Time is money, right? Yes and no. Unlike money that is renewable and cyclical, time is finite and THE most precious commodity that should be valued more than gold. If managed properly the net benefit will yield both, an increased bottom line and streamlined workflow.
Here are some practical Business Hacks to help fill your time bank.
1). LIMIT ACCESS HOURS
Every office has the Chatty Cathy that is just itching to discuss last night’s rose ceremony on the Bachelor or the latest office drama. Unlimited open access is an invitation to have your time and mental focus fractured by unimportant and usually uncreative informal dialogue. A closed door can position you for limited interruptions and creates a sense of demand for your time. Simple, yet powerful.
2). UTILIZE THE 4 D’S – DO, DELEGATE, DEFER, OR DUMP
It’s quite simple really. Assign a priority status to your task list and watch how instantly you gain precious hours back instantly.
If it’s good enough for President Dwight D. Eisenhower, it’s good enough for me.
o Do those tasks that are important and urgent. o Delegate tasks that are unimportant and urgent. (SPOILER ALERT!! Read #3 for tips on WHO to delegate to.) o Defer tasks that are important and not urgent, but make sure you assign a due date and do those personally. o Dump tasks that are unimportant and not urgent.
3). OUTSOURCE, DELEGATE & VA
Let’s take a survey. Raise your hands if you’ve muttered the phrase: ‘there aren’t enough hours in the day,’ or ‘I need an assistant.’ This most common workplace phrase is typically exalted out of frustration and stress due to impending deadlines, limited resources, and overwhelming to-do lists. I learned several years ago to delegate the most time consuming and least fiscally rewarding tasks to Virtual Assistants (VA’s.) This revolutionized my company and imparted me with invaluable time to focus on the high priority tasks and big picture operations.
It’s incredibly inexpensive, efficient, and empowering. Many highly skilled VA’s can be sourced from the US and Canada boasting a multitude of disciplines and talents for any application. Expect your productivity and bottom line to see hefty returns.
4). HYPERFOCUS FOR 40 MINUTES EVERY WORK HOUR
It’s not how much time you have; it’s what you do with the time you are given. Much like our bodies after an extensive work out, our brain works in similar fashion. It’s important to put in the work but also realize most of the benefit comes during time of rest.
Make a conscious effort to remove all distractions – disable social media, silence phones, set an auto responder for your email, tell your colleagues you are unavailable even if the office is on fire. Set a timer for 40 minutes and put it across the room (so you’re not tempted to check it every 3 minutes.) During these 40 minutes devote 100% of your attention to the task at hand. It takes a bit of discipline and perseverance at first, but once mastered you will enjoy your new good habit and the productivity that comes with it.
The next 20 minutes should be used doing “free thinking” activities that don’t involve critical thinking or are task related. Stretch, go outside, get a snack. You’ll be surprised to see the influx of ideas and motivation that subconsciously pour in when you give your brain the opportunity to “cycle off” frequently. Think of it as building “intelligence muscle.” Repeat this hyper focus cycle throughout the day for explosive results.
5). MIND MAP YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS
You may have hated science class growing up, but science is the ultimate hero when it comes to improving productivity. Studies show that when both sides of the brain are exercised it brings incredible clarity and ease to any decision-making process. Think of mind mapping as a more advanced and precise way of brainstorming. Using all of the ways your brain processes information - word, image, logic, number, rhythm, color and spatial awareness, so that you are literally thinking with your whole brain.
Physically mind mapping takes up less “hard drive” space than chronologically based notes, are less time consuming to produce, and is proven to be more effective and efficient by stimulating the brain to store and recall more facts. The result is a more macro view of your goals that can easily be recalled and implemented, fastracking you to success.
Gosh, I love science.
Try this free mind mapping software: http://www.Coogle.it
6). SET DEADLINES AHEAD OF DUE DATES
This is arguably one of the most hated words in business. But for many (including myself) deadlines, and the pressure to meet them creates an immeasurable desire to not disappoint - instant motivation! The uncomfortable anxiety is a welcomed reminder that procrastination isn’t acceptable. It sparks the competitive drive and primal instincts to kick it into high gear in order to maintain your reputation.
The sense of [relief] and achievement that comes with meeting a deadline (especially early) instills confidence with your employer and promotes a healthy systematic approach to time sensitive tasks that’s guaranteed to have you crossing the finish line ahead of everyone else.