We all have the same 1,440 minutes each day, but some of us achieve so much more than others. How can we free up time to help lead a better business and ultimately achieve a happier life?
The top 10 time wasters:
1. Lack of clear goals.
Start by setting clear 12 month goals, then break these down into 90 day goals. Your actions each day should be steps towards achieving those 90 day goals, which will ultimately lead to the achievement of your 12 month goals.
2. A messy desk.
Desk clutter results in mind clutter. Tidy your workspace each day before you leave so you don’t arrive to a mess. Also consider how paperless you are; paper becomes clutter.
3. Procrastination and shifting priorities.
Spend a few minutes planning tomorrow’s tasks before you leave for the day or planning today’s tasks as soon as you arrive. Avoid unnecessary pick up and put down. Multitasking is a productivity myth.
4. Interruptions (from humans and technology).
Set clear parameters to reduce distractions, e.g. turn off your email and phone notifications, only check emails between tasks, etc. If it’s urgent, they’ll call or tap your shoulder.
5. Ineffective delegation (and abdication).
Ensure you give clear instructions when delegating tasks and empower others to do more for you. Responsibility still falls on you… without a clear process you are setting someone up to fail which will ultimately reflect badly on you.
6. Ineffective systems.
Mistakes are often attributable to ineffective systems. Involve your team and LEAN up processes where possible. Eliminate systems that don’t add value; implement new systems that aid efficiency.
7. Inability to say 'no'.
We are defined not just by what we say yes to, but what we say no to. Planning helps us to say no to things that don’t align with our purpose and goals. “No” is a complete sentence.
8. Ineffective meetings.
Ensure every meeting has a purpose, an agenda and clear objectives. Don’t stray from the agenda; refer back to the purpose if you’re going off track. Record clear outcomes and next steps in Meeting Minutes.
9. Ineffective email use.
Think twice before playing email tennis. Ask yourself if a phone call would be more efficient so you don’t find yourself constantly checking for a reply.
10. Poor planning.
Effective planning has three key components: a one-page plan (with goals, KPIs and required actions), regular reporting to ensure continuous improvement, and accountability.
What are your biggest time wasters? Identify your top three and take ownership and responsibility to minimise them today?