When we ask business owners what their most precious resource is, they usually answer with money, employees or family. What is less stated is the one resource that can never be replenished or gained back – time. Business owners that struggle with time usually share the same behaviours. They don’t delegate or prioritise tasks well. They tend not to be well-organized in their day-to-day lives. These issues are easy to fix as long as you make the small but significant changes to how you approach tasks.
If you aren’t sure how to go about using your time more effectively, consider applying some of the following tips and see how they work for you:
1 Plan Your Day
If you find that your day tends to be rather chaotic, consider investing in a planner and writing out how your day will progress. Don’t try to rigidly adhere to it (since unexpected events can cause your plans to change), but make an effort to stick to it as best as you can. For added effect, sort out your tasks by priority and urgency. This will help you directly visualise the relative importance and impact of each task.
2 Break Down Large Tasks Into Smaller Ones
Having a colossal task in front of you can be very overwhelming. For example if you have to clean your entire house in one day, it can be hard to know where to start. Instead of thinking about cleaning the entire house it helps to break it down by room. This way, you still get the work done while making it seem much more reasonable
3 Organise Your Life
This goes somewhat in hand with item #1, but this tip speaks in a more general sense. If you aren’t using a filing cabinet, get one. If your inventory is a mess, start tracking it. Make use of technology – computers can be your best friend! Organising your home and business life won’t just make things run more smoothly – it’ll positively affect your psyche. It is much easier to focus when working in a neat, clutter free environment whether that be your desk, office or home
This point can’t be stressed enough. If you don’t know how to tell somebody to do something, it’s time to learn. You cannot be in four places at once, so find three other employees and tell them to do three of those tasks. Micro-managing is both a morale and a productivity killer, and many bosses fall afoul of this in some way. If your employees can’t be trusted to perform a certain task, that is YOUR fault. Train them well so that they can, and your life will be made so much easier
5 Don’t Strive For Perfection
Instead, strive for excellence. Pushing your team to do better is a fantastic goal, and one that will enable your business to reach new heights. But straight perfectionism is impossible – we’re only human, after all. Demanding perfection from your team will only contribute to stress and a lack of trust in faith in you as a leader. Business owners who demand perfection are also frequently micromanagers; that is a toxic combination that will do a lot of damage to your team’s psyche over the long term
6 Just Say No
No, the most powerful word ever spoken. You can say this at any time and without having to give a reason for it. If you don’t want to do something or don’t want something done, just say no. You are never obliged to say yes to somebody or something. Remember your business works for you not the other way around.
If you want to achieve a better return from time spent contact us to hear more on ways in which we can help:
Are you so drained at the end of the day after getting up early, dealing with traffic, working all day, taking care of kids, your spouse, cooking, cleaning, running errands and the million other things you do all day – with no time or energy to take care of yourself?
The perception that most people have of time management is wrong. Time is finite. No matter how much you try to change it, there are only 24 hours in the day. What you can change is how you experience time, and that is all about ENERGY. According to Einstein’s theory of relativity, everything is relative, even how two people experience time differently. The more energy you have, the slower time goes, at least in theory. But think about it, can you remember the last time you had an immense amount of ENERGY, how much you got done during that day?
Rather than treating our life and businesses as a marathon, we need to treat them as sprints and recovery (so that you can recover your ENERGY!). We all know we are going to have big sprints — that’s what makes pursuing a project or business so exciting. But it’s imperative that we build in equal parts recovery.
5 Tips to Make Room for Recovery
No matter whether or not you think you need a break, schedule fun or relaxation activities in advance and stick to them.
Double the break you think you need.
I know how this goes, “Sure, I’ll take a break — I’ll give myself a whole hour off!” Not good enough. Whatever the break you think you need, double it. You are most likely underestimating the toll that all of your hard work is taking on your body and mind — even if you’re having fun.
Enlist family and friends.
If you schedule a weekend get-away with family or friends, you’ll have no excuse but to unplug. Family and friends can be great accountability buddies for taking the breaks you need.
Make a list of the benefits of R&R, and brainstorm your favourite rejuvenation activities.
I know that even after reluctantly taking a break, I will come back refreshed, more cheerful and more creative — which puts me in an even better position to do my best work once I’m back at it. Making a list of the benefits will help motivate and remind you to actually take the breaks you’ve set-up. At a loss for what to do? Make a list of any/all activities that bring you joy or relaxation. For me that’s reading, yoga, a glass of wine (with chocolate) and watching a few shows on Hulu.
Break down your biggest goals into achievable, measurable chunks and reward yourself often!
For every day that you make a massive to-do list, add a “reward” item at the end that brings you joy. Maybe it’s reading a book, a gossip magazine, or going out to dinner with a friend. For many of us, we only take breaks or celebrate when we hit the BIG goals — but those can take months to achieve. Instead, break them down into smaller parts and reward yourself for all of the smaller milestones you hit along the way.
To learn how to finally implement Time Management strategies that work into your routine, join us at our upcoming Time Management Workshop , TOMORROW Friday, 21st October in in the Crowne Plaza Dublin Airport. Click here for more information and to register your place or call us on 01 891 6220.
