Whether you own your own business or are chasing corporate career dreams, you’ve probably had times where you weren’t sure where to focus your time and energy. This is super common for entrepreneurs (we tend to be a little overzealous and multi-passionate) but I also commonly see this with professionals across various industries who have too much on their plate and aren’t sure where their time and energy is best spent. Clarity Lines is a quick, simple exercise that takes 5-10 minutes but can quite literally give you a year’s worth of business insight.
Over my decade of self-employment, this exercise has been really valuable. You can use it to:
I call this exercise “Clarity Lines”, but honestly I’m not sure if there’s an official name for it! I like to do this once per quarter (seasonally) but you could also consider doing it more frequently or just annually…do what works for you and adjust my tips below accordingly.
Once you’re done, you should be able to see where you are spending your time (the tasks at the top of the list) and what tasks are actually directly contributing to your big wins (the tasks that have the most lines).
Ideally, the tasks at the top of your list will have the most lines —which would mean you are being efficient with how you are spending your time (the bulk of your time/energy is resulting in the bulk of your growth/income). But, I’m willing to bet that will *not* be the case the first time you do this! You will likely realize that you are spending a lot of time doing a task that isn’t directly contributing to your growth.
For example, when I did this a couple of years ago, I realized I was spending the bulk of my time packaging and shipping orders for my Etsy Shop. But, *packaging* the orders isn’t what led to me making the sales. It was really clear to me that if I wanted to continue increasing sales, I needed a shop manager ASAP! Clarity Lines showed me that my BIG WIN of increasing sales was being driven by blog posts, Instagram content, and YouTube videos. By outsourcing my shipping needs I freed up hours each day to focus on creating more of that content.
And did it work? You bet. 2019 was the best year I’ve had for my shop and business, but sales in my shop increased by 369% YoY in 2020!!! And by the end of the year I was able to add additional revenue streams in the form of online courses, eBooks, and business coaching….all thanks to the clarity and extra time that this little exercise brought me! I recommend making this a regular practice in your business, and certainly sitting down to do it any time you are feeling overwhelmed, aren’t sure what to say ‘yes’ to, or are thinking of adding another member to your team.
When you do this exercise, though, please remember that it’s okay to spend your time doing things that simply bring you joy. To help make this a priority I recommend looking over your list of tasks on the left side of the paper and highlighting tasks that you absolutely LOVE doing and would enjoy doing even if they didn’t result in a single penny of earnings (I’ve highlighted mine in yellow)!
I also highlight tasks that are mandatory and need to happen no matter what, either by me or someone else on my team (in green), and tasks that I don’t particularly enjoy doing (in red). This can help give you a bit more perspective at the end of the exercise, and determine what you want to do yourself, what you need to outsource, or tasks that you can stop doing altogether without impacting your results. It’s fine to start simple with Clarity Lines (just make the lists and draw the lines for some perspective) and then work your way up to getting more detailed.
And that’s it! I hope this post and the Clarity Lines exercise are helpful to you as you continue to grow your business. If you are pivoting, launching a big project, or just looking for ongoing support and mentorship be sure to check out my one-on-one business coaching. I’d love to work with you!
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