“My life is one long obstacle course with me being the chief obstacle.”- Jack Parr
Practically every entrepreneur I know and work with gets presented with a lot of opportunity. Their bank account is not yet where they want it to be due to lack of opportunity.
It’s due to lack of time.
In business there are good strategies poorly executed, poor strategies well executed, but rarely is there a new revolutionary strategy. The same goes with managing your time. These strategies may well be familiar to you already. It’s just your execution of them that probably needs a little work.
Tip #1 Stop Answering Your Phone When It Rings.
How can you focus on the really important things in your business when every day you get bombarded with a tidal wave of distractions? Answering your phone anytime it rings is one of the biggest killers of productivity. It’s a sure fire way to derail the plans you had for the day as you now spend it fighting fires or helping others with tasks they’re likely more than capable of handling on their own.
Please, turn your phone off. Get your calls answered by your assistant. Train your clients to make appointments to talk to you so that you can ensure you’re always well prepared for their call (and not answering questions off the cuff). I have a client VIP list – anyone who calls my office on that list gets a call back usually the same day or a priority appointment set. Anyone not on that list gets a call back from my assistant to help them, or, if they qualify, an appointment to speak with me is set which may be in 2 or even 3 weeks time. Return your calls in a clump or schedule set times like I do. You’ll be amazed at how much you get done and how much more prepared and productive you’ll be to the people you do speak to.
Tip #2 Leverage Your “In-Between” Time
Stuck in traffic? CD’s and podcasts are arguably the greatest educational invention since the yellow highlighter. They let you easily and cheaply turn your car into a classroom or a seminar, listening to one of America’s experts discussing your subject of choice. Just about every notable self-improvement or marketing and business expert, author or speaker has a variety of material available in audio form. Information on practically every topic is now readily available for download – from fitness and learning a foreign language, to improving your memory and how to grow your business. You name it and likely an audio version is available for you to listen to during otherwise “wasted” time – when you’re stuck in airports, sitting in doctor waiting rooms, or taking road trips.
Tip #3 Delegate Or Outsource Everything That Isn’t The Highest And Best Use Of Your Time.
You know the things in your business that you’re best at. It’s likely the very thing you get paid the most by your clients to do.
In my case it’s designing growth strategies for clients, creating advertising campaigns and working with my team to create end to end marketing systems. Any task that doesn’t fall into this list I do my best to delegate, or even better outsource. My administrative tasks get done by my assistant. I have two people who do all my proof reading of my campaigns, books and articles (like this one). Through a lot of trial and error I have the most phenomenal graphic and web designers on my team.
I happen to love both graphic and web design but it’s not what I’m best at. Sure I could spend the hundreds and thousands of hours to learn how to do what they do – but why bother? I’ve found three of the most talented graphic and web designers on the planet. They take my strategy and copywriting and produce visual designs that are even better than I could have imagined.
It’s the same with my private clients. Most of them hire me to help with the marketing and growth of their business not because they couldn’t learn how to do it themselves (sure they could with the right materials and time commitment). It’s because they have better things to spend their time on – things they love to do and are outstanding at doing – like spending one on one time with clients, conducting seminars, speaking, motivating staff, securing funding, bringing on new strategic partners, etc.;
The bottom line is this: Protect your time for the precious commodity it is. Leverage your time by spending as much as you can doing only those things that you’re truly the best at doing. Let the rest go. Delegate it or outsource it to the best people you can find.