Many of the business owners I work with come to me exhausted, discouraged, and at the end of their ropes. “There’s not enough time in a day,” they tell me. “I’m working harder than ever just to keep my head above water. I know I need to spend more time focusing on strategic growth, but how will I ever find it?”
If that sounds familiar, then please read on. Because if there’s one problem I see entrepreneurs battle with over and over again, it’s trying to manage their time effectively.
Fortunately, there is a solution you can work on – The Time Management Plan.
Here’s what you need to do…
1. Learn the Four Dimensions of Effective Time Management. This framework comes from Dr. Steven Covey’s classic book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. In it, he proposed that there are four quadrants into which all tasks fall:
A) Important and Urgent
B) Important and Non Urgent
C) Not Important and Urgent
D) Not Important and Not Urgent
The first quadrant, important and urgent, consists of things you simply must do NOW: fire fighting, and so on.
The second quadrant, important and not urgent, is the “quality time” quadrant. It consists of critical tasks that can be scheduled in advance. Working on your business plan, personal recreation, and time with family belong here.
The third quadrant consists of not important and urgent tasks. These are distractions and interruptions, unimportant emails, tasks, and phone calls that compete for your attention in the moment.
The fourth quadrant, not important and not urgent, is the “time-wasting” quadrant: online games, trivia, unproductive meetings and so on.
2. Track the way you spend your time. Your next step is to begin tracking everything you do for at least one business week. Write everything down, either as you do it, or every 3-4 hours. At the end of the day, go back and assign a quadrant to each of your tasks. If you are like most, this will be a very illuminating experience. Be honest with yourself and then be ruthless with tasks that should be eliminated as the first step.
3. Delegate where you can. I know, delegation is hard for independent, high-charging entrepreneurs who want to make sure everything is done right and don’t feel comfortable leaving their fate in someone else’s hands. But if you ever want to turn your business into a revenue-producing asset, you must work on this.
After you’re done tracking your time for the week (and you have eliminated initial tasks), go through your logs and identify every task you could have given to someone else. Then, begin the process of assigning those tasks to others. It might require that you do some restructuring of your employees’ job descriptions (though in many cases, you can hand the tasks over without too much trouble). It might mean looking for external support if you work on your own.
4. Fill the resource gaps. You might find that you don’t have sufficient resources to cover the workload once you identify the tasks you really should be delegating. That’s when it’s time to recruit new people or to look to outsource and use other resources available.
5. Use a “Default Calendar”. Your default calendar shows you what to do each hour of each day to be optimally effective. You block the most important things in your schedule as an appointment with yourself so that you can hold yourself accountable and achieve lasting success. These mostly fall into the “important and not urgent” quadrant and should be treated like a client meeting. This is one of the most powerful approaches to time management you will ever use.
This whole process can be challenging to implement on your own, so for help, reach out for a Complimentary Business Development with me.
You can contact me at 07912143040 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to book a meeting.