passionate about, that is meaningful and fulfilling, work which has a larger purpose or greater good, that is fun and that you enjoy (sometimes these don’t all appear in one project at the same time, but it’s good to have standards).
Melissa De Klerk
Writer, Web Designer, Digital Media Strategist, Typophile, Inspiration Junkie, Yogi
Melissa is the owner and creative brain behind Fox & Owl Media. She loves creating content strategies and has considerable experience with Website Design and Brand Management.
You can contact her here, and find her on social media by clicking the links below.