How many times have you started work early — and the next thing you knew it was 4PM … and your instant reaction was: I haven’t made any progress today on my most important stuff?
If you’re like the rest of us: quite a few times — and maybe “most of the time”.
That’s because the least-optimized asset on your books is YOUR TIME.
I’d like to be more than just a tax-saving strategist for you. No, I’m not pitching you on tax planning, consulting, or some such … but I do know that running your business in a tax-advantaged way is only one part of a much bigger puzzle.
Because if we don’t get the “time” thing handled, well, we’re all up a creek. So here are some more thoughts on this for you … these, in particular, relate to if you are a part of a team, or ever work alongside other people. So listen up.
Optimizing Productive Time for You and Your Team
“The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.” -Abraham Lincoln
Anybody can see there’s a huge difference between activity and progress. But this is one of those topics that many of us *think* we have handled pretty well, when in reality, we might be fooling ourselves.
So consider this: How much time do you (and your staff) waste in meetings?
A recent survey of Fortune 500 CEOs showed they averaged only 28 MINUTES of actual productive time during a day, primarily due to useless meetings.
You’re probably doing considerably better than that in your small business because of less bureaucracy, but still … eye-opening, yes?
So I have three cautions for you — and inherent to each of them, I believe, you’ll see the kind of “opposite” behavior you need, to win the time-management game for business owners:
1) Unless you have an agenda and specific goal for every meeting, you’re probably wasting your time. Which leaves even less time that day for you to concentrate on the really important things.
Create a (short) agenda for every meeting, and send to all participants. Include the time allocated for each item, and be ruthless about it.
2) Unless you have a time limit for each meeting, you are most certainly wasting your time. You already know this is true: the meeting will last as long as the longest-winded person makes it, and this is independent of whether anything useful gets done or not.
So again, mind the clock. It’s your job as your business’ LEADER to lead even in these small ways. If you are worried about hurting the feelings of someone on your staff because you need to cut them off from speaking too long, you need some deeper soul searching related to that particular staff member, I’d say.
3) Unless you have an action plan or to-do list that comes out of every meeting, you’re definitely wasting your time. How many times have you gone into a meeting to discover the same junk you discussed last week is back on the table?
Assign tasks, with deadlines — and apply a carrot or stick to each “large” item on the list. Do not allow repeat items to creep back in, unless there is significantly new information to bring to the larger group.
While all of this might be a behavior change for you and your staff, it’s easy to implement and your staff will quickly understand and accommodate you.
They’d better, right? There are big things brewing for the small business owner in today’s environment … and you can’t be saddled by poor habits if you are going to win.
BE THE ROAR not the echo®