I have the blessing of coaching people pretty much every week of my life. And yet, coaching is not what I would have said I’d being doing when I was younger. After years of coaching people, I can say it never gets old!
This past week in one of my sessions I worked with a company who’s owner was struggling with time due to death by a thousand slashes. He has so many disruptions in his day he finds himself at times working until 4AM to solve problems.
As you can imagine, he’s considerably frustrated with time lost both in his business and his personal life. And just like all of us, he has incredibly legit reasons why it’s like this.
Here are just 7 things I shared with him to gain control of his time, which in turn will make the company more money. They’ll do the same for you.
- Close your day out – I’m starting with this because it will help make better sense of the other steps. If at all possible, block the last 30 minutes of your day so you can “wrap-up” your day. This gives you time to go through any emails, calls, or whatever needs to be addressed before you leave. This doesn’t mean that all emails and calls are attended to, it just means you tackle the ones that have to be. Reserve at least 5 minutes for the next step.
- Tomorrow’s to-do list – Yes, I want you doing a brain dump and list the most important things that must be done tomorrow, and then prioritize it. So much time loss comes from bouncing from one thing to another and not having serious momentum. When you have it listed out, you attack and don’t stop until it’s done.
- Schedule your to-do list – My buddy Crystal Paine of MoneySavingMom.com shared with me that she schedules her to-do list by time slots. And here’s the best part. She reschedules it up to 3-times a day. When something disrupts the flow of her day, which happens to all of us, she goes through her list by adjusting priority and rescheduling. Genius!
- Block off “you” time – It is also vitally important for you to block off time for you to do whatever it is that makes you money! If part of your job is to produce, not just lead, then you have to make sure that you have as much uninterrupted time as possible in your day to produce. Otherwise, you end up working incredibly long hours because you spent your day being a firefighter instead of following these steps.
- Team meetings – Quite often the reason a leader dies a death of a thousand slashes is because the team doesn’t have enough direction from that leader. Weekly team meetings are usually necessary, but you might even have to have daily ones as well. Summarize the previous day, any changes the team might not know about, and give direction for the day ahead. This should keep a lot of interruptions from happening.
- Set healthy boundaries – It is not uncommon for a leader, entrepreneur, or team member to allow others to unnecessarily suck up their time. If a client, which might also be an internal client, has a habit of dropping in on you whenever they want to discuss the job you’re doing for them, then you need to let them know that scheduling time with you would be more productive. Think of it this way. An 8-hour road trip becomes a 10-hour road trip when you add a bunch of stops to it.
- Teach your team to solve problems – In the first 90 days of a team member’s time with me, I will answer almost any question they have. After that, I start asking them questions and telling them to bring solutions to their problem as well. In other words, when a team member needs an answer on something, I ask how they would handle it. This causes them to start force-of-habit thinking to always come up with an answer first. You’ll be surprised at how many times they will actually solve the issue on their own.
After discussing these 7 things and more, my client made a comment that the time saved will actually gain him $50,000.00 in billable hours. That, my friends, is something I like to hear!