Or if you would like to avail of a complimentary Business Review with one of our top Coaches to uncover ways to grow and improve your business, please fill in your details below and we will be in touch to arrange your appointment:
As we all know time does not stand still for anybody. Unfortunately we can’t create more time and once it’s gone it’s gone forever. So, if we can’t manage time, what can we manage? The simple answer is that we can only manage what we do with it. This means being more disciplined about how we spend our precious time.
Here are some of our top tips to help you manage your time better:
It’s important to focus your efforts on the tasks that will help you achieve the success you want. Learn not to get side tracked with all those less important tasks.
- Choose To Be A Victor not a Victim
It’s easy to fall into the trap of blaming the outside world (staff, suppliers, banks, customers etc.) for why we are too busy to achieve the success we feel we deserve. From here on in, make sure you choose to be a victor, rather than a victim – take ownership of your time and what you want to achieve with it.
Set clear goals which you are emotionally linked to and create a plan of action to help you achieve your goals. This will help you focus during the time available and you will be less likely to become distracted.
Learn to priorities different tasks. In the book “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People” by Stephen Convey the 4 main types of tasks identified were:
|– Not Urgent, Not Important- things that distract us from our goals.
|– Urgent, Not Important – things that we are deluded by.
|– Urgent and Important – things that put demands on us.
|– Not Urgent and Important – things we do that lead to our goals.
Going forward, ask yourself which category a task falls into and say NO to the distractions.
So to summarise, if you want to find time to achieve your goals, all you need to do is identify what is it exactly that you want to achieve, ensure this is something you are passionate about and then work out a plan of action with dedicated time to help you achieve it.
If you would like some help managing your time join us at our Time Management Workshop Friday 16th October. Click Here for more information and to register your place.
Have you heard of the saying, ‘Time is Money’? When it comes to running a business, this phrase is invariably true. In today’s fast paced world, time is considered as important as money, but in the end, both aren’t equal.
Even though time is continually rushing past, this doesn’t mean you’re making money just as fast. Money making largely depends on how well you manage and utilise the time that is given. Here’s why time management is important and why you should think about this more seriously.
Effective Time Management Helps Accomplish More with Less Effort
The number one advantage of time management is that you have better control over your time, which means that staying focused on finishing a task becomes easy. This in turn, leads to a much higher efficiency and productivity, achieved in only half the effort.
Effective Time Management Helps You Make Better Decisions
When it comes to running a successful business, you will have to make decisions that help you do so effectively. The choices you make, either good or bad, will shape the future of your business. This is why time management is essential, as then you will be able to give more time to thinking about each and every choice carefully, as you can afford to do so.
Effective Time Management Helps Reduce Stress
The main reason why people feel stressed is solely because of having to complete a task in a certain time and not having enough time to do it in. When you apply effective time management to your work schedule, completing a task within a deadline will become very easy, which will enable you to accomplish more. In the end, you will have more time to review the entire project or task and eliminate the mistakes.
The reason why time management is so important is because with it you will be able to check every project or task that you attend to as you have plenty of time on your hands.
If you would like some help managing your time join us at our Time Management Workshop Friday 16th October. Click Here for more information and to register your place.
How many times have you heard people say “I don’t have enough time to do …” or “If only I could find the time to do …” Or “I am too busy to do …” Perhaps the person you heard saying these or similar things is the same person who stares back at you every morning in the bathroom mirror. Well, it is time to stop blaming time! Time is an absolute-there are 24 hours (1440 minutes, 86,400 seconds) in a day and that will never change. We cannot “manage” time. What we can manage is what we do during the next 60 minutes.
How we use time is one of the great determinants of how successful we are both as business owners and as individuals. Everyone from Bill Gates to the small business owner is given the same amount of time each day, 24 hours. Think of it like the auto races where they make all the drivers drive identically built and tuned race cars. The winner is then determined not by who has the fastest car but who can drive that identical car the best. Similarly in life the “winners” are those who learn how to drive their use of time the best.
So how do you take control of your time?
1. Accept that there is no such thing as too much or too little time. There is enough time available for you to be successful-others have been successful and they had no more access to time than you do. Take ownership of your situation. Be accountable for your results and responsible for your actions.
2. Decide what you want to accomplish. What do you want to be “successful” at? To some it may mean making a million dollars, to others it may mean being healthier while others may be looking to have better relationships with their family and friends. This is your goal. You must also understand the benefits to you of achieving the goal -how will it make you feel when you achieve it. Both the goal and your “why” must be written down with a timeframe.
3. Once you have decided the goal and your “why”, you must now determine the activities that will be necessary for you to accomplish that goal. What do I have to do? What time commitment will I make? What will I need to adjust/sacrifice/reduce/delegate in order to have the time to do the activities identified? Remember if it was easy everyone, including you would have already done it. What separates the successful users of time from the unsuccessful ones is the discipline and determination to obtain their goals no matter what. Winners never give up and they never quit on themselves.
4. Understand that life and business are about choices. You choose how you will spend your time- on what activities and how much on each. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Being successful in many different areas takes effort and time. Success comes from laser-like focus on one or two goals. Once they are accomplished you move on to the next set of goals and focus on those.
