TOO BUSY? YOU NEED TO READ THIS.
‘ Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans. ‘ – John Lennon
It’s funny, as I started writing this I noticed that I had run out of time for the day. Typical isn’t it, you have an elaborate plan of work you need to get done on a day, and every other conceivable thing happens, preventing you from getting it done.
Maybe there’s some stock taking to be done, maybe you wanted to finally look over some new website designs, start work on a social campaign. Then, the coffee machine breaks, there’s an angry customer, you run out of a particular item and need to replenish it immediately, maybe a staff member doesn’t show, so everyone is even more stressed than usual.
You know it all to well i’m sure.
The thing is, those other tasks, the website, the planning, it all needs to be done, they might arguably be more important in the long run than those day to day worries.
But you’re too busy. Or I will put it to you ‘think’ you are too busy.
Here are our top tips for finding that extra few minutes in a day to get those big decisions done.
Know your goals.
Every business has goals, short term, long term, you name it. But often, the day to day tasks you get involved with are not activities that support your business goals. Every task that doesn’t support those goals is a time-waster. Make a daily plan that revolve around working on things that directly relate to generating income and growing your business.
Prioritisation, something that crops up in every job interview, but how often do you practice what you preach?
There are many different categories and methods that people use to prioritise their tasks throughout a working day.
One of the most common is The Eisenhower method. As Sba.gov explains, “The Eisenhower method is named after President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who said, “What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.”
Looking at what goes into making up your day, where do your activities fit into these categories?
Important and urgent — Tasks that must be done. Do them right away.
Important but not urgent — Tasks that appear important, but upon closer examination aren’t. Decide when to do them.
Urgent but not important — Tasks that make the most “noise,” but when accomplished, have little or no lasting value. Delegate these if possible.
Not urgent and not important — Low-priority stuff that offer the illusion of “being busy.” Do them later.
Start from the top and keep a record of your progress, you will feel a sense of accomplishment, and find the motivation to tackle the less pressing tasks.
Learn to say no.
‘ Focus isn’t about saying yes, it’s about saying no. ‘ – Steve Jobs
No one likes being the no person. The one that may feel like a barrier to getting things done. But it’s all about maintaining focus.
Focus is one of the key skills that every successful business leader (or leader in any sense) stresses as important. And you only get focus if you remove unnecessary tasks. If you have to decline a request in order to attend to what’s truly important and urgent, do not hesitate to do so. The same goes for any projects that you can tell are headed nowhere: Be prepared to move on to more productive tasks. Learn from the experience to avoid wasting time later on.
Similarly, start remembering number of times someone interrupts you during an important task and track self-induced interruptions, particularly if they involve your smartphone. Your smartphone is extremely useful, but it’s also addictive and among the most insidious time-wasters known to mankind.
For those more open to testing their will power, try shutting the door and turning off your phone to maximize your time. Instead of being “always on,” plan a break in the day to catch up on email, call people back, talk with staff, etc.
I’m sure to many, the idea of mindfullness sounds like a fad. For people who didn’t grow up watching TV, typing out instant messages and doing homework all at the same time, multitasking is deadly. But it decreases everyone’s productivity, no matter who they are. “A 20-year-old is less likely to feel overwhelmed by demands to multitask, but young people still have a loss of productivity from multitasking,” says Trapani.
So try to limit it. Kathy Sierra at Creating Passionate Users suggests practicing mindfulness as a way to break the multitasking habit.
It seems obvious, but one of the worst things you can do is start a workday with no clear idea what needs to be done. The time you spend thinking ahead and planning your activities is trivial compared with the time you’ll lose jumping from one thing to the next (and rarely completing anything). If When it comes to planning, try these simple steps.
The night before — At the end of the day, take 15 minutes to put together a list of the next day’s most pressing tasks. It’s a great decompression technique, and you’ll feel / sleep better knowing you have a plan for the next day.
First thing in the morning — Arrive a few minutes early and assemble your prioritized to-do list (see the second thing on our list). This may prove to be the most productive part of your day.
This one seems to be the most effective technique for gaining time back, if you only are able to try one thing, try this. You’ve done a good job of hiring talented, dedicated employees, so why not trust them with something that eases the load off you? (if btw, you don’t trust them to do these tasks, it might be time to look at your hiring policy.) Running a successful business depends upon the owner’s ability to think about what lies ahead and not get mired in day-to-day quagmires. Look for opportunities to pass responsibility for specific tasks to others on your team. They will benefit from it, as will you.
Use tech (within reason.)
From simple tasks such as bill payments, all the way to complex accounting, there is usually a piece of software can help you get work done quickly, often for free. For instance, you can set up an auto-reply for common inquiries in your email system, or use a task management app (such as Trello) to delegate responsibilities and check the progress of a project. Other platforms such as Memberoo are incredibly useful if you are planning to implement a loyalty scheme in your quick service business. Of course, it is important to add that such technology should be used in moderation and only to serve your business goals, but a little often goes a long way.
Have an *actual* lunch break.
Working / reading this in your lunch break? Stop immediately. Working during your lunch break, (similarly to working late at night) might seem like a great way of getting an extra bit of time to get something done, but it actually can be counter-productive. Generally, taking 30 minutes away from your desk / counter will help you to be more effective in the afternoon. Doing something like going for a walk outdoors or some other exercise will help you come back to your business re-energised, with a new set of eyes and renewed focus.
Having a regular midday break will also help you to break up your work into more manageable chunks during planning.
Finally: Dare to be slow.
Occasionally, it’s worth remembering that good time manager actually responds to some things more slowly than a bad time manager would. For example, someone who is doing the most important task that day is probably not answering email while they’re doing it. Everyone knows there are more important tasks than processing email. What you need to do is recognize that evaluating what’s come in and how to handle it are as important as doing the tasks themselves.
For more great business tips, stay tuned to the memberoo.net blog.
Give your business a loyalty boost
If you’re a store owner, you don’t need to install a robot to enhance the shopping experience. But the smartest stores are realising that they need to know more about their customers to start serving them better. That means encouraging them to share some of their data by giving them something valuable in return – special offers, discounts, the opportunity to be part of a club. That’s what Memberoo was built for.