Time Management

We all have loads of things to do and never enough time to do them all...

Running our own businesses generally means that we have many matters competing for our attention. Successful entrepreneurs tend to stay on top because they have clearly defined objectives and priorities.

In any business there are four core resources :-
  • Time
  • People
  • Money
  • Equipment
People, money and equipment are all replaceable – time is unique; it is irreplaceable.

So what can we do about it?

Start with the end in mind. If you are happy with missed opportunities - working late into the night and all the extra stresses that comes with it - then fine. Do nothing...

But wouldn’t it be nice to be able to occasionally collect the kids from school or have an afternoon off playing golf?

So having established the WIFM (that’s What is in It For Me) how can we make it happen?

Firstly, establish your priorities and objectives - i.e. meeting customers' expectations profitably. That last word is crucial as, without profit, your business will at some point run out of funds.

Now keep a time log, broken down into 30 minute chunks throughout the day. It doesn’t need to be squeaky accurate – just as long as you get the picture of how you are operating during the day/night. Keep the list going for a couple of weeks – a month would be ideal.

Now compare your time log with your objectives. Are there things that you can delegate or outsource? Are you spending too much time with irrelevant details?

Now reassess your priorities and be ruthless.

Divide your work into piles:
  • Must do’s
  • Should do’s
  • Could do’s
  • WPB*
The Must Do’s are critical to the business and need to happen. Examples of these include sales meetings with clients, and submitting the dreaded VAT return. No option but to go for it.

The Should Do’s are less important activities, but they may lead to improvements in the business. Generally, these tasks do not carry the same time constraints and should only be tackled once all the essential tasks have been dealt with.

The Could Do’s are those non-essential things to do. They may be interesting and fun, but are not critical to the success of the business. As such, they should be scheduled for slack periods or even disregarded. When was the last time that you filled in one of those market research questionnaires for a company?

Remember to be flexible and allow priorities to change.

And finally, the last job of the day should be the tasks list for tomorrow, and a review of what worked and what didn’t.

*Waste Paper Bin :-)

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