As a business coach one of the biggest challenges that I’ve seen most entrepreneurs face is that of time management. The first misnomer is that you can’t really manage time. I believe that time is just a flow of energy. All we can do to harness this energy is to manage ourselves better.
The second misnomer is that we mistake activity with productivity. I’ve seen a lot of very busy and unproductive entrepreneurs. (I can include me in that group) This might sound funny but a lot of people tell me they are “too busy” for a business coach. They don’t have time to take on anything “new”. We can get so busy doing and doing and doing and don’t take the time to step back to make sure we are doing the right activity in the right way.
One of my priorities as a business coach is to advice business owners and executives to make sure they are doing the most productive thing possible at every given moment. To make sure that the activity they are engaged in will get them closer to their predetermined worthwhile goals.
- Create Worthwhile Goals
The first step to managing yourself better is to have clear written goals that are true priorities in your life. If they are not priorities you will find yourself attracted the newest “shiny thing” that appears in your life. Without specific predetermined worthwhile goals you will be travelling the ocean of life with a sail boat that has no sales.
- Conduct a Time Study
There’s a saying that says,”If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it”. We need to first plug the holes in our ship before we can take out. Most of us have no clue on how we really spend our time. One of the tools I’ve personally used and coach my clients to use is to conduct a time study. For one week record everything you do in 15 minute segments. At the end of the week categorize each task to see where you are spending most of your time. After conducting a time study one client realized that he was spending 3 hours a week doing inventory, a task that he could train one of his employees to do. He then took those 3 hours and put them to use to work on his business to achieve his goals.
- Use a Default Calendar
In his book “First Things First”, Stephen Covey, tells the story of the big rocks. The story teaches us that to be really productive we have to focus on the “big rocks” in our lives and do them first and all the little stuff will fall into place. By determining our worthwhile goals we are picking our big rocks. A tool that I use to make sure I always have time for my “big rocks” is a default calendar. In essence my default calendar is blocks of time where I schedule appointments with myself to do my “big rocks”. I found that if I don’t schedule those “big rocks” my schedule tends to get filled with the next “shiny thing” that comes my way.
By learning how to invest your time and not spend it, you will become more productive. Remember, time is your most valuable asset. Once you’ve spent it, it’s gone forever.
Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below…