Having headspace is essential if you want to grow a one million pound practice. For the purposes of this article, it is not about meditating or being mindful. It is about giving your mind the freedom to think, pause, reflect or go where it needs to go. This means getting the brain away from the day-to-day distractions of life as an accountancy firm owner (emails, calls and discussions with clients or staff) and also your responsibilities outside of work (issues around family, home, shopping, cooking, housework, bills).
This article is an extract from 'The Accountants Millionaires Club: How to build a highly profitable one million pound practice while working fewer hours with less stress'.
What is headspace and why you need it to grow your practice
Giving yourself the permission to have headspace is like giving your brain a new office with a whiteboard, on which to design a new practice and plan for its implementation. When you down tools and go on holiday you normally give yourself precious headspace time. This is why you almost always come back from a holiday brimming full of ideas for your practice. It’s also why taking the time to have a long shower is a great way to generate ideas.
The more time you have for headspace, the more chance you do deep, quality thinking. Your ideas for growing your firm can’t wait until you go on holiday in order to be implemented on your return. That’s why it’s essential that you don’t just free up time to do stuff, but also to have the essential headspace time. Aim to free up 8 hours of time a week if you are serious about growing a one million pound practice.
Just as planning a three-month holiday to ten countries, would require a lot of detailed planning, your pursuit of a million pound practice requires much thinking and consideration of multiple options. You will be using your eight hours of headspace to do strategic work. For some people, they can think at the gym, doing an individual sport, walking, cooking or listening to music. Those are fine, however you must keep a notebook and pen, or phone, handy to record your ideas as you go. Once back in the office, turn vague ideas into actions you can take which support your growth trajectory.
Headspace has more benefits than just giving you the time and space to identify how to grow your practice. It will reduce your stress levels and put you back in control of your practice.
What stops us from having daily headspace time?
The norm for society is to be busy. Life now happens at a million miles an hour and people are bombarded by 24/7 information which comes at them from the moment they open their eyes. Whether it is the newsfeed of their social media platforms or the rolling 24/7 news, the email which is available to them on their smartphones, it is becoming harder and harder to switch off from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
It’s not just the pace at which people now live their lives. The most common mode for a small accountancy firm owner is firefighting. Firefighting is the enemy of high quality headspace. If business as usual for you in your practice means forever putting out fires, then you need to change how you are operating. Growing your practice will come after you have spent clear time planning for that growth.
Why not just find the time for headspace?
When you are swamped with client work, which is all urgent, the last thing you want to hear is just make the time or try to work smarter. After all, if it was that easy you would have already made the time. As you grow your practice you will realise that your role as a practice owner is going to change over time. You are going to get more and more time to do the stuff you love. However, to get to the good stuff means you will need to become comfortable with changing how you work and how your practice works. Finding the time for headspace is just the first change you will need to implement on your way to becoming a one million pound practice.
How to find an extra 8 hours a week to work on the business
Firstly, stop kidding yourself that this will happen when you get through the current busy period. When was your last real quiet period? Or enough of a quiet period to do more than take a break and recharge your batteries? That’s the problem, when you subscribe to the illusion of tomorrow, you never quite manage to take the first step and get started.
Don’t be tempted to cut the target down from eight hours. The more you think big, the more it encourages your brain to think laterally and differently; potentially to consider some great solutions which you would have never considered if you were only trying to find an extra three hours a week.
The best way to find an extra eight hours a week, is start as you mean to go on. Start right now by booking yourself an hour out of your hectic schedule. Switch off your phone and your computer, get out of your office and go for a walk. As you are walking start to play around with the idea of giving yourself 8 hours a week to focus on growing your practice. What is stopping this from happening? What would have to change for this to happen? Is your firm under-resourced? Do you need to delegate more? Do you have the right people doing the right stuff?