If I were to name one topic that almost every business coaching client of mine needs improvement in, it would be time management. In fact, I've never met a soul who has claimed that they couldn't use at least a little bit of help in that department.
Here are 5 ways you can work on your own time management:
1. Take control of your time
The first step is to really look at how you are spending your time each day. To do this begin by writing it down. In the same way people are told to keep a food diary when they want to lose weight, keep track of how you spend every minute and do it for at least two weeks. Record every phone call, meeting, lunch, coffee meeting, drive time, etc.
Then determine your Return on Investment for meetings, calls, etc. and adjust so you are spending the most time on the items that give you the biggest return
For example – can a lunch be a coffee, can a coffee be a call? Don’t let others suck your time away – stay focused – which leads us to number two – which can be an all-consuming task
2. Take control of email once and for all!
Make 2013 the year you take control of one of the biggest challenges everyone – especially business owners face – keeping email in check. Vow to check your email only twice a day – period, end of story. And when you do it, set a time limit and sit down and create a list of responses:
- Read and file
- Read and respond
- Mark to read and answer later
Create files for each vendor, client, prospect, etc. and file the email once you have read it.
Once a month, set aside 2 hours to clean out email – organize, archive or delete.
Have a separate email address to handle personal issues with family, personal interests, etc.
By having a regularly scheduled time and system, you eliminate the constant checking of email which hurts focus and the ability to get important tasks completed.
3. Prioritize each day
Start every day by listing the six most important things you can do for the day. Do not do anything else until those six things are done. This should not be the six most annoying items or items someone else says are urgent, they are the six most important goals to help you achieve your business goals, whether it is calling a prospect or finishing a project for a client.
Write your goals down the night before or first thing in the morning
4. Batch your tasks each week
This is one of the best time management tools around. Set a schedule and determine certain days when you do certain activities and stick with that as best as possible.
For example –
Monday – Office day - handle employee meetings, issues, pay bills, sign checks – then work on client tasks.
Tuesday – Work on pre-determined client project work in office – No external meetings or lunches.
Wednesday and Friday - Client meeting days.
Thursday – Business development days – tasks, calls and meetings that center around building your business.
If a client says to you “I need to see you Tuesday” and it must happen, then switch your days for that week.
The goal is to stack the deck in your favor – you are never going to have it 100 percent. If you see that clients only want to meet on Tuesdays, then switch your schedule.
Bottom line is to build a framework and adjust when big needs arise such as a client needing something immediately.
5. Trim the suckers
Take a hard look at the three biggest “time suckers” in your life and resolve to take control:
o Employees interrupting to ask constant questions that aren’t urgent.
o The friend who calls in the middle of the day “to chat”.
o The client who pays you very little and takes a lot of your time.
Once you determine them – take steps to resolve them. For example, set aside specific times for employee issues and empower them to resolve issues on their own.
Schedule friend time outside of your work time and stick with it – that is why you have voicemail.
Review clients – and get rid of the ones who are not worth the time and money.
To quote Albert Einstein – “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”
So what do you think? Give me your comments and feedback below. And, oh, by the way, don't forget to tell a friend if you like what you see! xo