If you had to assess the time you spend at your job or working on your business how efficient would you say you are?
It will come as no surprise to you that legendary businessmen like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates are meticulous time managers, and that level of discipline is certainly something to aspire to, but if we’re being honest, most of us are still at a stage where we have some decent chunks of unproductive time in our days.
It can be difficult to make the leap from where you currently are to emulating Warren Buffet’s habits, but there are small changes you can make to yield big results. One of the most striking ideas around time management that I heard recently is centered around the idea of taking just 15 minutes a day and being super efficient with that time. If you do this every single day you actually gain 90 hours – or 2.25 work weeks – a year. When you think about the things you can accomplish in 2+ super focused weeks, the 15 minutes each day spent not checking emails or surfing the web seems like a small price to pay.
The habit of continually checking email and social media is a monumental time suck and makes efficiency practically impossible. Instead of being a slave to your notifications just turn them off and schedule in a few times a day to check your emails and other messages. Unless you’re in the middle of an actual crisis (as opposed to a perceived threat), no one is really going to care if there is a slight delay between when they sent their email and when you respond to it.
And then there’s trying to avoid anything that you know is a time suck: conference calls where your input is not needed, inefficient meetings, writing proposals… Until you start questioning some of these things they might seem unavoidable (and granted, you may not be able to avoid ALL of them), but try looking at your schedule and get creative with your thinking. The first time an ad exec told me that his very successful firm rarely, if ever, wrote proposals, I was floored. So much of my time was spent doing just that, often for potential clients that never ended up signing with us.
After grilling this guy on his methods I made some big changes in my own company and saved myself thousands of hours over the years. Now, instead of being so quick to say yes to writing proposals, we work harder to pre-qualify people and we have a much better process of presentation, which often gets us to a yes without going through the whole bidding process. I don’t know if we ever would have changed had I not had that conversation, but in this case changing “the way it’s always been done” was really not a big deal, and was certainly a huge benefit.
So, go ahead and take a look at your own business. What conventions can you challenge and time can you save? Because after all, the old cliche about time being money is not inaccurate. And what business doesn’t need a little more of that on the bottom line?