By Bill McCrary
Published Nov. 29, 2015
Are you burdened by budget meetings, conference calls, and vendor disputes? Would you like to hold regular strategic planning meetings, but feel like you just don’t have the time?
Do your sales managers complain about spending too much time putting out fires, approving special orders, chasing down reports, and crunching sales numbers? Do they tell you things like, “I’d love to develop a targeted growth strategy, but I just don’t have time to do an accurate market analysis”?
A more productive use for those moments? Organize and manage your time better, then make a plan to complete your tasks and reach your goals. Every minute you invest in planning saves you twice that amount of time in execution.
1. Spend your time wisely.
How much is your time worth? Divide your income by the hours you invest in your job and you’ll know exactly how much each hour is worth.
Think about the activities you perform during an average week. Are you a $200-an-hour business owner doing $30-an-hour work? Stop doing routine tasks that don't merit your time, and delegate them to someone else.
2. Do what’s essential.
Every task you do has elements that are essential, and those that are just helpful. Are you completing tasks the same way, day after day, simply out of habit? Is every step really essential? Ask yourself this: Can the process be changed or rearranged and still produce the same result—or maybe even a better result? Don't be afraid to shake things up. Commit to the outcome, not the process.
3. Define your goal.
What do you want to accomplish? What level of productivity do you want to reach? What project do you want to get off the ground?
Write the answer down, and be specific. "Grow my client base" is admirable, but too vague. "Grow my client base by 10% in 90 days" is specific and infinitely better. If you want to earn more money, specify how much.
Further breaking down your goal of growing your client base by 10% in 90 days might look something like this:
I need six new clients in the next 90 days.
That’s two new clients in each of the next three months.
That’s one new client approximately every two weeks.
Pretty simple, right? I never said it was complicated.
4. Create a timetable.
What specific steps do you need to take to achieve your goal? Using our example, you’d need to perform the activities involved with identifying and qualifying prospects.
Create a timetable of your planned activities with a series of deadlines for yourself. Allow a realistic time limit for each activity, based on your own history. Remember that if a particular activity requires prep time, schedule time for that, as well.
Then meet your deadlines.
5. Do one thing at a time.
If you're working on one task while you're thinking or worrying about another, the task at hand will suffer, and you'll end up behind schedule.
Note your timetable and schedule for every day's business activities in your planner or calendar. If you must perform personal activities during the day, record them, too. Write everything down—and then forget about it until it pops up on your planner.
The best time to organize your time so that you can achieve your goals? RIGHT NOW. Don't spend dollar time on penny tasks. Concentrate on essentials. Define your goals. Create a timetable and schedule. Do one thing at a time.