In fact, we are each given the same amount of time: 24 hours, 1,400 minutes or 86,400 seconds each day.
The critical element is how we use that time. Some people produce amazing results, mega deals or profound impact on their community. Others seem to fritter away their time on meaningless activities, designed to have them feel comfortable and safe, but never reaching anywhere near their full potential.
I thought I’d share with you the strategy and tactics I use to allocate and leverage my time for maximum advantage and impact.
The over-arching short-term strategy is time blocking. I set aside chunks of time to focus and concentrate on one project or similar activities. The advantage of this is rooted in early industrial age theories where doing similar, repetitive activities builds up a rhythm – a flow – which maximizes throughput. When you multi-task, switching from phone calls, to email, to internet research to writing, your brain loses momentum. The constant effort required to shift gears deludes you into thinking you’re accomplishing things while secretly eating away at your effectiveness.
I ‘see’ clients Tuesday – Thursday. That’s when I also attend a very few, carefully selected networking events and most speaking engagements. I schedule outside meetings around where I’m going to be in the city rather than driving all over creation for coffee or lunch. I strive to stay in the office on Mondays and Fridays and have very little client interaction on those days. They are for me!
I subscribe to Marketing Mondays when I generally write these articles. I make plans for the week of who I need to call for prospecting or follow up purposes. I sketch out email marketing campaigns.
I also have Financial Fridays on the calendar. That’s when I deal with some simple QuickBooks accounting issues and sales tax reporting. This keeps me current by doing a little each week so it doesn’t pile up and become overwhelming.
Here are 7 of my favorite other tactics.
1. Be crystal clear of your Dream Destination.
Think about this like your own personal “Happy Ending”. It’s not about the end of your life but it is the state and quality of your life several years out in the future. If things had gone better than you ever expected, what would you be experiencing?
2. Sketch out a plan for the coming year.
You likely won’t get to your Dream Destination in one year and it’s tricky planning concrete events much farther out than a year. Convert your goals and outcomes to milestones and events and put activities (calls, meetings, marketing campaigns etc) on your calendar. Be bold and courageous as you do this.
3. Review long term goals at least monthly.
This will keep you from getting too distracted from immediate burning issues that would otherwise knock you off of your big target goals. You might decide to change your goals but at least it won’t be because you ‘forgot’ about them and their due date snuck up on you.
4. Before you leave the office every day, make a list of the most important things to get done the following day.
If you skip this step, you run the risk of losing focus and getting caught up in unproductive busy work. You’ll forget about the important things and the day will end before you notice.
5. Make sure marketing your business is on the list every day.
It’s tempting to spend all of your time serving your clients, but you can’t ignore the importance of continually engaging in marketing activities and sales conversations. Whether it’s nurturing referral partners, making cold, warm or follow up phone calls, or building lead generation processes for your website, you must perform actions that bring potential new clients ‘into the fold’.
6. Do the scariest things first.
Think big. Then think bigger. Make that important call. Prepare yourself by doing some research so you’re prepared but don’t postpone making big calls by consuming yourself with research.
7. Delegate, delegate, delegate
I’ve said this before but it’s so important, it bears repeating. Invest your valuable time to business development and selected product development that creates value for your firm.
Implement these practices on a consistent basis and watch your productivity soar.