17 ways to turn less of your time into more money:
1. Set Clear Priorities
The foundation of time management a clear understanding of what your time is best spent on. Once you accept that you can’t do everything, you need to decide what needs to be completed now, what can be completed later, and what someone else can complete.
2. Use Your Skills – Delegate Your Weaknesses
As a business owner, your day naturally consists of tasks you dislike doing. Some are essential – signing checks, reviewing financial statements, and other business maintenance – while others are simply not within your skill set. Know your strengths and delegate your weaknesses. Doing so will save your time for tasks that use and strengthen your skills effectively, reduce your stress, and ultimately produce a better product.
3. Delegate, Delegate, Delegate
As a business owner, the only way you will ever get everything done is by delegating. Delegation is a vital skill that needs to be refined and practiced, and once mastered is the key to profitable time management.
4. Learn to Say “No”
It’s easy to fall into the habit of saying yes to everything. You are, after all the business owner, right? No one can complete these tasks as well as you, right? Wrong! Most successful business owners have a keen understanding of how their time is best spent, and delegate the remaining responsibilities to trusted others.
5. Create (and keep!) a Strict Schedule
Do not multi-task … attempting to do too many things at one time ensures that nothing gets done. You need to be able to focus and concentrate on essential projects without interruptions. Once you understand your work style and concentration patterns, allocate periods of the day to specific tasks.
6. Make Decisions
The choice to not make a decision is a decision in itself. Jimmy Buffett, song writer and performer has a line in one of his songs that sums this up: “Indecision may or may not be my problem.” Successful business owners have the ability to make good decisions quickly and efficiently, and do not waste time deliberating over simple choices.
7. Manage Telephone Interruptions
If you are available to take phone calls at any time of day, you are setting yourself up to take work home in the evenings. The phone will always ring when you are focused on an important task and this is something can easily be avoided. Figure out when you are most productive. Once you have identified this time period, set your phone so that your calls go directly to voicemail and then reply to your calls after you complete your task.
8. Keep Your Work Environment Organized
If your desk and office is in a constant state of chaos, then you mind will be too. In fact, some studies have revealed that the average senior business leader spends nearly four weeks each year navigating through messy or cluttered desks, looking for lost information. Does that sound like productive time to you?
9. Keep Your Filing System Organized
If your data isn’t organized properly, you will waste hundreds of hours searching for documents you need on a regular basis. Organize it! This includes both electronic and hard copy files; they need to be organized and up to date.
10. Clearly Communicate – Never Assume
One of the biggest issues for time management in business – and likely the world – is miscommunication. Establish and enforce clear policies on things like accurate note taking, task assignments, and phone messages to ensure your staff understands the importance of clear and accurate communication.
11. Stop Duplicating Efforts
Studies have continually shown that many businesses often duplicate and triplicate efforts that need only be completed once. When you have clear systems and procedures in place, your staff will not need to “reinvent the wheel” each time the task needs to be completed.
12. Say Goodbye to Procrastination
Procrastination is something we all face at one time or another. However, given the pace that the world operates at today, you will only fall behind your competitor if you allow procrastination to rule your day. So how you do avoid it? It’s simple, just get started, no matter how boring, tedious, or painful the project may be. Reward yourself by crossing each step off your to-do list.
13. Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan
Many studies show that less than 10% of small businesses have up to date marketing and business plans, as compared to the majority of large corporations and public companies, which have both. Marketing and business plans take time and effort to create – but they work, and pay off in spades. They also save you time and money as compared to a haphazard or fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants strategy. A business plan will provide you with a guide to reference when making decisions. You can repeatedly ask if the endeavor at hand will contribute to your overall vision, or just seems like a good idea or price.
14. Avoid Needless, Impromptu + Unstructured Meetings
This may seem like a time theft issue that is out of your control, but it’s not. You are in control of your own time, and through strict scheduling can establish a structure for internal and external meetings that everyone around you can work within.
15. Establish Clear Policies + Procedures
A clear policy and procedures manual is like a marketing or business plan – it takes time to create, but ultimately saves everyone in your company time, money and effort. A step-by-step guide to “the way we do things here” is an invaluable resource for your existing and new staff, and provides clear expectations for how you like things done.
16. Keep the Right Set of Tools
The equipment your business needs to operate (and grow!) effectively should always be on hand, or easily contracted out. This is specific to each company, and closely related to costs – including the cost of your time.
17. Maintain Your Equipment
This may seem obvious, but you’ll understand the importance if your network server has ever crashed, or point of sale system has malfunctioned. Your business can be slowed to a stand-still if your equipment is not in good working order. Regular maintenance of your essential equipment will reduce these occurrences and help to anticipate when old equipment needs to be repaired or replaced.
Get you time back now. Choose the top 5, highest impact strategies to help you and your business and implement one strategy each week for the next 5 weeks.
Over the years, by focusing on what is truly important, I have helped my clients achieve significant growth and free up time to enjoy life.