3½ ways to buy back your time …
and what to do with it when you do
One of the biggest frustrations I see with business owners, no matter where in the world they are, is a lack of time. I don’t mean that they literally have less time than anyone else; what I mean is that they don’t seem to get through the important things in a day. Let’s look at 3½ ways that you can buy back your time and start to work ON your business and spend less time working IN your business:
Stop doing ‘D’ grade tasks
During the course of any week I bet there is such a diverse range of tasks that you complete (or at least half complete). Some of these may be valuable and some just a pain in the (censored). Take out a pen and paper and brainstorm for 10 minutes: what are the tasks that you find yourself doing every day, week and month — all the tasks; the good, the bad and the downright ugly. Now rate them A, B, C and D and the dollar value that they produce. For example: answering an incoming call may be $50 per hour, whereas working on the next marketing campaign may be $200 per hour, and sweeping the shop out may be as little as $15 per hour (or maybe that’s below minimum wage and we don’t condone sweatshops). If you’re unsure how to work out the value of the tasks ask yourself this question: how much would I pay someone to get that job done? Now that you have rated them A, B, C and D put a plan in place right now to get someone else to do the D tasks!
Systemise your business
If you stop and take a look at any major company on this planet you will quickly realise that the owner of the business is not working IN the business. Ray Kroc does not flip burgers, Bill Gates does not build computers, and Richard Branson is not checking people in at the Virgin check-in desk. The reason these greats have managed to build such vast empires is due to the fact that they leverage their time by creating quality systems, so that others can do the tasks just how they want them done, time and time again. If your goal as a business owner is to sell your business or hand it over to someone else then having simple (and I recommend video) systems will mean you can sell your business for more money, and make the transition much easier. When you have a fully automated business, your business runs by itself without your input, freeing up time for family, ministry and whatever else takes your fancy.
Conduct a time audit for 14 days
It’s been said many times, and I totally agree, that you can’t manage what you don’t measure. Without cold hard facts about what you get up to each day you are never likely to see just how much time you are wasting. If you worked just an eight-hour day you have 480 minutes of productive time — 48 blocks of ten-minute sections. If you take a look at how each of those 48 blocks is being used (yes, I’m serious … that much detail), you will see the gaps where the wastage is and likewise where you are investing your best time. It’s a simple exercise but it requires big discipline. All you have to do is print out an A4 page broken down into ten-minute blocks down the left hand side, then leave a big column on the right to write in what you did for that 10 mins. It’s simple to do which also makes it simple not to do. It will be like getting a snapshot of your history with which you can create your ideal future.
Point number 3½
Stop wasting time reading articles. Bold of me to say, given you are reading one of mine, but here’s the thing – there is a finite amount of time in a day so be careful where you get your information from. The world is full of information right now, some of it is great (like this one … ) and some is just a complete time leach. Find people that give quality content and stick with them. Before taking the time to read an article ask yourself this question: “Is this information going to bring me closer to my most important goal?” If the answer is yes, read it and follow the instructions; if the answer is no then flick it.
When you have found extra time in your day, may I suggest ‘investing’ more of it at the feet of the Father? It’s very hard to experience the supernatural in business if we are not enjoying intimacy with Jesus. Take time to chat, listen to and explore the depths of our wonderful God.