Have you ever thought about the difference between Efficiency and Effectiveness? Here are some short definitions:
Efficiency – the ratio of the useful work performed by a machine or in a process to the total energy expended or heat taken in.
Effectiveness – the degree to which something is successful in producing the desired result; success.
So which is more important? I would argue that both play a part in the success of a business but if it came down to just one – I would choose effectiveness every time.
Run a google search for “how do I manage my time better” and you will find 900 million results. The importance of time management in your business is a topic often discussed by business coaches, mentors, and trainers. As business owners, we are constantly looking for ways to improve our time management techniques.
Unfortunately, most of the advice you will find relates to how to fit more into your day, how to be efficient. We strive to become efficient machines, constantly producing more, powering through our to-do list. This is a fantastic way to ensure you are always busy, but is it growing your business? What if doing more is not always better? What if the key to time management is doing less?
Below are 7 key strategies to use time more effectively
Be clear about what you’re wanting to achieve
This is where it all starts, being clear why you do what you do will add clarity to how you are going to do it. It will also help you really narrow down on what your core business is. Often some tough decisions need to be made in this area – you know you can’t be everything to everyone, the same is true for your business. Make sure you are clear on your objectives and targets and relate every activity or task in your business back to these.
If an activity doesn’t move your business towards achieving your goals and targets and you can stop doing it without it negatively affecting your business, eliminate it. If your mind has immediately screamed “But…” after reading that write it down what this relates to, more than likely it will point you towards something that is holding you back in some way.
Learn to Delegate
Delegating well is a key skill in any business. As your business grows it will not be possible for you to do everything. I often see business owners holding on to tasks too long when they have the capacity to get someone else to take care of it so they can focus their time on more dollar productive activities. Notice that I am recommending delegating, not abdicating. You need to have processes and checks in place in order to grow your team effectively.
Restrict available time
Parkinson’s law is the adage that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. If you only have two hours per day to manage your emails, it will get done in two hours. If you don’t restrict the time allocated to this task then you may find yourself replying to emails all day – how many days have you lost on a task like this? If on the other hand, you restrict the time allocated, your effectiveness in completing the task increases.
After a quick way to improve your time management? Turn off alerts, put your phone on silent and use software to restrict distracting websites like Facebook. Let yourself focus on one thing at a time. This is about being efficient so you can be effective – allowing your attention to wander will guarantee a task takes longer than it needs to.
Plan and monitor your time
Once you know what you’re wanting to achieve and what is required to get you there, you need to plan when it’s going to get done. An ideal week is an essential tool for increasing effectiveness. Use this tool to direct your week towards your highest value activities. Monitoring your time will provide insights into how your time is actually being spent – plans are great but what’s actually happening day to day? Conducting a ‘time audit’ every so often will highlight areas that need your attention.
Button – Click here to download our free ideal week and time auditing templates
Downtime is essential
We’re not machines, but even if we were we would need to be taken off the factory floor for a regular service – our human equivalent is downtime or time out of our businesses. Taking time to care and nurture yourself is key to building the business and life of your dreams. It’s when you are taking a walk and not thinking about anything in particular that the most amazing idea on how to solve one of your biggest challenges will arrive.
Time management is essentially YOU management. It’s possible to understand the fundamentals of time management but still struggle with implementing good time management techniques. Hopefully, this article has assisted you in identifying areas of growth and some possible solutions. If you are after assistance on any of the techniques described above contact our office for a complimentary consultation with one of our coaches.