An average employee works around 40 hours a week. An average business owner works more; probably in the 60-hour range. However, even when we spend most of our waking hours in work related activities like preparing or driving to work, we still find that we do not have enough time to accomplish everything we set out to do for the whole day or week. Here are a few tips to help you squeeze out some extra time from your week and make you a little bit more efficient.
First thing you need to do is audit your time. You need to know where you are spending your time. Have a planner and record your activities in 15-minute intervals. It does not have to be very specific but something that will give you an idea of what you are doing with your day. Do this for a week or two so that you have a good idea of how you spend your work week.
Once you have an idea of how you spend your working hours, you can create a list of things that you should not do. An example is that you spent a whole hour last week fixing the printer. If you have the list of things that you shouldn’t do, then you will know that fixing the printer will take up a lot of your time. You might just want to call in a professional to fix it for you next time.
It will take some time and a lot of effort to stay away from the things that are on this list. You probably want to be more involved, but in order to be more productive, you need to do the things that add the most value to your business. We go back to the 80/20 principle that only 20 percent of what you do make up 80 percent of your profit. So focus on the 20 percent of your daily activities.
Delegate / Outsource
As with your not-to-do list, make a list of things that you can delegate and what you can’t delegate. If answering your own calls takes up a lot of your time then hire a secretary to screen your calls for you. That can also be true with emails and other correspondence. You can also outsource things by hiring people to do all the heavy lifting for you. You are after all, the Captain of the ship. The Captain doesn’t steer the ship, he just tells his First Mate where to go.
A majority of things that you delegate will come from your not-to-do list. If we again follow the 80/20 rule, these would be 80 percent of the daily tasks that you do. Delegating will free you up to focus on the 20 percent of your activities that generate the most value to your business.
When planning for your day, create a default diary. The diary contains all the important activities you have to do for the day / week. Stick to your plan as much as you can. It would take some time to get used to this but try your best to do so. All it needs is practice. When you get the hang of it, you will be much more efficient with your workday.
Plan your following day
Planning for the next day will get you in the right mindset. Studies have shown that when you write down information, you retain much of the information. Therefore, making a plan will help you remember the things that you need to do. Of course, remember to review your plan and do away with the things that are not important to you or the things that you can delegate.
There you have it, five easy steps to getting an extra ten hours a week or even more. Remember to always stick to your plan, but be flexible too because life often throws you a curve ball every so often.
Have a good day ahead!