Time management is the process of trying to cram into a day more things than will fit. Think about it. If you sat down and thought about all of what you need to do and made a big list of things you need to do in any day or week I'll bet you have a big list of things that are impossible to fit into one day. How can you squeeze 12 hours worth of work into 8 hours? You can't; its impossible.
Have you ever stopped to think about what you're really trying to achieve in business? What's important to you about business ownership? Is it to make a better income? Is it to have more time off, more time with family, longer holidays? Being busy and trying to 'find time' doesn't work. So time management courses arent what you need.
We all have the same number of hours in a day, no matter if you own a business of any kind, or work for someone else. We're all busy. So being busy becomes an excuse to achieve what we really want to achieve, it's just that we're losing our way because we're losing sight of the vision we had before we became busy.
Effective use of your time is what makes a huge difference. In other words, its time prioritizing that matters, not time management. When you get your priorities in order and focus on them you will transform your business and life! You'll do the things that free up your time so fast it will amaze you. You'll make rapid progress towards the vision of you once had of your own success.
Let me give you an example. I had a business client who said he was working 80 hours a week and didn't have time to grow his business. Sound familiar? So I listened to him as he told me his business situation.
An hour later I said you have all the tools already on hand to free up your time and make a big difference with your business. All you need to do is stop being busy and start changing your priorities. Here's what I told him. Start letting some of your team (staff) do some of what you do and stop controlling the business and team.
He had team who had experience, he just wasn't letting them be leaders. He thought he was the only person who could think and solve problems. He hadn't realized his team could as well. So we made a list of all aspects of his week and what roles he had. Then I questioned him on all of them asking, why can't someone else do this? If you were sick and couldn't work for a week, would you think your whole business would stop, or would someone fill in the role you play?
He then agreed he could let someone else do what he does. He then realized he had little left to do himself! I had taken away a large section of his busy-ness. He wondered what was left for him to do. Then I said with your free time you can "work on" your business to make a real difference.
So how do you prioritize your time? Easy! Write a list of all the things you do in your business in a week. You might need to do that by having a sheet where you write down what you do every 30 minutes for a week. Don't think you don't need to or you're too busy to, do this step.
Next, categorize each of your tasks into categories. Each category is a job title you could pay someone else to do. Often as business owners you wear a few hats. Your roles could be sales for 20 hours, production for 25 hours, accounting for 3 hours, administration for 10 hours and working on the business 1 hour.
Next, put an hourly rate next to each role for what you would have to pay someone else to do that role. So for example, sales = $22/hour (total of $440), production = $16/hour (total of $400), accounting = $14/hour (total of $42) and administration = $12/hour (total of $120).
Now we need to look at what value you bring to the business. I believe as business owners your time is far more valuable (when used to its best advantage). If you learn how to write ads by reading a book you can double the responses of all of your ads quite easily, so your time would be extremely valuable in this example. So lets say your time is worth $50 per hour and that you can make $50 an hour minimum if you had enough time to do so.
Applying these numbers that means if you want to replace your time spent in the above 4 areas it would work like this. To free up time in administration you could write a system of what you do and give it to someone else to do the work. This frees up 10 hours, but then to pay the wages of that person you have to work a bit over 2 hours at $50/hour. In other words you have freed up about 8 hours of your time.
Next you replace yourself in accounting with a system for someone else to do that work. That means you work 1 hour there to get back 2 extra hours. See how the process works? Then we replace you in production with 8 hours to save 17 hours (25-8). Then you have far more time to work in sales, which is the area you give the most value in, as that is your highest area of value for what your time is worth.
This is effective use of your time. This is time prioritizing, not time management. If you're too busy all the time who is growing your business? The buck stops with you, you're it! You have to have time free to grow the business, but while you're doing work you can pay someone else $12 an hour to do you're not growing your business. Maybe your time is worth more than $50 an hour? First of all you need to value your time. So what is your time really worth?
Business owners try to save money by doing so much work themselves. That isn't saving money, it's costing you a fortune with opportunity cost. You're missing out on huge profit increases because you're too busy. You could hire a 16 year old at possibly $8/hour (depending on your country) to do some aspect of what you're doing.
If you employ people this process gets even more powerful. I'll bet you have teams doing things you could pay a $16 year old to do and if you have a lot of team members imagine how much you could save. If you pay someone $20 per hour why are they doing the work a 16 year old can do? Have your team do the time sheet exercise for a week as well and see where their time is being spent in difference categories. I'll bet there are a few hours spent doing things they shouldn't be doing.
Remember the client I talked about? He is now growing his business and enjoying life much more as he is making rapid progress with his business, thinking and starting to develop systems to turn it into a franchise. Before he was too busy to do any of that, but because he focused on his real priorities he's not so busy anymore. He's very productive and profitable!