Don’t manage your circumstances… take control and create a daily working pattern to love.
In our Mastermind, our clients wanted to find a path through the time pressures…. here’s what we collectively came up with – some great strategies here.
Feeling out of control and drowning under you ‘to do’ list can turn you upside down. Blaming time for not getting ‘stuff’ done, however, is highly ineffective and will stop you taking accountability. Check out these simple 8 strategies that will help you get more progress than ever – together with the questions you need to ask yourself to make it happen.
If there’s one thing more powerful than a business owner, it’s a collection of business owners – working together to conquer a particular challenge.
And that’s the essence of what happens every month within our Mastermind session that we run with our clients, as part of our Inner Circle Programme.
Just last month, there were many of our business owner clients feeling the time pinch with issues such as:
- Being railroaded with urgent tasks.
- Not having enough time to focus on sales and marketing.
- Too many interruptions from staff.
- Emails constantly pinging in that prevent stuff from getting done.
So we explored the questions……
“How can I get more out of my time….”
Collectively, we commenced the discussion, and 15 minutes later….. we had a model! And here it is in a nutshell……
If you are wondering how to better manage your time, perhaps there are some things here you have yet to consider….
Obvious, but yet so many business owners fail to do this. What are you currently doing that you could pass to a member of staff, or indeed outsource to someone that is fit for the job? Some example, your accounts (invoicing, chasing payments, bookkeeping) or HR (HR admin, recruitment, record keeping, audits etc).
This delegating may need to fall into the lap of someone that is skilled enough to do the job, but what would it mean to you if you no longer had those tasks to complete? You could be spending your time ton high ticket growth opportunities.
So a question to ask yourself:
***What tasks or projects can I look to delegate to a capable staff member, or outsource to a specialist, so that I can buy back time to focus on business growth?***
2. Remove £10 Tasks
First of all, what is a £10 task? It’s something that requires a low level of skill to complete but is very important. This could be stuff like…. making clients a coffee when they visit, general admin, your housework, answering the phone, dealing with everyday email enquiries etc.
Now, this does now mean that £10 tasks are less important. They are VERY important. The person responsible for these tasks is keeping the ‘lights on’, and allowing you to focus on the tasks that bring in money to the business – such as sales and marketing, client meetings, setting the business strategy and planning etc.
So a question to ask yourself:
***What £10 tasks am I doing right now that would free up my time to focus on generating revenue for the business?***
3. Eliminate Distractions
Whatever the distraction that regularly pulls you away from being at your most productive; whether that’s staff…. telephone calls… emails…. there’s something you need to know. YOU are in control of them.
- If you let people interrupt you, they will continue to do so.
- If you answer the phone, you’ll have to deal with the person on the line.
- If you keep looking in your inbox, you’ll be drawn to that latest email, that could probably wait.
To implement, and do more than you ever have before, you need to be totally disciplined, and regimented in your ways of working. That might mean taking yourself off to another room, closing your office door, or indeed working from home when you need to get your head down and focus.
It may also mean some truthful conversations with others in the office, that their ongoing interruptions make you less effective (in a diplomatic way of course), so could they in future, save up their questions and ask them all at once at several points during the day.
YOU can protect yourself and your time if you are willing to, so here’s a question to ask yourself here:
***What environment do I need to create around me that would make me 100% focused? ***
Now decide how often you need that to happen, and who you need to tell to make it happen.
Whether with your business partner, team member, husband, wife – or just with yourself…. If you are struggling with time, then it is time to be HONEST.
What are you focusing on right now within the business that is just a distraction?
We all need to be heading as practically fast and as far towards our goals as we can – and sometimes, a shiny little object appears and takes us away from that. Even a slight deviation of course can have a big impact on time, and therefore, ability to hit targets and goals.
Trust me when I say – I’ve had some BELTING distractions over the years – from exciting projects to whole new business ventures. But the reality is, sometime, if we are totally honest, these projects, ventures or tasks are just taking us off course.
So here’s a question to ask yourself when you’re feeling the time pinch….
***What is on my plate right now that shouldn’t be?***
If you are unsure as to what should stay and what should go, rate each project or task out of 10 in the following areas:
a) How aligned is this to achieving my overall goal?
b) How urgent is this?
c) What is the level of impact if this doesn’t get done?
5. Daily Planners
There are some great tools out there that help you to plan what you need to do on a day-to-day basis – like Asana.
They will help you to track your overall to do lists, delivery dates, and much more. In the most part, they’re free to use unless you want to upgrade to get more features. Even the free version will help you to stay on track and get organised.
So here’s a question to ask yourself….
***Would an ongoing list of my priorities that are time-bound help me to achieve more?***
6. Planned Growth Time
Often, we are all aware of the tasks that we NEED to do that will help to support our business growth – and largely they boil down to sales, marketing and new business development.
Here’s the problem…. They often feel like jobs that you will “fit in when you have time.” Does that sound familiar?
The fact is, these activities are the lifeblood of your business – and without ensuring that they are at the centre of your weekly, if not daily, activities, you are not going to consistently have a pipeline of leads and regular conversions.
So, if this is you, and these activities are on your “when I have time to” list, then know this – you are never going to have time.
For that reason, they must be planned into the diary – just like a meeting would be.
So, you need to decide when.
A chunk of time that is less than an hour is not going to be meaningful. I would suggest starting with a minimum of 2 x 90-minute sessions per week, or a half day once a week.
As you start to see the difference, you will be desperate to make it a daily occurrence.
You will be amazed at how you can scale your business on these important chunks of time.
Here’s the next question to ask yourself….
***What time shall I block out in my diary to get this done?***
Make sure you are super focused with this time. Know exactly what you want to achieve within your allotted time, for example…
- 10 sales calls?
- An email marketing piece?
- Writing a month’s worth of social media posts?
7. Focus Meetings
Everyday, without fail, we have a focus meeting.
The whole team congregates with their beverage of choice around the boardroom table, and we take it in turns to list out exactly what we expect to accomplish during that day.
This is written onto a flipchart, and as the day proceeds, everyone works through their list and you can see the delight in everyone’s faces as they walk up to the flipchart to cross off yet another task that has been accomplished.
This, quite honestly, has changed the way we work and the volume of ‘stuff’ we implement. It is simply FANTASTIC!
So a questions to ask yourself…
***How could I implement this within my business to stay more accountable and get even more done than ever before?***
8. SOS Window
How many times each week are you caught unawares by a crisis…. an urgent task… a client that you must see today…. a proposal that you must get out of the door…..
This type of thing can throw your entire day into chaos, and create unnecessary stress and frustration.
The answer is simple – allow for these events!
Create an SOS Window in your diary that is to be used for urgent matters that arise. Once again, this could be a couple of times a week, or every day if necessary.
You can then manage the expectations of your fellow team members or clients by saying… “yes, no problem, I can do that for you. It will be at 3pm today.”
And if your SOS window is unused? Perfect. You’ve got more time on business growth activities, or treat yourself to a gym session!
***So ask yourself, “How long does my SOS window need to be each day or week?”***
We’d love to hear your own time management solutions, and perhaps we can add them to this list! Please do comment or feel free to email me!