As a small business owner, you know that time is your most precious commodity. It seems like there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done. And when you’re stressed out and feeling overwhelmed, it can be difficult to focus on the important things. When you implement some strategic time management strategies, they will help you reduce stress, have more time off to do what you love, and focus on what matters.
Know The Dollar Value Of Your Time
You are a great operator and as such, you wear many hats, and are pulled in many directions. You can do every job in your business; you fill the gaps and do whatever needs doing.
But it’s doing you a disservice. You are likely the lowest paid employee by spreading yourself so thin.
That’s WRONG. You need to see yourself as the highest paid employee and the most valuable asset to your business. Hourly employees will come and go and are relatively easy to replace compared to you. You are irreplaceable, and your time is invaluable.
How much money do you want to put in your pocket every year? This will be the starting point to adjusting your thinking so you can make better decisions about how you spend your time. You can fill this in with your own numbers, but let’s use $100,000 as an example.
By dividing your targeted annual earnings by the number of hours you want to work in a year, you can calculate what your work needs to be worth per hour.
Annual Earnings Target $100,000
$100,000 / by work hours/year 2208 (276 days X 8 = 2208/year)
(that’s working 46 weeks a year, 6 days a week, 8 hours a day)
= Base hourly rate = $45.20
Of all the hours you spend in your business, how many of them are productive, focused on sales growth, marketing, building a more solid plan for future growth? And how much is “busy work”, putting out fires, filling in where needed, staffing issues and general operation tasks?
You need to multiply your base hourly rate by three to compensate for that non-productive “busy work” that you could be paying someone else (at a lower rate) to do. CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies surveyed actually have 28 minutes of productive time per day. The amount of time you are truly productive is, at best, a third of your working hours.
X Productivity vs non-Productivity multiple X 3
= What your time must be worth per hour = $135.60*
* Before taxes. If we are talking after taxes, a good rule of thumb is to double that.
The final number equals the dollar amount you need to earn each hour to reach the base earnings target.
It’s simple math, but when you see it on paper, you realize that not focusing on the larger picture, important job of growing your sales is limiting the results you are getting.
Good marketers, the people who bring more sales and customers to the business, who increase the transaction averages, and increase the profitability of the business – those people are invaluable. And that’s you!
Focus Your Energy On Specific Tasks
One of the biggest problems that Independent Business Owners struggle with is making a change in the contributions they make towards their business.
Keep your hourly rate at the top of your mind when you are deciding which tasks you are going to complete in a day. It will help you determine what is the most valuable use of your time.
“You can’t make $100,000 a year doing $10 an hour work.”
This change involves a shift in mindset and a change in the way your time is spent – both of which will seriously increase your productivity.
Productivity is the deliberate, strategic investment of your time, talent, intelligence, energy, resources, and opportunities in a manner calculated to move you measurably closer to your goals.
With some simple strategies to help, you can distinguish between the activities that you do, the activities that you should be doing, and the activities that you need to delegate to other people. Overall, it will make you more productive.
The higher your hourly worth, the less tolerant you should be of people misusing your time. That’s like people reaching into your pocket and stealing from you.
If you don’t have the necessary tools and procedures in place, you won’t be able to capitalize on making the money you want. It will be taken away from you by your own inefficiency and from people stealing time from you. You must be ready for it. Harvest it when you can.
Time Management Strategies
Now that you know your worth, time management is key to your success. You should only be spending your time on high value activities. Juggling work and personal responsibilities can be stressful and overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are proven time management strategies that will help you reduce stress, have more time off, and focus on what matters.
- The more people are taking time from you, the tougher you need to be. Instead of an open door, create a steel curtain. Make people batch their questions of you, have them book a set time to meet and limit the meeting time.
- Make it difficult to waste your time. The people that value your time and use it productively will adhere to your wall of defence.
- Delegate, delegate, delegate. One of the best ways to manage your time is to delegate effectively to others. If you have employees, make sure they are aware of your expectations and are able to handle the tasks you assign them. If you don’t have employees, consider outsourcing some of your work to freelancers or virtual assistants. Give clear instructions, provide guidance, praise, feedback, and reassurance along the way.
