Everyone wants two things: to make more money and have more time. Some people think they have the ability to always make more money, but don’t believe they can manufacture more than 24 hours in a day. That is not necessarily true. We can manufacture more time in our 24 hours.
We do this by becoming more efficient with our time. This seems almost impossible to the many people who always feel overscheduled and overbooked, not only with business, but also family and friend activities.
I am not a magician, but I can help you find more time in your day with these 10 tips.
1. Get Up Early: Wake up 30-60 minutes earlier than usual. This is your time to plan for the day, read, work out, go for a walk, meditate, journal or review your business plan. It doesn’t matter what you do, but if you wake up one hour earlier Monday through Friday, you have added 20 hours a month to your schedule. That’s 240 hours a year. That’s six weeks. How much can you get done if you add six weeks to your year? You now have a 13.5-month year!
2. Take Some YOU Time: Schedule 15 minutes of daily executive time in your calendar and give it the same commitment that you would an urgent meeting. Use this time to pause, review your business plan and/or pipeline, and do some strategic thinking that will help you grow your business. This also gives you the time you need to get clarity and regroup.
3. Have a Hard Stop: When you have a meeting, let people know when it needs to end. Say something like, “I have a hard stop at 10:30 a.m.” This lets them know you value your time and that they need to be tight and concise. It keeps the conversation on topic so you can have an effective talk.
4. Be Measurable: When you leave a meeting, have measurable action plans and deadlines from all. This makes the meeting worth everyone’s time and your next meeting will continually evolve the subject — not be just a rinse-and-repeat where people get frustrated and no one sees growth.
5. Know Your Topic: Make sure you know the topics you want to address at each and every meeting. Come prepared.
6. Hear from All: Encourage everyone to participate at every meeting. If they’re in the room, why not learn from them and/or get their feedback? You’ll get a deeper pulse of what’s going on and where you need to go. It is a waste of time to have people at a meeting who do not participate.
7. Keep Them Short: There is no point having a meeting just to have a meeting. Keep them short, to the point and concise. Keep the small talk to a minimum.
8. Stay Out of the Weeds: Nothing wastes time more than getting in the weeds. Make sure you or someone in the group tells people to move on and get to the point. Everyone is busy and wants to get back to their to-do list so they can have a productive day.
9. Make It Regular: Have weekly meetings and/or daily huddles of 10-15 minutes as needed to stay on course, hold people accountable, and keep both the business and people in growth mode.
10. Set Priorities: If you always know what your top three priorities are, you will always be able to stay focused on what to do next. Do what is top priority and don’t get lost in the minutia of the daily grind.
Our time is precious but many times we let people waste it without realizing the compound effect it has on our days, weeks and years. If we find ourselves stuck at the coffee machine and let someone waste our time talking for 10 minutes every day in a conversation we can’t get out of, that’s 50 minutes a week, five hours a month and 60 hours a year. Think about how much you can do with that week and a half!
Become a master at your own time management. As Michael Altshuler says, “The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.”
Hard stop is now!