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Time isn’t money? 5 ways to better leverage your time and scale your business

I'm proud to have joined ThePowerMBA last September, and to have the opportunity to continue to share with the world what I am taking away from the course over the next few months.

This will include a deep-dive on various topics from 'Engines of Growth' to value proposition and everything in between.

You can find out more here!


How many hours do you work per week? How many hours would you LIKE to work per week?

There’s likely a difference.

During ThePowerMBA course, I’ve been inspired by the various mentors who have shared their success stories and insights with me as a student.

It's been a catalyst for my own business growth as I look to scale and better manage my time.

This includes learning about the ‘factors of scalability’ during the course where we compare scalable and less scalable business models and in a surprise to no-one, businesses with less scalable resources tend to fall into the latter category.

For me as a service business by nature, this brings natural constraints! But, efficiency can still be improved by working on my key resource - me.

Yet, is it really possible to run a successful business without working weekends and late nights?

You may be surprised…

Not only is it achievable, it’s often beneficial for your bottom line.

Let me walk you through 5 of the best ways to start leveraging your time and to truly achieve the freedom you desire.

1) The 80/20 rule

Those of you familiar with the works of esteemed author and startup expert Tim Ferriss will most likely have come across the ‘80/20’ principle.

Tim is a raving fan of this approach and here’s what it entails:

Focusing your attention on the 20% of tasks that give you 80% of the outcome.

This boils down to prioritising your time, which plays a key role in each of my tips.

Take a look at your ‘to-do’ list.

It's often pretty scary, right?

Well, you’ll be pleased to know that it doesn’t have to be this way.

What if most tasks on your list didn’t even need completing at all?

Here’s some questions to ponder this week:

  • What 20% tasks give me 80% of my results?

  • What 20% tasks take up most of my time?

  • What if I only had 2-3 hours a week to work on the business? What would I do?

As many often say, true perfection is only achieved when there’s nothing else to take away.

Be brutal, no task is left unquestioned!

2) Become an ‘Essentialist’

Made popular by Greg McKeown in Essentialism, this boils down to a similar principle.

Being more disciplined with what you say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to.

As you become more successful, you will reach a certain stage where opportunities come knocking left, right and centre.

Beware shiny-object syndrome!

It may be tempting to help your friend start their new venture or to be interviewed on another startup’s podcast, but what looks like opportunities often turn out to really be favours, as the benefit for you isn't always so clear.

And they can carry a heavy burden.

One key rule to bear in mind is that most tasks will often take up to 2x longer than you first expect.

That 60-minute Zoom to help with your buddy’s new marketing strategy?

It also includes:

  • 2hrs researching their business

  • 45-minutes to get back into a flow post meeting

  • 2hrs+ post call for follow-up emails

Being an essentialist includes knowing how to say no.

This is covered superbly in this article.

Saying no never feels good, but if done in the right way, it can save hours of hassle for both parties.

3) Leverage Parkinson’s Law

Ever leave a college essay to the last minute?

Up until 5am finishing your final paragraphs?

Most of us have, there’s no shame(!)

What’s really happening here is Parkinson's law.

The task you are given will stretch to fill the time you allocate to it.

You'll have likely come across many hustlers who somehow find the time to balance a full-time job with several side projects and a volunteering gig.

How do they do it?!

Well, oftentimes being ‘busy’ or having more demands on your time can be a bonus.

It forces you to be disciplined and to stick to stricter deadlines.

A story I share often is from my first year running DM Nutrition.

I deliberately found a bar job that was only 2 days a week.

Perfect, I thought!

All the time in the world to start the business and grow.


I am more productive now with a full-time job and other responsibilities.

Give it a try today by:

  • Setting a 1-2hr deadline for a big task (e.g. new blog)

  • Blocking out 45-60 minute chunks in your calendar

  • Arranging more ‘down’ time for socialising

4) Use tech wisely

Often the ‘foe’ of productivity, tech is given a bad name.

Social media, notifications, emails…

Not exactly the most supportive environments for deep work.

However, being tech savvy can have its benefits.

If you’re looking to become more time efficient, looking out for and signing up for the latest tools is key.

Here’s a checklist of sorts that I use personally as I strive to scale my coaching business.

Each have their own unique benefits, but together, they make quite the set of tools.


  • Perfect for client resources, tracking their progress and uploading free recipes. Very UX friendly and easy to customize as you wish!


  • If you are awash with ideas, life admin and reminders, keeping them in one place is essential. Evernote syncs across devices and can be a handy way to keep yourself organised.

Focus mode

  • A brand new feature for me and a god-send. You can activate ‘focus mode’ on your phone to prevent incoming notifications indefinitely. When you’re finished a block of deep work, simply deactivate and catch-up!


  • Booking meetings is a hassle and so is managing your time. Calendly is a superb tool for helping with both. You can limit the hours you are free for Zoom or phone calls, leaving you in total control.


  • A must-have for service providers and startups alike. Easy to integrate with CRM, social media and other tools, it’s the perfect foundation for automating your lead capture and client database management.

5) Time that’s measured gets managed

Last but very not least, is tracking.

An essential part of any entrepreneur’s weekly routine and critical for keeping on top of your time.

Another question to ask yourself is, what is my true hourly rate?

You may be shocked by the answer.

Are you really ‘doing well’ if the £ you earn requires 70hr+ weeks?

Try to determine your £/hour and focus on increasing this first and foremost.

This forces you to start separating your time from income and start your journey on the path to true freedom.

I personally find keeping a Google Sheet updated weekly to be most effective.

You can even set yourself a revenue target and then break this down into the hours required to reach it.

Once you have a better idea of your bottlenecks, you can then begin to outsource, delegate or even eliminate certain tasks that make up your weekly working routine!


  • Focus on the 20% of tasks that give you 80% of the outcome

  • Say no more often (but do it nicely!)

  • Leverage Parkinson's law (tight deadlines)

  • Upgrade your productivity tools

  • Determine your £ earned/hour and keep improving it


Dec McLaughlin works in Business Development at tech startup BackHug (helping sore backs at home). He also helps run the Startup Grind Edinburgh Chapter & helps entrepreneurs lose up to 10kg in 90-days via his DM Nutrition coaching business.


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