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Beat the clock

If time is money, there has never been a better time to spend it wisely. Here are some timesaving techniques that will let you concentrate on growing your business.

Ask any social expert nowadays and most explanations for many of our new age habits are a consequence of a modern kind of poverty. But it’s not money or any other physical asset that we’re so short of in the 21st century – it’s time.
Of course, I know most of us are still regularly short of money as well, but time is the new focus as we work long hours in self-employment, home-based businesses and small enterprises, and many Australians work a second job.
Debt and the related passion for material possessions have chained us to our work to make the payments to our obliging lenders.
Once upon a time, people were embarrassed to be labelled a workaholic but it’s now accepted as just a modern way of life in a world committed to discouraging discrimination.
Time is an asset
The link between giving up time to beat being money poor has been understood for a long time. However, there is a more subtle connection between the two forms of poverty and owners of great businesses have come to understand this important insight.
That insight is that with better time management you can actually drive up your wealth and build a much more profitable business.
Recently I conducted a seminar made up of heavy-hitters in the financial planning and insurance industry. These people had built up big businesses from scratch – ‘once were small’, if you like.
Now, they were running massive operations and I told them the story of restaurant owner and celebrity chef Neil Perry, who gave away half his business to his accountant cousin.
The impact did more than catapult the earnings of his Rockpool restaurant. It gave him time to develop other businesses, such as products that are sold on the shelves of other people’s stores, a catering business, and a position with Qantas as its first-class chef!
Do what you do best
Perry makes the point that he was wasting his time doing stuff he could do, but not do well. Other activities that he was suited to were being neglected or ignored because of a misallocation of time.
By freeing himself from doing the books, running the staff and doing the ordering, meant Perry was free to do what he was good at – and even do it better. He also was able to experiment or speculate in other areas where he had a natural advantage. The end-result was a bigger, better and more profitable business.
After running my own business for more than 20 years and after talking to some of the best business brains in the world over the past 15 years, the simple story is that growth is easier said than done. At the core of poor growers’ stories is a failure to plan effectively. The highly successful are invariably great planners and they realise that the precious resource they had to manage effectively was time.
Do a time audit
We’re all different, but many people have found it useful to do a daily time sheet for a few weeks to see how they are using or misusing their time.
Once you see how you are using your time, start to design a time plan that makes much more time for those activities that bring the greatest reward.
I know some high-flyers who actually rule out one full day where they don’t take phone calls, except from their PAs, instead using the time to visit branch offices and to chat with their staff at the coalface.
Others block out times for emails, making calls and holding face-to-face meetings. The overall aim is to get the best use out of their precious time resource.
How come they’re so smart?
Well, some are smart and have worked all of this out for themselves, but others say a mentor or coach advised them to sort out their time poverty and let me assure you, they are definitely richer for the innovation.
Tips
  • Learn to use your weeks, days, hours effectively
  • Write down everything you do for a week to see where your time is going
  • Your time is finite. Make sure you use it to your best advantage. Don’t waste it!

 

Published on: Saturday, February 28, 2009

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