Mastering business basics is one of the most difficult challenges facing business owner’s today- how to efficiently utilise your most valuable resource – your TIME! Time Mastery is a challenge for every person in business. This is one area where you must pay attention and learn how to improve.
How you spend your time in your business will have a significant influence on how successful you are as a business owner. Others will look to you to see how you spend your time and judge from that what is truly important to you. I can assure you that if your team sees you spending time behind your computer, they will know that that is important to the business. If they see you spending time with your customers, they will know that is important to you and to the business. You set the tone for your team based on how you spend your time.
You can easily categorise the time spent in your day into one of four categories: Not Urgent and Not Important, Urgent and Not Important, Urgent and Important, and lastly, Not Urgent but Important. These may sound like strange definitions, so let me restate them into categories that may sound more familiar. These could be called Distractions, Delusions, Demands and lastly Strategic.
Things like e-mail and surfing the web are often Not Urgent and Not Important – or Distractions. It is critical to avoid spending much time on these activities during the day. Many phone calls and walk in requests fall into the category of Urgent and Not Important. They come to you because someone else did not do what they were supposed to or because there is no process in place to handle the situation. Many customer calls or production issues are Urgent and Important. They must be handled to satisfy a customer or keep the operation moving, but they suck time from you largely because there was no system in place to make sure the issue was handled well the first time. Does any of this sound familiar to you?
The biggest challenge for you and as business owner is to spend as much time as possible on those issues in your business that are Not Urgent but Important. These are the Strategic decisions that will determine where you take your business. They are not Urgent, so they often times get pushed back in the priority stack – and many times just get forgotten. As the business owner, it is your job to focus your TIME on these areas of your business. If you do not, who will?
So you ask, How do I make time to focus on the Not Urgent but Important? One practical idea is to bake it into your schedule. I call it using a Default Calendar. That is blocking the time on your calendar for those critical tasks you must do even though there is not an emergency driving them. When you put the BIG, CRITICAL items into your calendar first, you will always find time to fit in the other, smaller items.
And, related to this thought, when you put the big items into your calendar, FOCUS ON THEM! Resist the urge to blow right past them and put them off. Discipline yourself to focus first on the Strategic and them the operational and execution-oriented activities will flow more naturally.
Try it! How you spend your time will determine your ultimate level of success. You need to be doing the £200 per hour jobs while you are having someone else do the £10 per hour jobs. Don’t get stuck spending your time doing things you could easily pay someone else to do.