Managing Vs. Doing Part 1

October 20, 2003

Managing Versus Doing (Part 1)

By: Linda Leigh Francis

Many of us started our own businesses to be independent, to have freedom to make our own choices, to escape the tyranny of a 9 to 5 job or an outrageous boss.

Yet, many of us have found our businesses to be tyrants that tie us down and steal our freedom. Our businesses run us instead of the other way around. Why is this the case?

As your role in your business changes, the ratio of how you spend your time between doing and managing shifts. I have a client whose job history began as a helper, spending 100% of his time doing.

After a promotion to an installer position, he spent 75% of his time doing and 25% of his time managing. He then became a supervisor, spending 50% of his time supervising employees, acquiring materials, scheduling, dealing with suppliers, etc., and 50% doing.

With this experience he decided to start his own business. Unfortunately, he did not know that as an owner, the ratio between doing and managing shifts to 90% managing and 10% doing. He spent so much time doing that he didn’t have enough time to get to the critical and vital task of managing. By the time he hired me, he had worked himself into exhaustion.

This picture happens to many business owners. They start in the field. They are competent doing. But, faced with the many new tasks of ownership, they gravitate to the instant and visible tasks of doing. They don’t spend the time on the management side of the equation that makes their lives more successful.

They end up with 70% doing, 50% managing and 30% spinning their wheels. That equals 150%, which equals a lot of extra hours. There goes their freedom and independence.

If this describes your situation, it’s time to start working on your managing and doing ratio. Begin now by developing more effective time management skills.

Check the next article for an exercise that will help you determine where your time goes.

Linda Francis teaches workshops and seminars on business management and it the author of Run Your Business So It Doesn’t Run You. For information on her seminars or to order her book, call 707-485-0162, or e-mail

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