This month, as you know, we’re focussing on time management.
Because heading into 2021, I guarantee that nailing this will play a key role in your success – especially if you’re a business who’s had to put many of the usual daily routines and focus on hold while we’re in the current (hopefully final!) lockdown.
So, we’re running a Time Management Masterclass on the 27th of January at 10 am. Don’t forget to book your place… they’re always hugely popular, and we don’t want you to miss out!
But in the meantime, give yourself a few minutes to consider.
Do you know something I can’t stand in business?
It’s the concept of ‘busy’.
Are YOU busy? Are you really?
People say it and, in the process, convey the impression they’re successful, they’re effective.
Now, of course, they might be successful, yes, but if I ask them what they’re working on and they can’t tell me exactly what they’ve been doing — or what they have lined up for tomorrow — they’re conveying a different impression to me.
And it’s not one of effectiveness.
Disorganisation. Poor planning (if any). Lack of progressing. Inability to manage time.
That’s what I’m hearing.
That’s because being busy and being productive –are two very different things.
The difference between being busy and being productive
It’s easy to confuse the two.
Don’t get me wrong, the world of business can be fast and furious, but if you have a million and one priorities and then some, you’re not managing your time effectively. You’re not productive. You’re just busy.
Instead, you must establish only a few priorities and distinguish between what’s important and what is just urgent, then address the important stuff and get it done. That’s being productive aka managing your time effectively.
But if you’re filling up your to-do list with more tasks than you can possibly get through, that’s being busy. And that’s not what will help you or your business succeed.
Being productive is about focusing on just a few tasks and completing them. When you’re truly productivity, there’s no room for multitasking.
And let’s look at that old phrase ‘There are not enough hours in the day’…. Do you say that? Or are you making time to do things without running yourself into the ground? If you are, then that is ‘being productive’.
But…are you guilty of slipping into the ‘busy’ category too often?
If you are, then it’s time to change.
Stop being busy. Start being productive.
It’s time to start focussing on achieving specific tasks and prioritising your TIME and MANAGING it.
Even if you’re guilty of not being so good at it now, don’t worry, because excellent time management can be learned.
And, when you manage your time, you will really get stuff done in your business. So, before the workshop on the 27th of January, I have a few tips to help you manage your time better and be more productive.
Recognise when you’re most productive — and protect that time
As you ‘do what needs to be done’ each day, you’ll start to notice there are times when you work better.
Perhaps you write your reports quicker in the morning. Maybe you complete strategic planning work faster after lunch.
These productive hours are precious, so don’t spend them making phone calls or responding to emails. Protect that valuable time as much as possible by setting it aside for the relevant tasks and save times when you’re less productive for ‘half-tasks’, such as invoicing or responding to emails. You could even outsource some of those.
Know the difference between important and urgent
Responsivity can sometimes be a big productivity killer.
A phone rings. An email comes in. They demand an immediate response, which makes them urgent, but does it make them important?
If it carries you closer towards your long-term aims or will have a major impact on your business, then yes, it’s important. Remember that a task can be urgent and important simultaneously, so you should prioritise it.
Some tasks are important but have no deadline, such as planning. The decision is up to you whether to do them.
Other tasks aren’t as important, but they’re urgent, such as responding to certain emails or making meeting arrangements… so to save time, why not delegate these to a freelance PA?
Some tasks will fall into the ‘drop them’ category. They’re neither important nor urgent.
Establish what’s important and what’s urgent, and you’ll be able to prioritise your tasks and manage your time a whole lot better.
Tackle important tasks in the morning
This is a well know and effective time management trick.
A big task can drain you, and the last thing you want is to cross lots of little jobs off your list but still feel as if you’ve got a mountain to climb at the end of the day.
Instead, get important tasks out of the way in the morning – it’s when we have the most energy.
Trust me; you’ll feel good for the rest of the day!
Delegate or outsource
As I mentioned, some tasks are urgent but not important. But if you don’t tackle them, they become pressing.
You don’t necessarily have to do them yourself, though.
Do you have a team member who could take care of them? Or have you considered outsourcing to a freelancer? Despite what many think, this is not only a great way to get lots ticked off your to-do list; it could also save you money.
Be productive, not busy
Saying you’re busy might impress a lot of people; but not me.
And that fabulous feeling you experience with so-called ‘busyness’ will subside eventually, allowing stress to step in and replace it.
But managing your time effectively and getting things done — that’s much more like it!
So remember to…
Focus on the important and not let the urgent blindside you.
Delegate tasks and free up your time to do what’s important.
Capitalise on your energy reserves by tackling big tasks first.
Protect your productive times like they gold dust and save the less productive times for smaller tasks.
Make 2021 the year you say ‘Yes’ to all of those, and you’ll become a Time Management Ninja. Your eye will start to fall less on the clock and more on your business’s growth and how you’re going to spend more time with your family and doing the things you love.
And I’ll take those over being ‘busy’ any day.
Round of golf anyone?