“You may delay but time will not.”
What I am about to put to you may seem a little harsh and possibly controversial.
Saying you have not had time to do something is the adult version of the dog ate my home work.
Because we all have 24 hours a day. What you are really saying to someone when you say that is, “what I was supposed to do for you was not a high enough importance to me”. Ouch!
As the saying goes, you cant manage something without measuring it.
Step 1 – The Time Audit
As I generally warn my clients, whilst this may seem a little tedious it is one of the best things that you can do to start to get more done in the same amount of time. In fact this is something myself and long term clients still do on a regular basis to see if we are able to find more opportunities to save some time and be more efficient.
So set up a table with days along the week along the top and then time increments of 15 minutes down the side. Then for every 15 minutes we are going to keep track of what you were doing for a 2 week period. You can fill it in by hand or on a computer, which ever one you find easiest. I usually print out my two week tables and put them on a clipboard.
The table below gives you an idea of what this may look like.
7:00am Make coffee and check emails Driving
7:15am Check and reply emails Driving
7:30am Talked to Paul about my weekend Meeting Bob re Project
You can choose your own start and finish times for your time audit and if you wish to include your personal time outside of the office.
Now that you have 2 weeks of information, work out what your major chunks of time include. For example it may be things like
• Reading and replying to emails
• Doing quotes or proposals
• Working on the tools
• Client work
• Phone calls
This will be different for every owner and business.
Now get a different coloured highlighter for the different areas that you listed above and go through and highlight all those corresponding time slots in your audit table. You will be able to identify clearly with this helicopter view where all of your time goes.
Now go through and add up the time you are spending on the different areas listed above. For example your audit may look like
• Reading and replying to emails – 7 hours
• Driving – 10 hours
• Doing quotes or proposals – 8 hours
• Working on the tools – 8 hours
• Administration – 5 hours
• Meetings – 2 hours
• Client work – 10 hours
• Phone calls – 5 hours
Total 55 hours
Just doing this exercise alone will usually find you a couple of easy hours a week when you realise where you have been spending your time. You will automatically begin to focus more on the most important tasks.
Now that we know where most of our time is going, next week its time to begin souping up our time machine and get you back some more hours to spend working on and not in your business.