When you are self employed you generally speaking have less time during your day that you feel is your own. You need to feed yourself and your family, you need to pay your bills so you feel the pressure to make money more acutely than everyone else who is in gainful employment.
I started my own business in 2010 and for the first almost 3 years I worked from the moment I woke up, almost to the moment I went to bed in the evening.
In 2012 and 2013 I found myself working even more than that. In my world between 9 and 5 nothing gets done that isn’t what I call “Client Essential”. We’re a very high customer service focused organisation which is a nice way of saying that our clients take a lot of our time on the phone and over email/Basecamp.
Sidebar: I believe that really great companies always try to find a way to over deliver to their customers and the first department and easiest way of all to do this is to over deliver with helpfulness.
So during the working day there is no Golden Time, just phones ringing, an inbox that behaves like a run away tiger, staff that want decisions about things, and the question that always malevolently looms like an elephant in the room (with shark teeth and a hungry look on its face) – “what are you going to sell next month?”.
Between 9am and at least 5pm its Go Time.
On the other hand between 6am and 9am for me is Golden Time. This is by far my favourite time of the day. And YES that means I get up sometime around 5:30am every day I can. It’s not always possible but that’s my goal. I call it Golden Time because of the quality of the silence.
There are no phones ringing and nobody looking for me most days. It is time I can work ON my business, rather than working IN the business. Sometimes I write. Sometimes I do SEO work, building links, checking website rankings, analytics or domain shopping. Sometimes develop training materials.
However, the reason I’m writing this post is that this is the time of the day when you have the head space to figure out what you are doing with your business. Where you are going and what you are going to achieve. Having defined direction (in other words you’ve written it down in the form of S.M.A.R.T. goals)
For that reason I believe Golden Time is absolutely ESSENTIAL for any entrepreneur. You don’t have to get up at 6am every day to get Golden Time. Maybe you are more of a night owl, or maybe you would prefer to spend Saturdays or Sundays every week as Golden Time.
The geography of when doesn’t really matter, but the quality AND quantity of your Golden Time does because your business will never be all it can be if you don’t give yourself the time outside of your normal routine to plan and develop it.