The Top 7 Time Management Strategies….That are Proven to Work!
I’ll get right to the point. You cannot manage time. Go ahead. Give it your best shot. It will never happen. It is unmanageable. Like it or not, we are all given the same 24 hours in a day. It comes and goes no matter what we choose to do during that 24 hours. So, if we cannot manage time how do we get more accomplished in less time or in the time allotted to make our accomplishments?
Therefore, you, my friend, must manage YOU! It may be tough to hear but I don’t share to make people feel better. I share to make people BE better.
Here are the facts. The average American lives to be 77 years old. That’s 4004 weeks. Yes, let that sink in. You may be blessed with many more years. However, since this is an average you may have less. By the age of 30 if you live to be 77 you have about 1924 weeks left. Are you in your mid 40’s? You may have about 1664 weeks left. In your mid 50’s 1144 weeks. By age 65 (when most people retire) we have approximately 624 weeks of life left…if we live until we are 77.
Furthermore, subtract a number of hours you sleep, if you sleep 8 hours a day, and that only leaves about 417 weeks of living….of time. Once again, you can’t manage time. You must manage you and what you do with your time.
First of all, determine the value of your hour. If you’re a business owner and spending an hour gaining a new client would generate $1,000.00 in revenue why would you spend an hour driving to the bank, making a deposit and then driving back? What value is there to an hour of time with your family?
If you only had one hour to spend with them what would that be worth? Priceless right? Yet we spend countless hours on tasks that generate no true value. Sure, we can provide reason after reason for doing all the things we do throughout the day. “Someone has to to do it.” The reality is someone may have to do it but it may not HAVE TO be you.
2.Delegate, delegate, and then delegate some more. Make a list of all of your daily responsibilities. List them in order of most challenging to least challenging. Then drill down even further. Note the responsibilities that you enjoy doing, that come naturally to you. Finally, write the name of the person who has the talent and ability to do the least challenging and least enjoyable things. Then, let them do it! Remember, if your hour is worth $1,000.00 then paying someone $10.00 or even $20.00 an hour to accomplish some of your responsibilities is a great investment!
Schedule your success. This was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever accomplished in my career. A schedule? How could I? I had to generate new prospects, complete call logs, attend company meetings, collect financial data (tax returns, personal financial statements, Profit & Loss, Balance Sheets) analyze all of that data for every customer, for every business, write credit memos, complete applications, service loans, close loans, attend closings, converse with underwriters, attend networking meetings, review appraisals, support my administrative assistant,…the list went on and on.
As a result, I was overwhelmed on a daily basis. UNTIL I created my own schedule and I made the best use of my time. Beginning with blocking time on a Google calendar (a recurring schedule that I would stick to every week) I scheduled blocks of time for email, blocks for making calls and returning messages. Also, I scheduled time for networking and time for financial analysis, and any other “paperwork”. Finally, I scheduled time for meeting clients. Then, I stuck to the schedule.
Position your customers, clients, and anyone else who needs your time. Remember, it’s YOUR time.If someone wants to meet with you. Look at your calendar and schedule them during one of your “meeting time slots”. Most people relinquish their time to accommodate everyone else’s demands of their time. How often have you said “Sure, we can meet. What works for you?”
Consequently, you are giving them control over choosing what time you will give them and when. On the next occasion that someone wants to meet with you check your calendar and say “Sure, I have this day at this time or that day at that time. Which one works best for you?” Continue to offer them what YOU have available on YOUR schedule until something works for them.
Only check email 2 to 3 times per day. Do not check your email first thing in the morning or as the last thing before you leave. Sounds crazy huh? It did for me too. But this was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Look, email is just a filing cabinet for other peoples’ agendas. And your time is valuable.
Position your clients, customers, and anyone else who emails or calls you. Set up auto responses on your email and change your voicemail today! An auto-response sets the expectations for your customers. “Thank you for your email. I will be checking and responding to email at 10:00 am and 3:00 pm daily.” Now your customers know not to worry. They know precisely when, and that you will get back to them. I can assure you this will stop the “did you get my email?” “did you get my message?”
It will also provide time for you to focus on the task at hand rather than trying to multitask. Multitasking is Inefficient, Ineffective, and Ultimately a Terrible Way to Work!
Learn to say “YES”. You’re probably thinking “I need to learn to say no.” The reality is if you are thinking that you’re already great at saying no. Because every time you say yes to something you are saying no to something else. Here’s what I mean by that. When a customer asks if you can stay late or and just can’t say no, you have just said no. By saying yes to your customer, you may have said no to going home to your family on time. Maybe you said no to having time to cook dinner. You may have said no to being able to help your children with homework. Learning to say yes is a must! You must learn to say yes.
When someone wants your time you must consider if you say yes to them what you are truly saying no to.
Be conscious. Be aware of what the “no” will be if you say yes to someone. There’s always a no. When I’m asked to give someone time I always ask myself if I say yes to them, what am I saying no to? If the answer is family I will choose to say yes to my family and thus no to that person. If it means saying no to doing laundry….then it’s a yes I’ll be there!
I’ve applied all 6 of these in my personal and business life. I’ve coached countless business owners and teams to manage themselves….not time. This takes practice and a lot of it. But I can assure you if you continue to practice these 6 steps until they become your lifestyle, your life, your business, and your days will be much more productive, profitable, and fulfilled.