By Jenny Lukas, AVN
There are only so many hours in the day and we all want to use them wisely. So how can you be more effective with your time?
These are my top tips for being more effective:
Write down your goals
Establish your goals – remember SMART when setting them – and make sure that they are in writing (for more on this, see my recent article One simple thing you must do to achieve your goals). Keep asking yourself, “What is the most valuable use of my time right now?” and focus on the tasks with the highest pay off leading to your goal.
Do the right thing
A good manager does things right, but a good leader does the right things. Check that you are always doing the right things rather than just doing things right. Do more of what you do well and less of what you don’t do well. You can apply this to your business too by asking yourself, “What made my business successful in the past?” Those are the things you should keep doing.
The art of delegating
To be effective at managing your time, you need to learn the art of delegation. But don’t just pass on a piece of work and assume the other person knows what you want. Make sure they understand and ask them to feed that information back to you in his or her own words. Don’t finish the conversation until the appropriate next steps have been identified and specified.
Maximise the effectiveness of your prime time
Everyone has a prime time – the time of the day when you are at your most effective. So use it for your most important, creative work. Little stuff has a tendency to multiply and take over so make sure you don’t use this valuable time for clearing up unimportant things. Make your prime time a period of sustained, concentrated effort and stay with a task until it is finished.
Finish one task before you start a new one
Don’t keep taking on new things until you’ve finished off others. Remember the old Chinese proverb, A man who chases two rabbits catches neither. Focus on getting the right things done (see my first tip above) and don’t forget the Pareto principle (the 80/20 rule) – 20% of your efforts produce 80% of your results. Apply this throughout your business.
What can you eliminate?
Finally, decide what to eliminate, i.e. the things you should not be doing. This might be a service that isn’t profitable, or a segment of your clients that no longer fit with you. In other words, if 80% of your sales come from 20% of your customers, concentrate on these and you could potentially drop the remaining 80% of customers.
Even applying 20% of the ideas above could have a massive impact on your efficiency. If you’re an accountant and want more help on using your time efficiently, join the AVN Know How Hub and take a look at the webinar by Emma Slack on Taking Back Control.