Top 7 Habits to Give Yourself More Time
By Kate Marsden
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Ever feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything you need to do? Get into these habits to help you find some extra hours in the day.
- Evaluate your time - Spend the next week looking at how you use your time. Be honest and set a simple chart up for you to log every quarter of an hour and what it goes on. At the end of the week look at the time and add up what you spend on the main categories, for example handling customer service, strategy and planning, financials, social media etc. Don’t be generic with your activities – for example if you are spending two hours a day on emails, what type of emails are they. You may be surprised how much time is taken by activities that do not drive results.
- Be a consultant for your business - Ask yourself this – if you were an external consultant, paid what you are paid on a daily rate, would you think you had been good value to the business this week? It’s too easy to get dragged into the day to day business stuff, group meetings and endless processes. Be honest – can you really say you have personally driven profits this week? Or has it been another week of putting out fires and managing “stuff” rather than making money?
- Identify the time drainers - This is a great exercise to do with your team. Get them to list all the things that zap their time - things that take longer than they expect on a regular basis, things that they get frustrated about because the time taken to do it doesn't seem worth it for the outcome or routine tasks that actually don’t seem to move you forward. Examples will typically include using broken equipment, complicated admin processes, form filling or implementing company policies (things like performance reviews get quoted in big companies).
Now you know them, work out an action plan to reduce them.
- Be radical - Once you’ve decided what is zapping your time, pick a few things that would save the most time across the business. Then be radical as you work through questions such as:
Do we need to do it at all? If we don't do it, what would the business risk be? Would it be quicker if one person managed it (rather than trying to speed everyone up)?Is there a technology solution? Could someone outside the business do it and what impact would that have on our business results? If we had to do this in less than half the time how could we manage it?
- Live by 80/20 principle - Start living by the Pareto Principle - 80% of results are generated by 20% of effort. Your challenge is to identify the most productive and profit generating 20% of activity, customers and effort for your business. Once you have identified these, make sure that your time reflects this and you do not spend 80% of your time on the bottom 20%. Of course some of these things need to be done (it would be impossible to just ignore the bottom 80% of your customers for example) – but just try to make sure that you redistribute your time and effort based on output and results.
- Don’t be driven by your inbox - It is easy to focus time on emails, especially in a customer driven business. But make sure you do not manage your time according to your inbox. Chunk your emails together and make sure you don’t constantly interrupt your work with each message. Do them at fixed times when you know it will not impact on your other time. For example, for most people if you start doing emails an hour before you are due to go home, you will get through them much quicker because you have an incentive – do them at the start of the day and they will just spread out to the available time.
- Take Time Out - This may sound counter-intuitive, but to give yourself more time you need to take time out. Lack of breaks (regular through the day, weekends and holidays) makes us gradually less efficient in our time and it is a false economy. If you are feeling overwhelmed with everything, stop and take a break – you will work quicker when you get back. And as an added bonus, everyone knows you always get twice as much done the day before a holiday!
Want help improving your profits? FREE reports to help Small Business Owners stop falling for the myths and start understanding the real rules of profits. Download instantly for fast profit results! Kate Marsden is The Profit Mechanic and gives resources, tools and support to Small Business Owners to improve their profits. Read more about The Profit Mechanic here.
Article Submitted On: April 10, 2012