How to give yourself more breathing room

ideal work weekSince 2007 I have coached hundreds of flooring dealers from every conceivable market in the US and Canada. A common theme I see often is this: dealers feel overworked and feel their company has too much control, like it belongs to them instead of them owning it. I have helped owners reduce their working hours from over 60 hours a week to 30 hours while maintaining strong business growth to achieve their ideal work week. Let’s take a look at some of the effective tools I use to make this happen.

Weekly to-do diary

Carry a notebook with you for a week and write down what you have done every hour. Mark similar types of tasks at the end of the week. This gives you visual feedback on how much time you spend on something. Then add up the hours you spent on each task. Working on the sales floor can take up to 25 hours, emails can take six hours, etc.

Your ideal week

Next, create a seven-day calendar. You should have seven columns, one for each day. In these columns you will build your ideal week – by that I mean the kind of week you would like to have if your business was running efficiently and you had good staff and lots of money. Don’t worry if those things aren’t present right now. The ideal week gives you a goal to work towards. Your Monday column could look like this:

  • 06:00 – 08:00 – I get up, exercise for 30 minutes, have breakfast and spend time with my partner and children.
  • 8am – 12pm – Working at my flooring company.
  • 12:00 – 1:00 PM – Lunch with a referral partner.
  • 1pm – 4pm – Working at my flooring company.
  • 4:00pm – 5:30pm – Pick up my kids from school. Coach my daughter’s soccer team.
  • 5-7pm – Dinner, time with family.
  • 7pm – 10pm – Relax.
  • 10 p.m. – Bedtime.

Do this for every day of the week, including your days off.

Put everything together

In this scenario, your ideal week would include working seven hours a day, five days a week, for a total of 35 hours. Suppose you currently work 55 hours. Then you must reduce your weekly workload by 20 hours. Go back to your weekly to-do diary and identify one or two tasks that take up 20 hours per week. For example, you work 25 hours a week on the sales floor. By hiring another salesperson, you can free up those 25 hours. You’ve reached your goal of reducing your workload by 20 hours, with five hours left. Remember that nature hates a vacuum. Once you’ve cleared those 20 hours, it’s critical that you be deliberate in how you fill them. Otherwise those hours will just be filled with business ‘stuff’.

This is a simplified example, but it’s exactly the kind of thinking and process I’ve often used to help dealers break away from a company that has too much control. If you’re feeling overworked, creating a week-long to-do diary and building out your ideal week are effective first steps to taking control of your business and living your ideal lifestyle.

Jim is the founder and president of Flooring Success Systems, a company that provides flooring dealers with marketing services and coaching to help them attract quality customers, close more sales, achieve higher margins and work the hours they choose. For information visit

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