How Do You Manage Your Day?
We all get the same 24 hours every day, but how many times do you get to the end of your day wonder, “Where did the day go?” and that leads to, “What did I accomplish?” Once the hours are gone you’ve lost that commodity.
Chances are, if your day is getting away from you, it’s because you didn’t have a plan. Without a to-do list it’s easy to waste time on tasks that aren’t meaningful. With a to-do list you can mark off tasks you’ve completed, celebrate the milestones and also uncover those times when you haven’t accomplished what you set out to do?
Three ways to manage your time and keep tasks moving forward:
• Determine your top three priorities for your day
• Set a timer for 30 minutes
• Work on your first priority for those 30 minutes, reset the timer and go onto the second (and so on) You will be amazed at what you can do if you know you’re under a self-imposed time constraint
To add even more value to those three steps:
• Work on top priorities first. It’s easy to check off the simple tasks and leave the more difficult ones hanging over your head but that just drains your energy. Even if you can’t complete the entire task in 30 minutes, you will at least have made a dent.
• Put up a “do not disturb” sign. Even if you work from home you need to limit your interruptions whether from phone calls, emails or family issues.
• Once the timer has gone off, move onto the second task even if your first has not been completed; this will incentivize you to go back to that task and continue on with it.
Imagine the feeling of accomplishment you’ll have knowing that you have tackled three of your top priorities.
If you’re constantly putting out fires and are spinning your wheels trying to “get it all done” and grow your business. Contact us, as a certified E-Myth Coach we incorporate the seven teachings of the E-Myth to help you innovate and succeed.
Do you ever wonder if there is power in one? We believe there is and as business coaches we work with our clients to help them break down the business activities they need to participate in into bite-sized chunks.
In some cases doing one more thing can reap amazing results. Here are some powerful “ones” you can incorporate:
- Suggest one more service to every client you speak with. Just as the fast food restaurants ask, “Do you want fries with that?” you should be asking your clients the same thing.
- Make one more client visit or cold call every day. To determine whether this method might grow your business, consider your current conversion rate and multiply that by the power of one more call a day.
- Commit one day per month to developing your skill set. Regardless of whether you attend a training networking event or sign up for an online class, stay connected and educated keeps you relevant.
- Read one book a month. If you already read for your area of expertise, pick up a work of fiction or something in a genre that has nothing to do with your work life.
- Ask one client a week for a referral or testimonial.
- Show up an hour early. If you believe the early bird gets the worm, then you want to be that early bird, you want to be the one whose doors open earlier than the competition and you want to be the business owner who answers his phone an hour earlier than “the other guy.”
What type of “ones” can you incorporate to help grow your business?
You cannot do it all. What does this mean to an entrepreneur? It means you need to set boundaries (and likely learn to delegate) but in order to truly get anything done, you need to set boundaries with colleagues and even family in order to get to the tasks at hand.
We know it’s tempting to work all day, every day, especially when you’re in growth or start up mode, but doing that means you leave yourself at risk of illness and honestly the more you work, the less productive you become.
What can you do to set boundaries and remain productive? Here are three suggestions:
- Social media and anything online can take away valuable time from the tasks at hand. Turn off your email and social media notifications and set your mind to a particular task. Once that task is complete, treat yourself to a little online interaction.
- Is there a task you’re procrastinating? Did you know that procrastination takes more mental energy and saps your reserves than simply jumping into a task you’re dreading? It does. Give yourself a time limit — 15- or 30-minutes — and delve into a task you’re dreading. Anyone can work on any objectionable task in small chunks.
- Be deliberate in your plans. If you make a goal concrete rather than vague you are more likely to complete it. For example, saying, “I will make client follow up calls Wednesday” instead of, “On Wednesday from 10 am until noon I will make client follow up calls.” Even better would be to attach a number to that, “I will make 10 client follow up calls between 10 am and noon on Wednesday.” If you don’t set a time frame to it, the day will come and go and that item will remain undone.
Set limits. Write your goals down. Note if your productivity increases.
How productive are you? When is your most productive day of the week and when is your least productive day? The answers might surprise you and you should compare your results to these:
- It’s been shown that Tuesday is the most productive day of the week; Friday is the least.
- The most productive time of the day is 10:26 am and the lest productive is 2:55 pm.
Do you agree with these? While it might be difficult to pinpoint the exact moment when you’re the most, or the least, productive, we’re certain you’ve heard of the “three o’clock slump” so we think that’s where the 2:55 pm comes from.
What does all this mean to the business owner? It means you should take time to determine when you, personally, are most and least productive and then arrange your work tasks around those times. Tackle the hardest tasks when you’re most productive aka attentive and menial tasks during your own slump-time.
Do you know your personal productivity times?
No man is an island. This adage is true in life as it is in business. Successful entrepreneurs know that to grow a business they need to collaborate with others. How can you make certain your collaboration skills are as strong as they could be?
Here are some steps you can take to strengthen them:
- Make certain your associates feel a part of the process and that their contributions are given thoughtful consideration.
- Do you include all relevant team members in discussions? Do they feel part of the team?
- What do you do with that one person in your organization who tosses out ideas — that may at first seem out of the scope of what you’re doing — to make him or her feel part of the whole?
- When you’re attempting to formulate solutions to problems, do you involve team members from a cross section of your organization?
