How to Manage your Time like a Boss with These 6 Techniques
Posted on 2nd March 2017 in Business
Written by James Marren
It doesn’t matter what part of the world you’re based, time management is crucial to your business’ success. In this blog, we share with you the insights gleaned from our conversations with successful entrepreneurs’ from all over the world. So if you’re from London, Tokyo, New York or Moscow, there will be some top advice here that applies to you.
All business owners, heck, all humans, will say that time is your greatest asset in life. You can lose out on that deal, lose huge sums of money, even go bankrupt, and though it may be difficult, all of this is retrievable.
What is absolutely not retrievable, is your time. While you can’t remove all interruptions from your working life, you do have a choice as to how much time you spend on them and how much you spend on things that really make the difference to your business and drive its success.
We are fortunate to speak with numerous business owners and we’ve noticed a trend in how the most successful organise their time. This blog rounds up the best time management techniques that we’ve observed, heard, tried and tested.
Audit your day
A great first step is to do a time audit of your day. This means choosing an average work day to write down and track all the things you do, and the amount of time spent on them, from the moment you wake up until you go to sleep at night.
The point of doing this will become clearer as you read on, but essentially your audit is key to uncovering where your time is being best spent and where it’s being wasted. You can try Toggl or Harvest which are online apps to make time tracking so simple you will actually do it.
Identify your big time wasters
Use your audit along with some honest self-reflection to identify exactly where you’re wasting the time in your day and implement changes to rectify this. Categories to consider include; email, phone calls, meetings, breaks, errands, and other non-productive tasks.
Pareto Principle (80/20)
The 80/20 rule, suggested by management thinker Joseph M. Juran which he named after an Italian Economist, in essence, says that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts.
If you are aware of this, you can begin to identify what gets you the most bang for your minute. The key then is to focus your time on the 20% area that’s getting you the best results for your business so you can invest more time here.
Again, the audit is crucial for this, but so is having access to up-to-date business financials and forecasts. This allows you to truly understand what is working and identify your progress against your budget and forecast. If you’re not sure of the difference between budgets and forecasts, you can find out here.
Plan your day, every day
We highly recommend spending your first 30 mins at home or work, planning your day ahead. Better yet, complete it the night before so you are ready to tackle your first tasks. DON’T start anything else until you complete your plan – it should be your priority.
Any task or conversation that you identify as key to your business’ success, needs to have a time assigned to it. Use it as your compass and when you are inevitably interrupted and knocked off course, have the discipline to just go back to the next item on your list and set yourself back on your way.
Know what success looks like before you start
Taking just five minutes before a call, or meeting, to think about the outcome you desire, can make a huge difference. It helps you identify success and attracts the result you want.
Likewise taking five mins after your activity, allows you to identify what went right or wrong, and you can adapt for the next time round. This process can save you so much time, and money, in the long run, as you begin to eliminate unnecessary repeated mistakes.
Do not disturb
Finally, when you just absolutely have to get something done, turn off your phone, email, social media, etc. and put up a ‘Do not disturb’ sign until you finish. This requires huge self-discipline, but it’s important to hold in perspective the fact that your business won’t implode if you answer an email a little late, or miss a phone call. Just apologise and deal with it once you’ve taken care of your priorities. Imagine how fun your next cash flow forecast will be, without interruptions!
For added motivation, you can forecast how an increase in your productivity will impact your business. When you see just how much your bottom line improves after making changes that increase your efficiency, you will find you have far more willpower to keep things the way, deep down, you know they should be!