PRO TIP: When you delegate, focus on the RESULT, not the process. The recipient doesn’t have to do it the way you would do it, they just need to get it done to your satisfaction. Relinquish control of the process.
- Set priorities and focus your efforts. It’s important to know what’s most important and focus your time and energy on those things. Make a list of your goals and priorities and refer to it often. This will help you stay on track and make the most of your time. If an activity does not move those goals forward, how can you eliminate it?
- Take breaks and schedule time for yourself. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s important to take a step back and relax. Make sure you schedule time for yourself every day, even if it’s just a few minutes of fresh air and a walk around the block. This will help you recharge and be more productive when you’re working.
- Create a system that works for you. Everyone is different, so there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to time management. Find what works for you and stick to it. Whether it’s using a planner, setting alarms, or making to-do lists, find a system that helps you stay organized and on track.
- Define what is productive for you. You cannot measure something unless you have a standard to measure it against. If you don’t have a target you are aiming at, you won’t know when you hit it.
Don’t let someone who is worth $10 an hour waste your time:
- Communicate your time values to others.
- Create a good defence.
- Have Zero tolerance for abuse.
- Get rid of people who waste your time.
- Block time when you are unavailable.
- Say NO.
- If they can’t find you, they can’t interrupt you.
- Refuse to be easily derailed
- Have integrity that matches your position
Analyze Where Your Time Goes
Record your time and activities every day for 2 weeks. Take the total hours worked on each activity and divide by the amount of money that has been generated by that activity, or that you “saved” by taking over a lower value job.
If you own a restaurant, how many burgers do you need to flip to make $100,000?
If you own an auto repair shop, how many oil changes do you need to do to make $100,000?
If you are a retailer, how many hours do you need to stand behind the till to make $100,000?
This will give you the total dollars per hour that activity was worth to your business. You may find that you are seeing more time/money sucked down the drain than is actually being generated. You will quickly see the areas to focus on to increase the amount of money from the time you spend working.
Then answer these questions:
- What do I want to earn per hour? $_________
- What activities do I engage in that earn that amount of Money?
- What activities do I engage in that do NOT earn that amount of Money?
- Who can I hire/delegate to do those activities?
- When am I going to hire/delegate them?
Procrastination Is Your Enemy
Procrastination can be a huge hurdle to getting things done, and it’s virtually everyone’s biggest enemy. We all have things we avoid, and reasons to avoid them. It can be tough to break the habit.
- Set a time limit: When you sit down to work on certain tasks, set a timer for a specific amount of time. Once the timer goes off, take a break. This will help you focus and avoid getting overwhelmed by the task at hand.
- Break it down: If you have a large project that seems daunting, break it down into smaller tasks. Tackling the project one step at a time will make it feel less overwhelming and make it more likely that you’ll actually get it done.
- Find your motivation: What’s driving you to procrastinate? Is it fear of failure? Perfectionism? Once you identify what’s holding you back, you can start to address those issues and move forward.
- Get rid of distractions: Turn off your phone, close social media tabs, and find a quiet place to work. Eliminating distractions will help you focus on the task at hand and get it done more quickly.
- Just start: Sometimes the hardest part is getting started. But once you get started, it’s usually easier to keep going. So just take that first step, no matter how small it may be, and you’ll be on your way to overcoming procrastination!
If you have the desire to make more money from your business, then your business needs to make more money. And no one is more valuable, invested, and skilled at doing that than YOU.
That means time management is critical for you. You must be spending your time on high value activities that will result in growth. By working towards continuous improvement to implement time-saving strategies, you can reduce stress, get more done, and enjoy a better work-life balance and start living the lifestyle you dreamed of when you started your business.
Delegate your marketing to us, we can take a load of time and stress off your hands – you still control and direct everything that happens – but we make it happen for you. Join us for a Free Marketing Strategy session and we can help!