These tips are taken from my time management workshop and are the ones that usually resonate with delegates so I thought I would share them with the readers of my blog. These simple, yet when practised, superbly effective techniques have helped thousands of clients to free up an hour a day, everyday!
So, when you read them – don’t just think, I have heard that … write it down and commit it to action!
1. Write a plan!
If it’s in your head and not on paper, then it’s not under control. Writing down everything that needs to happen enables you to allocate each job a time frame, a priority and the name of the person you will delegate it to. It also gives you concrete information to follow up on!
2. Don’t allocate 100% your time
Phone calls, unforseen interruptions, impromptu meetings are all part of the life of a Business Owner! They cause extra stress when you haven’t allowed time to deal with them. Depending on the nature of your role, approximately 50% of your day should be left free to deal with the unexpected
3. Can you eliminate some of your meetings?
A business owner I recently mentored was tearing her hair out because the number of meetings she attended during the day, left her almost no time to action any work! Over a period of time, we reduced her Weekly Objective Meetings with her Managers to fortnightly and reviewed the effectiveness and purpose of those other meetings. Result? Two extra days a week without meetings and a more streamlined operation!
4. Chunk jobs such as emails for greater effectiveness
I am amazed to watch some people stop what they are doing and quickly check their inbox everytime it indicates a new message has arrived, regardless of how much concentration they needed for that other task. This is a classic case of letting something control you – why not allocate a specific time to check and respond to emails; such as every two hours
5. Use the dripping tap principle!
15 minutes a day allocated to teaching one team member or Virtual Assistant a new skill will make a big difference to your ability to delegate, since delegation contains a large training component. If you need to find an hour, you won’t, but if you set aside a specific time, such as 15 minutes straight after lunch, you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve. Use this principle with all your work – your ability to get through mountain loads will skyrocket
6. Start the day off with a plan
Don’t wait until the morning to plan your day. Instead, begin each day with a list and a purpose and get the most from yourself. Your team watch you and it’s a great habit for everyone for everyone to get into – and if you are not there, your accessible diary plan written the night before still enables the work to get done
7. Make your follow up more effective
Whenever you delegate a task, write in your diary the day that task is to be followed up. Your team see that you are serious and you prevent the all too common cry, “but I told them to do it”. If you delegated it, it’s your responsibility to ensure it gets done!
8. Manage your diary ahead and anticipate
Much of the stress of poor time management arises through situations we aren’t prepared for. Once again, use your diary to take control of as many events as possible with proper forward planning. If one of your team is going on holidays, don’t wait until the day before to plan replacements and the allocation of key tasks, do it at the time their Leave Request Form is approved
9. If you can never get out of the office, don’t go in there until the end of the day!
How many times do we go into the office for an hour, intending to then head out on the road with one of our team and ending up staying the entire day? The simplest solution to this is to begin your day on the road and if you must, end it in the office. This applies in many ways for all those business owners who say that they can’t get around to “walk the floor” …. do it first thing rather than leaving it until you are bogged down
10. Doing the right thing, or doing the thing right?
Peter Drucker and Stephen Covey have written much about ensuring our time is devoted to doing the things that matter and will make a difference. For a business owner, the right things are results, working on the business rather than in it, managing the mission and vision, taking care of the team and developing others to help you run your business more effectively and efficiently.
As you head off home each day consider – how did you add value to the future of the business? If you can answer this with specifics, chances are the management of your time is just one more thing you have well under control!
Time Management is essentially effective management of ourselves and the resources we have. It’s a skill that can be learned and one that adds considerable value to the work we do and the outcomes we generate.
Till Next Time
Mike Gardner is The Time Doctor