It’s crucial to free up your time if you’re serious about making changes in your business, but you’re so busy already, how are you going to achieve it?
Everyone has the same number of hours, minutes and seconds in the day, so why are there never enough, and how do some people manage better than others?
It’s all about taking control of your time and how you spend it, so let’s have a look at some easy wins to get your time back.
1. Block out time in your calendar
If you don’t set time aside, you’re always going to be putting off the important stuff you need to be working on.
So block time in your calendar, and protect it just as you would a meeting with one of your clients or your team.
Work out when you’re most effective:
Before you block time out, work out what time of the day you’re most effective and productive. This is the time of day you need to set aside to work on your business.
You might think that your most productive time should be set aside for your customers, but you have to get your business right first, so this is where you need to spend your time.
How much time do you need to block out?
Ideally 90 minutes a day, at your most productive time of day.
If this feels too much, start with 90 minutes a week, but get it set up in your calendar as a repeating event.
Build up to 2 x 90 minutes, and keep moving forward until you’ve set 90 minutes every day in your calendar.
You might think about setting one day a week aside for working on your business, but be careful here.
If you don’t break up that day into shorter chunks, the day will have disappeared without you achieving anything useful!
Let people know you’ve blocked out time!
It’s really important that everyone knows about your new time blocking routine, otherwise you’ll find your calendar being filled.
Make sure your team are on board, and respect your time, otherwise you’ll be on the back foot from the start.
Help them to understand why time blocking is so important, and what you’re trying to achieve.
Ask the team what they can do to help you to prioritise your time on the right things.
2. List all the tasks you shouldn’t be doing, or don’t want to be doing
This is the first task we get all of our growing clients to sit down and do, and their senior teams too.
Think of it as therapy.
Start listing all the things
Choose your preferred form of note taking – could be hand written notes, sticky notes, a note taking app, voice notes etc.
Now just start listing all the things that are taking up your time.
You’ll find that as you start making notes, more things will pop into your head, and the ideas will just flow.
Now group the tasks into similar types
Have a look at your list, I bet there are tasks that naturally group together.
For example it might be bookkeeping and paying people. Could be answering the phone and making calls.
Might be writing blogs and posting on social media.
3. What can you outsource?
Who could be completing these tasks for you?
You may be able to pass on these groups of tasks to an employee, or you could consider outsourcing.
Think about the right person for the job, and start making plans and talking to them.
Things to outsource:
There is so much you could outsource, but here are some easy ones:
- Marketing and social media
- Website design and updates
- Bookkeeping, VAT and payroll
- Management reporting.
- HR support
- Making and receiving calls, managing your database and CRM system
What does it cost to outsource?
This all depends, so it’s worth getting some quotes.
Here’s our blog on how much an accountant costs, to give you an idea of what you can outsource to us.
When looking at outsourcing, it’s crucial to focus on how much time you are getting back, and what you could do with that time.
What is your hourly rate, and how many hours do you think you’re going to get back each week?
Also look at how much peace of mind and reassurance you’ll get by passing on work to an expert in their field
4. Delegate ruthlessly
You’re not going to get anywhere if you do the same things you’ve always done.
If you’re a small business owner, it’s likely that you set the business up on your own, so you’ve got used to doing all the things.
But hey, that’s why you have a team of people around you, whether they’re employees, or other businesses that you outsource to.
You should be working on your business, not in your business, so the tasks you’re used to doing need to be delegated to someone else.
- “but it’s easier if I do it myself”
- “no one can do it as well as I can”
- “it’ll take too long to show someone else”
Could be valid reasons, but sound like excuses to me! Think of the time you spend delegating to someone else as an investment.
5. The 1-3-1 Method of Delegation
It can be hard delegating to someone else, and you may feel like you’re still doing everything, or that they haven’t picked things up properly.
When your team come to you with a problem, do you step in and immediately try to come up with an answer to the problem?
This may seem helpful, but it actually isn’t, as you’re not helping your team to help themselves.
It’s all in the process.
The 1-3-1 method is a really good tool to help you to delegate effectively.
The ultimate outcome is that your team member will be able to carry out tasks by themselves, but we have to start somewhere:
1: What is the one problem?
Sometimes this isn’t always obvious. Do your team members come to you and throw something at you, but you’re not sure what they want, or how you can help?
This step will enable you to support your team member to identify what the actual problem is.
To start with, you may translate the issue they’ve come to you with, to find out the problem. If so, talk them through your thinking.
Ultimately, you want your team member to come to you with the problem.
3: Find 3 possible solutions
Now it’s time to support your team member to come up with 3 possible solutions to the problem.
At the outset, you may need to come up with each solution, and talk your team member through your thinking.
Then move forward, with you only suggesting one solution, and your team member suggesting the other 2.
You may need to ask the right questions to get them to think about what the possible solutions may be.
Remember, these early steps are all about investing in your team for the long term.
Ultimately, your team will come up with all the solutions!
1: What’s the 1 right solution?
Once you’ve identified 3 possible solutions above, you want to pick the best solution that will solve the problem.
Again you’re likely to have to work this out yourself to start with, but take your team member through your thinking, and ask them what solution they would come up with.
Make time to have a proper discussion with the team to understand the 3 possible solutions and how to choose the right one.
In time, they’ll come up with the 1 solution out of the 3 on offer.
The ultimate objective here is that your team member will come to you and say
“Oh, we had this issue with Mr Pitt, and this is what I did to resolve it”
That would be amazing!
We work with entrepreneurs to help you make your mark and achieve your dreams.
Check out our How We Work page to to see how we could work with you.
“Time assets vs. Time debts.
Time assets are choices that save you time in the future. Think: saying no to a meeting, automating a task, working on something that persists and compounds.
Time debts are choices that must be repaid and cost you time in the future. Think: saying yes to a meeting, doing sloppy work that will need to be revised, etc.
Time assets are an investment. Time debts are an expense.”