Ain’t nobody got time for that!
We all struggle with time management in some way, shape, or form, and this couldn’t be truer than for small business owners. You are the lifeblood that pumps through your business; day in and day out. Sure, you might have some employees to help steer the ship, but you are the engine that keeps everything moving forward.
Being able to do more with what you have is a skill that will ultimately define your success in business and in life. Time, much like money, is one of those resources that we all wish we had more of because there are countless options when deciding how we spend it.
The major difference between those who appear to manage their time more effectively than others is not what they do with their time, it’s what they don’t do with their time that matters.
The whole concept of time management is broken. You simply can’t manage something as finite as time. There will only ever be 24 hours in a day. Doing things faster allows you to get more things done in theory, but efficiency is only one part of the puzzle.
Let’s take a look at a few ways we can change the way we think about time management, and ultimately give ourselves more time for the things that really matter.
Urgent vs. Important
Logically, we try to prioritize our work so we can focus on the most important things first. Owning a business is stressful because the decisions you make on a day-to-day basis could make or break your business. So what do you do when everything is important?
Urgency ends up dictating how we go about choosing what we tackle next. Dr. Stephen Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People teaches us about urgency vs. importance. Being able to figure out where items on your to-do list land in terms of importance and urgency will go a long way to helping you become more effective with the time you have.
To truly break free from the cycle of perpetual work, you’ll have to change the way you think about time. Think about Dr. Stephen Covey’s chart below next time you are prioritizing your tasks.
Time is Money.
We hear the saying “Time is Money” all the time, and this will actually be the key to unlocking the secret of creating more time for yourself. Think about time like wealthy people think about money. Compound interest is what allows the rich to get richer and is the fundamental principle behind getting more out of the time that you have.
So what does compound interest have to do with time? Earning interest allows you to multiply your money which greatly increases the speed at which you accumulate wealth. Being able to multiply your time is going to allow you to make a bigger impact with the things you choose to spend time on.
But how do I multiply my time?
It may be true that the day only has 24 hours, but the future holds an infinite amount of time that is just as valuable – if not more so – than the time you have right now. Since time is something that you spend, the time you can save will end up paying off as you create more time for yourself in the future.
Rory Vaden teaches us that to truly rethink time management, you must go beyond simply saving time and think about how the actions you make today affect the time you will have in the future.
Considering the significance of the things you choose to do will help you identify time wasters because at the end of the day, if the actions you complete only make a difference in the short term, you constantly let yourself be derailed by decisions that have no lasting impact on your future.
Here are Rory Vaden’s three fundamental ways to analyze your to-do list in order to focus precious time on significant tasks that will buy you more time not today, but tomorrow and each day after that. Short term pain for a long term, lasting gain.
1. Can the action be eliminated?
Eliminate the things that are not important, have no urgency and do not carry any significance towards saving you time in the future. The key to effectively eliminating time wasters is keeping in mind the length of time for which the outcome of that action will have significance. A great example of this is constantly checking your email or social media feeds.
2. Can the action be automated?
Technology enables us to stay connected anytime, anywhere. There are countless apps, tools, tricks and tips out there to help you be more effective through automation. Does your phone ring around the clock? Most business owners would love to have this problem, but when you don’t have time to actually get jobs done, it could be the time to think about hiring a secretary or an answering service..
3. Can the action be delegated?
Delegation can be one of the hardest skills to master as a small business owner. Your business and reputation were built upon your combined knowledge and abilities. How could anyone possibly do as good of a job as you? The final stage of multiplying your time is being able to let go of certain tasks and trust in those around you to get things done. Others will never learn if you do not give them the chance, and the only way someone can get to be as good as you, is over time.
The sooner you begin delegating tasks to those around you, the quicker they will become fully capable of taking them on in the future. This creates more time for you to focus on proactive tasks and grow your business!
After deciding which tasks on your to-do list can be eliminated, automated, or delegated, you’ll start to have more time for the things that truly matter to the success of your business and your happiness as a person.
The first step on the long journey to freedom from the mountain of work you’re piled under might seem far away today, but the quicker you begin implementing your newfound perspective on time, the sooner you will begin to feel relief!
TL; DR (aka. too long, didn’t read – for you noobs)
Consider the long term significance of the things you do before you say yes to taking them on.
Eliminate time wasters by asking if they are truly necessary.
Automate routine tasks to free up more time in the future.
Delegation is the key to freeing up your time to focus on what really matters to you and your business.
Managing your time effectively is hard and nothing will ever be perfect. Get over it.
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The Better Software Company
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About The Better Software Company
The Better Software Company offers a fully-integrated Franchise Operating System (FOS) to help owners improve and simplify their entire business, using a cloud-based model. Integrated features, including CRM, scheduling, billing & invoicing, reporting & analytics and inventory management, offer business owners simplicity and ease of use that will save time. The software is configured to service small and medium sized enterprises in a diversity of vertical markets. The Better Software Company is based in Ottawa, Canada.