5. Prepare your calendar each week by creating “appointments” to do the activities that you have identified. These are defaulted into your calendar before anything else. Treat these as if the appointment was with your most important customer. Would you easily change your Monday 2-3pm “meeting” just because someone asked for that time slot? No, you would negotiate- “I am booked at that time. I can see you at either 1pm or after 3pm, which would work for you?”
6. Be militant about your schedule. If you don’t care how your time is being spent, why should anyone else? Learn to say “No”. In Stephen Covey’s book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” he breaks activities into 4 categories- Not Important/Not Urgent, Urgent/Not Important, Urgent/Important and Not Urgent/Important. The danger for most people is the Urgent/Not Important category. This is when we are responding to other people’s urgencies, however the activity does not move us toward OUR goal- by definition it is Not Important. Beware of the time and effort devoted to those tasks. Conduct your own time usage study. Every minute that you can divert from not important categories to the important categories will move you closer to your goal.
7. Review your successes/challenges in meeting your schedule each week and adjust where necessary. Be honest with yourself and continually reinforce your “Why” – what are you trying to accomplish and how important is that to you.
8. Find an accountability partner or mentor to help keep you on track. We can all use help every now and then- it is a strength to admit this, not a weakness.
In summary, stop blaming time, take ownership of your time and commit to the discipline necessary to win the race by being the best “driver” of time you can possibly be.
Time is a limited resource for most business owners, so it must be “managed” if you want to achieve your goals within the timeframe you set. Time management (or SELF-management) is all about setting priorities and sticking with them.
When it comes to managing your time (or self) consider this: There is a big difference between activity-tasks that keep us “busy,” and productivity tasks that take us closer to our goals. Most business owners are busy, but are they busy doing the right things?
Self-management requires discipline (no doubt about that). And at the end of the day, you need to find what works best for you. Here are some tips to improve your productivity:
1. Know How You Spend Your Time. Begin to track your tasks for a two-week period and be specific. Then build a list of tasks and people that wasted your time (or money) each day. Make a special note of the interruptions. Most people find this eye-opening. Once you recognise the time and people wasters, you can take actions to fix the problems.
2. Get Organised. It is easier to perform tasks when everything is where you need it and out of the way. This means clearing off your desk so you have room to work and eliminate distractions. Everything should be in a file or binder (in a drawer, cabinet or bookshelf). If you need help organising your space, check out “Organising for Dummies” or get help (there are people who do this).
3. Create a “To Do List” and Use It. When you identify a task that needs to be completed, put it on the list and give it a priority (low, medium high). When you plan your weekly work, pull tasks from the list and always do the high priority tasks first. Don’t forget to continuously evaluate the priority levels you have assigned; time can change some of these.
4. Plan Your Work. At the end of the week, plan your next week AND at the end of each day, plan the next day. According to Brian Tracy, every minute spent in planning saves as many as 10 minutes in execution. In other words, 10-12 minutes planning can save you two hours in wasted time and effort throughout the day. What would you do with an extra two hours per day?
5. Block Off Time to Work on Tasks. The tasks on your “To Do List” will remain there unless you block off time to work on them. When planning your week, block off chunks of time and assign tasks to them. Don’t work on anything not on your list and don’t try to accomplish everything in one week.
6. Break Down Big Tasks. Big tasks can appear overwhelming (so they quickly get put aside). Break them into smaller chunks that are more manageable. Then schedule time to work on them.
7. Delegate or Outsource. Always look for opportunities to delegate or outsource recurring tasks or low-value activities. Did you know that 50 percent of time wasted in business is due to lack of trust? This is because the owner doesn’t think others can do it as well or micro-manages the team. Give your team the tools and processes; then watch them shine (and see how much time you gain for more valuable activities).
8. Use a Tickler File or Follow Up System. Lose the out of sight, out of mind mentality that drives many business owners to keep files visible. Rely on a tickler or reminder system to insure important deadlines are met.
9. Don’t Procrastinate. Work on the tasks you dislike (or those that are more complex) first. Then, they won’t be hanging over your head or causing your mind to wander. Plus, you’ll feel great when you check tasks off the “To Do List.”
10. Hold Calls (Or Send to Voicemail). If you block time to work on important tasks hold that time sacred and don’t permit interruptions except from a handful of VIP’s. Block off time to return calls each day at your convenience. You may also find that when you are not so accessible, others will handle the “issues” and some problems will actually resolve themselves.
11. Handle Mail (or Email) Once. When you go through the mail apply the following formula: Delegate, Action (add to ‘To Do List’), File or Trash. Do not put aside to handle later or you simply end up with multiple piles of unaccomplished tasks.
12. Strive For Excellence, Not Perfection. Results come from taking action. By striving for perfection, you delay taking action or delegating tasks to others.
13. Learn to say NO. Those two letters are the best time-management tools there are.
A wise man once said, “When you spend your money, you can earn more. But, when you spend your time, it’s gone forever.”
Time is your most valuable asset. Invest it wisely!
If you would like to speak with one of our business coaches on how you can use your time more effectively contact us on 01 891 6220 or email firstname.lastname@example.org