Do you find yourself saying things like “I never have enough time” or “I wish I had more time”? As a small business owner, there are ALWAYS things to do. The “To-Do” list, quite honestly, can feel endless. Many of us check one thing off the list only to add three more. So, what is the answer?
Most of us have heard about “time management” strategies. We have all probably read some books or at least done a Google search on how to become more efficient with our time. Paul Buyer in his book Working Towards Excellence states that “One of the great equalizers in this world is that everyone has twenty-four hours in a day. How we use those hours is what separates excellence from mediocrity”. With the playing field being even for all business owners when it comes to time, why are some people more efficient, productive and ultimately more successful than others?
The answer is nicely stated by biographer Steve Jamison who said “Time, used correctly, is perhaps your most important asset…Treat time carelessly and it will do the same to you and your organization”. Using time correctly means having clear and concise goals and then having streamlined processes in place to achieve those goals. For any task or activity, we need to know what our ultimate goal is and where this particular task falls on the continuum of the strategic process we have established to achieve that goal. If we have not CLEARLY defined our goals and ESTABLISHED A PROCESS, we are probably wasting our time.
There is a big difference between being busy and being productive. Don’t waste your time with things that are not moving you in the direction of your goals; business or personal. Let me be clear. I am not saying that you should only complete activities that are business driven. We should all have personal goals that focus on family, health, hobbies and friends. It is extremely important to have a blend. What I am suggesting, however, is that careful consideration be given to whether a task or activity is moving you in a productive direction or simply keeping you busy.
To use our time effectively, it becomes very valuable to learn how to say “No”. Warren Buffett has been quoted as saying “For every one hundred great opportunities that are brought to me, I say no ninety-nine times”. There is a man who has mastered the word “No”! In a small business, one person simply can’t do it all. Not only is there not enough time in a day but, honestly, it is highly unlikely that one person has the vast skill set required to manage all aspects of a business with EXCELLENCE. Surround yourself with people who are masters in their particular field, learn from them and seek their advice and assistance.
Time management really comes down to this. Put a strategic business plan in place, learn to say no, and then find a way to delegate or offload activities for which you lack the expertise or interest to complete effectively or efficiently. What is the value of your time? We all have 24 hours in a day. Learn to use your time wisely!
The Streamlined Office provides process solutions for small businesses and home offices. If you are overwhelmed by all of the tasks associated with running a business, we can help you put systems in place that will allow you to use your time efficiently and effectively. Learn more or contact us for a consultation with no cost and no obligation. Do you have time to put this off any longer?