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7 no-brainer ways to create more time in your day

“There is no point doing something well that doesn’t need doing in the first place” Tim Ferris, author, the 4 hour work week.

We all know that there’s only 24 hours in a day, but when running a small business, time management can be a bit of an enigma.

What if I told you there are a few simple tweaks to your daily schedule would super charge your output in a smaller time frame?


The following efficiency tips are how our small team punches above our weight on a daily basis, kicking goals much bigger teams struggle with.

We call them our life hacking skillset and over the past 12 months, have increased our efficency output by 200%.

1. Start with Why

Simon Sinek has his golden circle for how to be a strong leader and the essence of how to market what your business delivers to your customers.

We say, use the golden circle in everything you do.  Be that pesky little kid who constantly asks “Yeah but WHY?”.

The more you are clear on the outcome of a task, the quicker you’ll be able to life hack it.

2. Apply PPPP

Benjamin Franklin once said “To fail to plan is to plan to fail”.

We use the four P program which is Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.

Planning is key to our kicking goals.

One hour of planning for the week ahead on a Friday afternoon (ok usually with a vino in hand) will make sure you and your team are focused on your most immediate tasks and goals for the coming week.

We make sure tasks with the key outcomes are allocated to our calendars just like an appointment. That way we constantly deliver upon our promises and make sure we’re finishing the things that are important.

3. Identify your strengths

Make a list of all the tasks you do in a day.

Identify the top 3 tasks that add the most value to your team, your business and your clients.

Everything else on that list need to be delegated or eliminated. They still might be important tasks (those you delegate) but your unique skill set is designed to those three top tasks.

As a small business owner, they generally are:

a) Bringing new business or clients in

b) Process and systemisation

c) High level strategic discussions with your clients

The other stuff (i.e. doing the work) is important but not necessarily something you should focus upon doing yourself, and many can be delegated / outsourced out. Bookkeeping is a perfect example – there are a heap of great bookkeeping services out there (ours included) that will take that pain away and let you focus on growing your business with new clients.

4. ABCD your tasks

Brian Tracy. Oh my lord do I love that man and his book “Eat That Frog“!

Anyway, Tracy insists upon allocating the following letters to your daily list of tasks:

A. Very important

It’s your “Frog”. DO IT NOW.  Example – finish an important task for a client to meet a deadline on time.

B. Important

But never do before an A task. Example – check email or voicemail. It’s important, but not more important than you finishing your A task.

C. Nice to do

Nice to have done. Very low level of importance. Needs to get done sometime, but not before your A or B tasks. Example – your paper recycling or cleaning your desk.

D. Delegate

Assign the task to somebody else or outsource it. Example – bookkeeping, admin tasks.

E. Eliminate

Just that. Don’t do it, don’t even put it on your list, just ignore it completely. Example – reading business magazines or newsletters on a daily basis.

Once you’ve marked your to-do list in this way, you know exactly how to allocate your day for increased productivity!

5. Apply the 80/20 rule

Otherwise known as the Pareto Principle, means that 80% of results will come from 20% of your effort.

For example, I bet that 80% of your business comes from 20% of your clients.  It’s those 20% of clients you need to focus upon replicating and servicing really well.

How do you figure out your 20%??

First, identify the tasks that generate the most revenue to your business.

Second, identify the clients who generate the most of your revenue and (most likely) use those services.

Then from these two lists, figure out the common elements so that you can replicate those types of clients and those types of tasks.

Ironically, if you do the ABCDE method above to your lists, I guarantee your 20% will inivitably be the A tasks (which will also be strongly linked to your strengths in 3 above – neat huh?).

6. Supercharge your emails

Don’t be driven by the need within your emails. You now know what is important so stay focused on that.

Ferris recommends that you check your emails twice per day, with a view of checking it once per day (or in his case, once per week!).

We take our emails a step further.

Customer service inbox

We use a communal inbox linked to customer service software (eg helpscout, zendesk) to assist clients and ensure our whole team is on the same page.

Some customer service software allows you to split the emails so that only those team members allocated to a specific client, can read and respond to that client’s emails from within the team.

Filters

Use the googlemail help or outlook help, to create rules or filters that categorise non-urgent / information only items such as email newsletters to a new folder called “Reading Materials”.

Ensure the email is marked as ‘read’ and filtered to the folder for you to review at the end of the week, and only spend 15 minutes reviewing these folders for key take aways.

Supplier invoices

Use smart software such as Shoeboxed or ReceiptBank  to automagically forward supplier invoices so that smart computers do the electronic coding for you.

The upshot?

When something hits our inbox, we know it is something important.

Going on holiday? No problem!

One of my girlfriends recently went away on holiday for 6 weeks. She came back to work with over 3,000 emails to attend to.

She deleted them all because her out of office message said “I will be returning to the office on X date. If your email is urgent please contact my colleague Y”.

And you know what? Colleague Y dealt with all the urgent and important stuff whilst she was away. She also figured that if it was important that she attend to it, somebody would resend the email to her in the first week back. And they did!

Our friend was then able to go straight to her team, get a 20 minute download of all the fires she needed to help put out, clients to contact and management work to get back involved in.

She was ready from day 1 back to work and not stuck in overwhelm!

7. Go on the information diet

Now, for socialtes like us, this will be a challenge.

Yet both Ferris and Tracy – the ultimate life hackers highly recommend it.

Basically, turn off the news, stop reading newspapers (online and paper) and magazines. Stop reading journals and social media for a whole week.

Instead, notice:

a) if something is really important, you’ll hear about it, and get the main points within 5 minutes of somebody else telling you what’s happened.

b) how much extra time you have to think about what is important to you to get done.


Practice makes perfect:

One thing I will say, is that with every new habit, practice makes perfect.

The above are practical steps to super charge your day, they aren’t however, set and forget tips. You need to practice them every day, and be viglient in your practice.

If you fall off your path, don’t badger yourself, but instead, give yourself a pat on the back because you’ve recognised it. Then, promptly jump back in the saddle!

Finally, as always aim for progress rather than perfection.

 

If you would to learn more on how to increase the efficiency of your business, please {{cta(‘2ed8e638-0f12-40e7-8a0a-13cda63303d1’)}}


 

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