Time, or lack of it, is one of the most common problems we hear from, well everyone.
Running your business does indeed take up a lot of your time. It’s like another child. It needs constant care and attention to grow and thrive. But time shouldn’t be a reason that you can’t reach your goals or complete that outstanding task.
It seems like we are all just so busy being busy. It becomes the main excuse for dropping the ball on the parts of our business that we find boring or uninspired. Or even the parts of our business that we didn’t realise needed doing until they weren’t being done.
So, if ‘I’ve not got enough time’ is no excuse for not doing something, what can we do if there are only 24 hours in a day?
Do you know what you are currently spending all of your time doing? We reckon most business owners have very little understanding of where their hours go each day. Moreover, if they did understand where their day went, they would be able to make better decisions about how best to use that time.
This is where time tracking comes in.
If you commit to tracking your time over a week or two, you’ll be surprised at how much you can reclaim. Apps such as Timely or Toggl can help you understand where your time is being focused during the day. Use the information to set boundaries and make the right decisions about your business.
Simple things such as setting clear times during the day that you check emails, for example, can save you time and limit expectations for instant responses.
According to the Harvard Business Review, at least one-quarter of activities can fall into being either a. not important for you or your company or b. easy to drop, delegate, or outsource. You need to identify what those tasks are first.
Minimise the meetings
We know that meetings with clients and our support team are essential to keeping communication channels open. But do we need to spend so much time on meetings?
We think not. You spend time back and forth getting a mutually agreeable time booked in. Then when you’ve finally found one, you automatically book in an hour. You also need to prepare for the meeting and have a follow-up email. You’ve probably spent in excess of three hours for a one-hour meeting by this point.
Once you understand how much time you are using here, you can put things in place to save you time. Use a booking app that syncs with your calendar. If you need a meeting, have that person book in with you at a time that suits them where they can see your availability immediately.
Unless you really need to speak to them for an hour, try to get your meetings down to 30 minutes max. In fact, set that as the automated time slot, leaving you to decide if you need more.
If you schedule an hour, you’ll spend an hour. But if you schedule 30 minutes, can you get everything done in that time?
And before you agree to travel for that meeting, ask yourself if face-to-face is going to be enough of a benefit to justify the travel time.
You cannot do everything in your business. Work to your strengths and delegate everything else to experts in the field. By concentrating your efforts on what you are good at, you will help your business grow.
Be careful about what you do outsource. If you don’t have a head for numbers then it makes sense to get a financial expert on board. They will save you time and money in the long term.
Likewise, if you’re trying to be present on all social media platforms then you are going to quickly burn out. Hire someone to understands where your audience is hanging out and have them manage that platform.
Participants in the Harvard Business Review study delegated between 2% and 20% of their work. Not only did the overall team not see a decline in productivity but junior employees reported that they benefit from receiving the work.
You started your business because you were passionate about what you do best. Get back to this and let others support you along the way.
Setting clear boundaries and expectations is essential to good time management.
Perhaps you have a home office. It can be tempting to put on that load of washing before starting work. By setting yourself clear working hours, you give yourself a home/work boundary where you don’t feel the need to do that 5-minute task.
Or maybe you have workers and clients who like to phone you and disrupt your concentration. Sometimes you do need to take that call. Most of the time, that call can wait for a time that suits you. Putting your phone out of the room will help you resist the temptation to check it, too.
Schedule, schedule, schedule
If you really are short on time then schedule your day accordingly. This way you will be able to identify the gaps you have at the start of the day and know how you are going to use that time.
Don’t forget to put in the time for yourself. Adding your gym visit to your diary means that no one can book in a meeting over that time. Giving yourself time will also prevent you from feeling overworked.
If you struggle with diary management, this is one of those jobs that you can delegate which will free up more of your time.
Productive, not busy
As we said at the start of this article most people are busy with the job of being busy. This does not always equate into productiveness.
If you’ve tracked your time and found that this is you, why not try the Pomodoro method? This is particularly useful if you are compulsively checking your phone or email.
Set a timer on your phone or watch for 45 minutes. Work solidly throughout that time. No checking phones. When the alarm goes, take a 15-minute break. Repeat this another two times and then take an hour break.
By breaking your time up like this, you should find you are more productive because you are focusing on one task alone. You will also take regular breaks, which will help you be clear on what you need to do next.
If you have the systems and support in place then time should never be a reason that you can’t get something done in your business.
Get a free review
As part of The Clubhouse partnership, Designated are offering a free comprehensive Business Review, based on this research by the Harvard Business Review who claim you can save up to one day a week of your time to dedicate to the most important work. The review, worth £900, is completely free to The Clubhouse members. By freeing up time you can focus your energy on realizing your plan.
If you want to talk to us about how we can help you reclaim some of your time, get in touch call us on 020 7952 1460 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Let us help deliver your most important outcomes.