Time ManagementJun 13, 2022
Do you feel like the day is pushing you around? Have you gotten home after a long day and can't think of one thing you accomplished that day? You are not alone. I have felt that many times and still feel that from time to time. Time management is just that; something to be managed. It is not a one and done event. You have to keep coming back to it and fine tuning, adjusting and cutting. What is time management? It really is managing your priorities. To do that you first need to know what your priorities are, in business and in your personal life. You don't stop being a person when you get to work, so it seems like your personal life doesn’t stop just because you clock in. That said, work probably should be on top of your priority list. Seeing how it may provide for the other priorities in your life. So how do you do it? What can be done about the myriad of disruptions and distractions that take control of our day? Below are a few steps that will help you manage your time and stay focused on your priorities.
- Perform a time audit. Track your time for two or three weeks. Be honest and diligent. This will help you understand where your time has gone and what is taking you off task the most. Some may know about the 7 areas of waste in manufacturing. It can have so much more application than just in business. These areas of waste will be discovered as you perform the time audit.
- Waiting - are you spending time waiting for others instead of working on tasks
- Over production - doing too much or someone else's job.
- Rejects - poor quality work means you have to re-do it, or work that is not in line with the companies strategy or vision
- Excess motion - are there ways to do things smarter rather than harder?
- Over Processing - paralysis by analysis, like over production but it is a failure to complete the job
- Excess Inventory - spending too much time in one area or having too much time allotted to things that can be automated
- Transportation - spending time in the car rather than using a zoom meeting, walking to talk to someone when an email would suffice.
- Identify your current time block. From the audit, you are not only looking for waste but how is your day organized? Is there too much stopping and starting? How much time you are spending on your priorities and how much time is spent on busy work, work that someone else should do or work that is taking you in a different direction than your goals. Categorize your days in terms of priority time sensitive, priority not time sensitive, non-priority time sensitive, non-priority not time sensitive. Anything in that last category should be on the list in the next step.
- Prepare a Stop Doing list. From your work in step 2, stop doing the last category altogether. The second to last category might be limited or delegated. The first two categories are now ready for the next step.
- Time Block your perfect week. When do you want to work on your priority tasks? Mornings, afternoons, evenings? Set appointments with yourself for those tasks. Are some of your priorities not in your day at all? This is where you insert them. I have a set appointment two times a week for martial arts training. It is right in the middle of the day. I need that time to be a better executive, manager, employee. It re-charges me for the rest of the week that sometimes drains me. I also have two appointments with myself per week where I schedule nothing. I am just thinking. They aren't long appointments, but they are so necessary. Do you have a block for exercise? Thinking? Time with your spouse? Time with God? Whatever you say your priorities are, prove it by setting appointment for them. And then protect those times. Using the next step will help here.
- Automate some processes. Save time by automating some processes. I discovered Calendly.com. It is extremely helpful in booking appointments with clients and staff. I send the potential appointment participant the link, they click on it and see what days and times are available. They select one and confirm it. I then get a notification that an appointment has been set and it now appears on my Outlook calendar. So much time saved. Also, because I set when I am available, my priority times mentioned above are protected. This isn't the only thing that can be automated. Instead of reading every email use the rules function to move it to the right folder or to another person on the team.
Following these steps won't solve all your problems, but it will help you manage them better. Remember, they call this "time management." It has to be managed. You may need to go through this exercise once a year. I heard a business advisor say that he looks at all his responsibilities each year and delegates half to open his time up for new activities. I'm not sure I would go that far, but you may find through this process that half of what you are doing is unnecessary. That is awesome! You need to allocate time to your priorities. And if you do get rid of half your activities, that's more time for your spouse and kids! Start small with delegating and your stop doing list. The more you go through this process the easier it will get. It's like moving, you never know how much crap you own until its time to move. Don't wait until moving day to get rid of the clutter.
I hope this helps! Please write a review, tell us what you think! I also have a podcast on Spotify called "Coaching for Profit". Visit our website at www.bkm-cpa.com or give us a call at 844-316-6528. BKM pc Certified Public Accountants, Your Virtual CPA Firm!
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