Get Control of Your Time, Because You Don’t Have All Day
Business owners don’t
have time to do everything. That makes time your most valuable asset. And yet,
too many things steal your productivity. Interruptions, schedules, meetings,
both necessary and unnecessary, vie for your time.
Sooner or later, this
struggle can overwhelm you. When this happens, you shift from trying to run a
business and turn a profit to just trying to catch up. But, if that becomes
your focus, you end up falling further behind. So, what can you do? Well, to
start with, implement these vital Time Control Tips.
Track Your Time
The biggest reason
people feel behind the hour hand most of the day is that they don’t realize how
much time they’re investing doing Stuff That Isn’t Work. You know what makes
you money, and you know the tasks that are necessary to make that possible.
Then there’s everything else.
But what, exactly, is
that “everything else?” The only way to know is to make a log. Over the next
week, write down literally everything you do throughout your day, as well as
the amount of time it took to do it. Then, each evening, total up the amount of
time you spent not doing the things that make you money or the tasks that make
At the end of the
week, take out your log, and make a list of all the things you’re doing that
are just time sinks. Too many calls, too many meetings, too much time checking
email or social media. Whatever it is that’s stealing your time, regulate it or
For tasks that take
time but must be done, like checking messages or texts, set aside specific
times during the day to do this. Avoid the temptation to check and recheck.
And, if you have a job that requires supplies or tools, get in the habit of
making a list of everything you need for that task, so you don’t waste time
making multiple supply runs.
In fact, you might
consider assigning certain team members to complete some of those tasks as
well, and that brings us to our next time-saving tip.
Learn to Delegate
Next, make a list of
all the tasks you’re doing that someone else can do. Begin delegating those
tasks. As the business owner, your goal here is to, eventually, only be doing
the stuff that only you can do.
The reason this is
important, is that, as the owner, you should operate as the big picture person,
the vision carrier, not just another task completer. Unfortunately, too many
business owners invest in what they see as an opportunity only to find they,
essentially, bought themselves a job rather than a business.
Focus on One Task at
This one’s tough, but
it is possible. These days, it feels like we have more interruptions in our day
than we have actual work time. That can be regulated, though. Get in the habit
of setting aside at least 25 to 30 minutes for each task, and insist on not
being interrupted – by yourself or others – unless it’s an absolute necessity.
Close everything else
on your computer desktop, and put your phone in a desk drawer. Or, if you’re on
a job site, your pocket. Then, don’t take it out. Put all your energy and focus
on the task at hand for at least 25 minutes.
Then take a
five-minute break before moving on to the next task. You may also consider
taking five minutes to read and answer emails between your break time and
starting the next task. Make this a habit and you will begin to find time you
never knew you had.