I am 40, a workaholic and my life is in chaos. Help!


Dear Aunty B,

I am 40, a workaholic and my life is in chaos. I have never been a very organised person but I have always got a lot done. But now I have 17 staff and half the time I run around like a headless chook (I read yesterday’s Aunty B).

I keep reading in SmartCompany that I should be working on the business, but when do I have the time? There are not enough hours in the day.

Yeerongpilly, Brisbane.




Dear Desperate,

Oh boy. I bet you are also divorced and can’t remember the last time you had sex (well, good sex), cooked a decent meal or had a walk on the beach.

What a nightmare.


Now listen here Desperate. Remember why you started your business? For freedom, independence and flexibility. Remember??

We are talking time management and delegation skills here (I assume your business strategy is in place and you only have obscenely profitable clients, having sacked the pesky ones that don’t make you much money).


Ensure you have the right people in key positions. You need “Ruthless Organiser” in a PA position to act as your gatekeeper (although make sure clients always get put straight through to you).

You also need “Resident Bitch”: usually the bookkeeper or the accountant whose job is to collar people, grill them about their expenses and make sure that THEY are on top of all accounts and know where every cent is spent. That is one less thing for you to worry about.

You also need a FANTASTIC sales and marketing team that are scouring the marketplace for new opportunities and loving your clients to death.


Now sit down with your PA and document everything you do all day. Then put other people’s names against most of those tasks and spend some time redefining their roles. Plan your diary for weeks in advance and review the list to make sure you are getting through everything. Move anything to the next week that is not completed. Make sure you have daily to-do lists that you methodically work through.


Be ruthless on meetings. Set them for odd times like 7.32am. (That sends a clear message doesn’t it?) Always circulate an agenda with a finish time.

Set objectives, allocate which task is going to be followed up by whom and insist a task is finished in a set time.


Make sure all new staff follow an “induction” period so that they quickly understand the culture, the nature of the business and their role. Allocate a mentor so that they can bother them, not you.


Make sure you have all the latest electronic stuff, including an electronic contact list so you can operate from anywhere anytime, but also have times when the damn thing is switched off.


Be very disciplined. Make sure you start at a set time (many entrepreneurs start meetings with clients so they don’t get stuck in the office) and finish in time for a visit to the gym or a play with the kids.


You could employ a general manager although I often think this is the hardest role in an organisation to fill and I can’t tell you how many times entrepreneurs tell me they just sacked their general manager.


So try the tips above and stop thinking you need more hours in a day. You need to start thinking: “I want a life!”





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