Imagine you have a trust account that pays you $86,400 every day like clockwork. That $86,400 is yours to use as you see fit every day. Sounds pretty good, right? But wait, there’s a catch. Whatever money isn’t spent by the end of the day is automatically lost and cannot be regained. If that was actually the case, wouldn’t you work hard to make the best use of that money before it vanished?
In reality, that’s how it is with the amount of time we get each day. We all get 86,400 seconds of time each and every day; and like that hypothetical trust fund, whatever we don’t use disappears by the end of the day and is nonrefundable. Though it is not possible to use every single second of your day, business professionals should be striving to squeeze out every drop of precious time they can to get optimum use of their allotted 86,400 seconds. If they don’t, projects may move slower, marketing efforts stall, clients begin to fade away and business owners may find themselves missing out on important opportunities that could aid in the growth of their businesses. Here are some tips on harnessing and using those 86,400 seconds to your advantage:
Watch the Time-Suckers: Social media platforms like Facebook may be an instrument of business and a fabulous way to get in front of your ideal client, but they are also notorious time suckers. Want to know exactly how much time you waste on Facebook? Check out this fun tool at Time.com that calculates it for you based on your Facebook activity. Once you get done being shocked, make an effort to leave social media browsers closed during your work day for anything other than conducting business, and gain back some time.
Banish the Guest Chair: If your business is a one that occupies a physical space, you may already know the pitfall and benefits of the Guest Chair. Many of us need guest seating opposite our desk to create a place for clients or even employees to sit comfortably during a business discussion. But more often than not, these guest chairs also become a “crash pad” for bored staffers or a place where meetings can go longer than they need to. The obvious solution to this problem would be to get rid of the guest chair and opt to hold meetings in a conference room. Another solution would be to signal to let visitors who linger too long know it’s time to go with a polite, but firm, “I’ll walk you to the door” offer. Side note: The online version of the guest chair is most certainly Skype. Though a critical link to business clients or even team members or sub-contractors in other parts of the world, it too can be the “guest chair” of your business day when you are constantly being “pinged” by non-business requests or requests for conversation from well-meaning family or friends. Turn your status to Do Not Disturb several time of day to focus on work.
Make the Clock Work for You: Feeling pressed for time at work? Try arriving at your office 15-30 minutes earlier every morning to get a jump start on certain tasks before digging into your email, and before clients begin calling. This scheduled “bonus time” can add up over the course of a week, month and year; and I predict you will be amazed by the amount of work you will get done during that bonus window of work time.
Lastly, take a hard look at your daily activities. If there never seems to be enough hours in the day, start documenting your tasks and actions throughout the day to identify where your time leaks are. Are there tasks you should outsource? Are there meetings that don’t have to happen or committees you should step away from? Proper time management is an important ingredient to your business’ success, and taking the time to learn how to better plan your time could save you a great deal of stress and headache in the future.