How many of you have ever had a day when everything goes exactly according to plan? A day when there are no distractions; no interruptions. A day where you complete all of the tasks on your to do list. A day when you call people to schedule appointments, everyone answers the phone. Imagine that!
I have asked this question to hundreds of small business owners and without exception, the response is … NONE, NADA, ZERO. Even the CONCEPT of a perfect day where everything goes according to plan is unimaginable to most people.
Let’s explore the concept further by asking a simple question… what do business owners really want to accomplish in a single day?
Their first response is almost always that they want to make meaningful progress against an important goal or solve a problem.
They also relish the opportunity to help others achieve an important goal.
Or, they want to personally connect with their co-workers, partners, and customers. It’s important to most people to feel connected.
It’s no wonder that when distractions, interruptions, and other peoples’ priorities take control of the day, it’s not only hard to maintain a sense of purpose, it’s impossible to focus on the big, valuable stuff that impacts the long-term success of the business.
How to you resist having your day hijacked by unimportant tasks or the misguided agendas of others? How do you take control of your day’s activities and be disciplined in the use of time to the extent necessary to have a productive day at work, more times than not? It’s no easy task, but here are some simple tips to get you started…
- Estimate the value of your time. Extrapolate the value of 1 hour by making a simple estimate of the profit that you can generate for your business when focused exclusively on important tasks. Whether it’s $10 per hour or $10,000 per hour, make an estimate and post the number on your office white board.
- Delegate things that fall outside of your areas of expertise, or tasks that fall into other peoples’ pay grades.
- Document and communicate your business goals and vision. Ask yourself at the end of each day whether your activities were in line with your business focus and what can be done to better align your activities with your goals.
- Maintain a task lists, ideally one that is mobile that you can gain access to during the day. Utilize advanced task list tools so that you can rank tasks according to categories that represent importance and urgency relative to your business goals.
- Create an idealized fixed calendar that allocates your time in a way that is line with your goals over the course of a day, week and month. Set aside time every day for leadership and renewal.
- Turn off your e-mail and cell phone for 1-2 hours, twice a day. Schedule uninterrupted time on your personal calendar for important tasks, daily.
The benefits of effective personal time management are life-changing… increased productivity, increased job satisfaction, more time to work ON the business, and more free time to enjoy life’s pleasures, which you deserve.