What can you do to foster collaboration and input from all team members?
Great! You’ve decided that you’re going to become an entrepreneur! What are the downsides to being your own boss, being the master of your own domain and not having to answer to a supervisor? Well, there are a few and they include:
- The hours are long. When you’re an employee, you punch a clock and go home at the end of the day. As an entrepreneur, you don’t have a clock to punch and you may find yourself putting in more hours than you originally imaged and when you take the hours worked and divide that by the money you bring in you may find that…
- The money isn’t as good in actuality as it was on paper when you put your business plan together. You should have a bank account that can support you and your current lifestyle for at least three (preferably six) months while the business gains traction.
- It can be stressful knowing that you don’t get paid unless you sell your goods or services and that means you have to be constantly selling. It can be stressful when you’re making a sales call that could make the difference between filet mignon and rice and beans. You don’t want to let desperation seep into the tone of your sales calls.
Take heart, though, there are benefits to being a business owner and they include:
- It is so rewarding to see your successes and know you were the one responsible for it.
- You have flexibility to work the hours you choose whether you’re an early bird or a night owl or if you want to work on the weekend and take a day off during the week.
- You can create your own destiny and perhaps even a business that you can pass down to your children.
If you’re ready to take the leap from employee to entrepreneur, working with a business coach may be your first, best step!
In order to make the most of your business coaching session, you should take steps to prepare for it so that the time you spend with your coach can be beneficial and help you walk away with a plan in place to grow your business.
Here are the five steps we believe should occur during the course of a coaching relationship:
- Be clear in the goals you hope to achieve in your coaching session. Do you want to find a work/life balance? Bring in more clients? Make a conscious decision to expand your organization? What outcomes are you ultimately seeking from your coaching relationship?
- Once you have honed in on a measurable goal your coach will work with you to put a time frame into attaining that goal. Once you have a time frame, you will need to “work backwards” to break the large goal into smaller, measurable steps.
- Your coach will hold you accountable for the goals you’ve set and the time frames under which you want to meet them. He will walk you through specific tasks you will likely need to complete in order to achieve them.
- You and your coach need to acknowledge the goals you have set for yourself. Both of you will talk through roadblocks or mini-setbacks you may have — and you should be prepared for them and look at them as learning opportunities.
- Celebrate your successes! Once you reach a milestone in your goals or complete a major portion of a task pat yourself on the back. If you’re struggling to get over a hurdle, celebrate when you clear it!
Coaching is a two way street with the client (you) knowing you need assistance reaching that next level in your business and having that outside source (your coach) showing you ways to reach them!
You never want to paint an entire industry with a broad brush, but when it comes to entrepreneurs, there are several traits and qualities that leaders businesses all seem to possess.
What do we feel makes up the traits of a good leader? Here are our top three:
- A leader has vision and is able to articulate that to his team. The vision for their business is typically in line with the vision they have for their life as well. They have a forward thinking attitude and know how to share it that involves the entire team.
- Chances are when you went into business you did so because you were passionate about the industry you’d chosen. How do you share your passion and what steps can you take the instill that in those with whom you work?
- A trait embraced by many entrepreneurs is the ability to be a problem solver and to make decisions in a timely fashion. A business leader needs to have the wisdom to know the best course of action and to make a decision on it, whether it’s popular or not.
What traits do you feel is crucial for a business leader to possess?
Quick! What does your desk look like? Can you see the top of it? Does it look like a bomb exploded and it’s stacked with towers of papers and file folders overflowing and stacks of “to-be-read” magazines on the chair next to you? If so, what kind of example are you setting for your staff or for clients that may come to your office?
You don’t have to completely change who you are, because some people are “naturally” messy, but you do need to keep up appearances, especially if you’re leading a team. What steps can you take to be more organized? Here are three suggestions:
- Accept offers of help. If someone offers to help you make sense of the mess, take them up on it. There is more than one way to “file” and being organized with towers of paperwork may help you be more productive in your day to day operations.
- Lead by example. If you walked into your employee’s cubicle and saw a desk that is in the same state as yours would you give him a high five or would you wonder, “how does he get anything done?”
- Take time at the end of every day to clean and straighten your desk area — note that this could also mean your virtual desk area. By that we mean, you need to tame the disorganization of your desk top in the fact of setting up file naming conventions so you can find documents when you need them and by filing and acting on emails when they come in so they don’t get lost in the shuffle.
What steps can you take today to get more organized?
When you took on the role of entrepreneur you took on a lot of responsibility, not the least of which is the leadership of a company. If you’re like most business owners, you will want to grow your company from a one man show into a flourishing enterprise.
In order to make that happen, you, as the business owner need to stand for something. What you stand for — and it could be part of your mission and vision statement — will be guiding principles of your business. Leaders impact every aspect of a business and you need to be a person to whom your staff can come and know the answers you give are based on the company’s guiding principles, not given on a whim.
What makes up the traits of a business owner who stands for something:
- You choose to follow your mission and vision statement as the way you run your business and make your decisions.
- Your clients and employees trust you because you are true to your word and make decisions based on fact not emotion.
- Your personality and vision attracts like-minded people and your clients appreciate your ethics.
True leaders don’t look at themselves and think, “this is how I will rule!” They look at theirs as a role of responsibility that leads to meeting the needs of clients and employees.
What do you stand for?