Time! As a business owner, time can be your worst enemy or your best friend…depending on how well you manage it. The successful business owner sees it as a key ingredient to success.
We all get the same allotment of 24 hours each day. For the disorganized, who squander their time, it is an enemy. But for those who know how to use it to their advantage, it is a good friend that enables them to lope along at a comfortable pace all week and then take weekends off to enjoy family time … and still accomplish more than the rest of the world.
As a business owner, time management is not just a nice idea. It is the cornerstone upon which your company’s long-term success and your own emotional well-being depend.
To improve both the quality and the quantity of your time:
- Do a “time audit.” Record how you spend a typical workday, using 15-minute intervals. This helps you identify time wasters.
- Establish priorities and measurable goals. Without priorities and goals, every action is a time waster.
- Eliminate busy work. These are tasks you simply don’t need to do…things that do not further your company’s growth and profitability. Working rule: If it isn’t important, don’t do it. Every action during work time should be goal-directed — whether it’s a phone call to a supplier, business meeting or golf game.
- Plan each day. Ten minutes mapping out projects and tasks on a daily “To Do” list can save hours of wasted time. Planning empowers you to move systematically through the important tasks of the day without wondering what to do next.
- Delegate! Delegate everything you can… not simply what you must. This will give you more time for things only you can handle.
- Make a pledge to never work weekends or evenings (or whatever designated no-work days you select). This forces you to structure your time efficiently. Most of all, it allows you to enjoy the benefits of the life you are working to build.
- Live in two distinct worlds. When you work, focus all your attention on the business of business. When you break from work, break completely. This means no briefcases home on weekends or even thinking about work when you should be relaxing. Instead, make your free time really free. This will improve the quality of both your work time and your family/social time.
- Work a 13-month year. Let’s say you currently work eight hours a day, from eight to five, with an hour for lunch. Look what happens if you add one extra hour each day. There are plenty of places to find 60 minutes without impacting your personal time. Start an hour earlier, stay an hour later, divide up two half hours at the start and end of the day, or cut your lunch hour in half. Just make sure you don’t slice into family time or weekends, which are crucial for recharging your batteries. The results can be incredible. Adding just one hour a day gives you five extra hours a week, or an average of 22 additional hours more a month. If you normally take four weeks vacation, this single hour each day can generate an extra month of business productivity … plus an additional two weeks vacation.
The bottom line: You don’t have to become a time management expert to capitalize on the benefits of more effective use of your time. But keep in mind that the better you become at organizing yourself and your time, the more you will improve the odds that you will achieve your goals and keep your business productive and profitable. That’s because time is more than money. Time — and how well you use it — is a key element of long-term business success, as well as personal satisfaction.
Work hard. Make Money. Have Fun. — John R. Ingrisano, The Freestyle Entrepreneur
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