Where Does My Time Go?
‘Where does my time go?’ ‘There is never enough time.’
We’ve all said this at some point in our business and lives, haven’t we? Yet time is the one thing we all have the same amount of – 24 hours of it each and every day!
As business owners, time is often the largest contributor to the stress we feel on a daily basis. So how can we find more time in our day and reduce the stress time creates?
Managing your time is crucial to business success. If you can’t control time, it will control you.
Here are just some of the issues time can cause in your business and life:
• blurry boundaries between work and home life – taking work home and working ‘out of hours’ affects your family and relationships
• disorganisation and loss of efficiency – costs your business money
• stress and a constant feeling of being overworked – your health suffers
• resentment of your business and those around you – unproductive mindset
Success seems unattainable when you feel like you are not in control of your time and your business cannot grow sustainably under these conditions.
So how do we find more time? Let’s take a look at your daily/weekly routine.
Make Time or Create Time
When it comes to what you do on a daily/ weekly basis, there is no doubt you are busy. No-one in business is twiddling their thumbs with time to spare.
If you did an audit of your daily/weekly routine, I guarantee you would find some tasks you could do quicker, do less of or even do without.
The key to finding more time is to create time. We do this by reassessing what you already do rather than trying to ‘make’ time for more things in your day.
Classifying Your Time
The first step is to do a simple exercise of writing down all of the tasks you do across a week. Make it easy and keep a notepad or piece of paper with you while you work, and write down tasks as you do them.
It doesn’t need to be perfect, you don’t need to time yourself (do this if you want to also review the time you spend on tasks but it’s not necessary for this exercise). Your goal is to end up with a list of as many tasks as possible that you do across a week.
The next step is to look for tasks you can re-classify.
Here is an example:
You’ve identified the following tasks that occur across your week:
- Social Media Post Creation
- Social Media Scheduling
- Blog Writing
- Sales Invoicing
- Client Calls – new client leads
- Order fulfilment
- Answering emails
- Answering customer service queries
- Refund processing
- Recording of business stats for tracking
- Followup of outstanding invoices for payment
- Stock Ordering / StockTake
These tasks could be reclassified in a number of ways to help find more time in your day. Here are some examples:
1. Batching: Similar tasks done together in a block of time to maximise efficiency eg writing time = social media post creation and blog writing.
2. Delegating: Bookkeeping and Social Media Scheduling could be outsourced or given to a staff member (if you employ staff).
3. Focus Time: Think about what part of the day you do each task. Do tasks that require concentration or are better done in one uninterrupted stretch of time while the office/business is quiet.
4. Automating: Find things that occur regularly that could be automated, or partially automated. eg are you maximising the automation functions in your bookkeeping software.
5. Processes: Are there things you do regularly that you could write a process for as you do them. This will identify things within the process of a task that could be automated and things you could set up a template for that make them quicker to do next time. Tip: Writing processes also sets you up to outsource tasks when you are ready so they are done how you do them.
Reduce or Remove
When you do an audit of your daily/weekly tasks, you also have the opportunity to identify tasks that take up way more time than the results they provide to your business.
Ask yourself this question for every task on your list – ‘What results does this bring to my business?’
You will find more time by reducing those tasks or removing them from your weekly routine altogether.
So how did you go? I’d love to hear what tips you have for finding more time in your day.
Let me know! You can reach me on email – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s to finding more time in your day,