"I have to do that, and that, and that, AND that..."
As all entrepreneurs and business owners know, in the beginning you do everything. Literally E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.
For me and my property business, in the beginning that meant: checking Rightmove, assessing each property, calling the agent, going to see the house, finding the finance to buy the house, then buying the house, doing the refurbishment, taking the marketing photos, listing the ad, communicating with potential tenants, conducting the viewings, doing the referencing, THEN being on call if anything went wrong, going to the house to check on the maintenance issues, communicating with tenants back and forth, and on and on and on (and on....).
How the hell was I going to keep doing all that AND grow our business? The answer was: I wasn't. I had to choose. I could do everything OR I could grow. I couldn't do both.
I had to start valuing my time.
And by valuing my time, I don't just mean that in an abstract sense of "time is precious" (which it is). I mean that in the very literal sense. What pound-value or dollar-value does my time have? This is an important thing to figure out because it can guide so many decisions when you are debating what to do in your business.
One very easy way to put a monetary value on your time is to look at your current salary. What are you getting paid per hour? You can take your whole compensation package (salary + any overtime + bonus, for example) and then divide that by then number of hours you work. So, if your salary, overtime, and bonus have a monetary value of X every year, and you work Y hours each year (don't count vacation time), then your time is "worth" X divided by Y.
If however you are working for yourself, it might be a bit trickier to put a monetary value on your time, especially if you're just getting started. In this case, you can either:
1) Do the exercise above for the last job you had and use that compensation rate as a baseline
2) Do the exercise above using the amount of money you would like to be earning this year divided by the amount of time you would like to be working
Let's say that once you've done the calculations, you arrive at an hourly rate of £25/hour. This is how much your time is currently worth. (Your calculations will probably have given you a different number, but we'll use this number for illustration purposes.)
What this number very clearly tells you is that you should only focus on activities that are "worth" £25/hour (or more) OR activities that add £25/hour of value (or more) to your business. Put differently, this tells you that anything you can pay someone else to do for less than £25/hour is worth giving to someone else. [Note: I am NOT talking about exploiting people here. You should always pay a fair wage to anyone who works for you.]
Your time is worth £25/hour, so you should do activities that merit that rate. If someone else can do a task you are currently doing for less than your hourly rate, then it is good leverage to use them instead of continuing to do the task yourself. By delegating these less-than-£25/hour tasks to someone else, you get more value from your time and are operating in a time and value-effective way.
See how helpful it can be? By valuing your time monetarily, you get better at valuing your time productively.
Now I know it isn't always as straightforward as this and when you are bootstrapping your business, paying someone else is a very big consideration. But take some time to let this lesson sink in. And start thinking of ways you can stay focused on the £25/hour activities. It doesn't always mean hiring someone. You can delegate tasks to a software, or to a process (or to your co-founder!).
There are lots of ways to get things done in a way that doesn't have to cost you much or any money, but setting these things up takes time and thought, so at the very least, gift yourself the headspace to think about how you can do things differently, better, or more efficiently to make sure you are valuing your time.