We are all being robbed every day!! If it was actual dollars going out the door we would be calling the police to investigate. These time bandits are stealing one of our most valuable commodities. I’m speaking about busy business owners who pride themselves on working hard. Many business owners can easily see where their employees are wasting time. Surveys indicate that 89% of salary/wage earners are aware they waste between 30 mins and 4 hours per day. And yet from my observations and experience working with business owners they are perhaps even more likely than their staff to have their valuable time stolen each and every day.
Are these 5 time bandits sneaking around your business?
These 5 time bandits are probably stealing 60 – 90 minutes out of your day almost every day.
- Interruptions – emails, phone calls, staff questions, customers/clients issues, family and friends. Interruptions are time bandits disguised as important work and/or relationships. The problem is that interruptions are other people’s agenda. They stop you getting on with your agenda. Some business owners have an open door policy that means they are constantly interrupted. They have trained their clients, staff, family and friends that they are available any time of the night and day. This approach may appear friendly and people-oriented but it means that hours are wasted each week on other people’s issues.
- Distractions – interesting new shiny things and ideas, internet searches, Social media, unclear boundaries. Distractions usually become powerful when we are tired or have low energy. Distractions help us avoid important work that we do not enjoy.
- Disorganisation – no plan, poor calendar set-up, forgotten appointments, poor execution, and multi-tasking. There is nothing more frustrating for staff than a business owner who is disorganised. His or her disorganisation means hours are wasted fixing crises created by poor planning and lack of thought. Studies have shown that multi-tasking is one of the time bandits favourite tools to slow you down and cause you to lose up to 40% productivity.
- Poor energy management – due to responding all the time, poor diet, insufficient breaks, no exercise, and lack of movement throughout a day. Daily and weekly energy management is important. No-one can maintain high energy all day every day. In order to be at peak performance when you need it most you need to learn the skill of energy management. Taking breaks refreshes your energy. Creating some space between appointments helps you manage your energy. Going for a walk and eating your lunch outside helps refresh your mind and makes you more productive in the afternoon. Manage your energy and keep the time bandits away.
- Neglected Personal Issues – health issues, emotional stress, kids misbehaving, covering partner due to poor communication, lack of support due to low investment in the relationship. I have come to believe that most of the issues likely to undermine business success come from neglected areas of our personal life. For example – the chronic health issues many face due to years of sitting and poor diet. Working long and hard can be disastrous for marriage relationships. Blink a few times and children grow up often not really knowing their hard working parent very deeply.
How much is an hour worth to you?
What hourly rate do you charge for your services? If you sell products it is a bit harder to know. The average small business owner in Australia should be valuing their time at no less than $200 /hour. For many their time is worth much much more. So why do we charge out our time to clients at one rate but then often see it as our role to do work that would cost us $30 /hr if we paid someone else to do it? If you could buy back 90 minutes per day, what is that worth to you in your business? At $200 /hr that is $300 per day; $1500 per week and a staggering $75000 per year.
Knowing your priorities is the place to start taking control of your time
I do not believe in time management. The clock keeps ticking whatever you are doing and refuses to be managed. The only thing you can manage is yourself. So it is critical to know, set and manage your priorities. That is the foundation of how you make the most of your time. Have you ever wondered how some people can get so much done? Those people know what they want, have clear targets they are aiming for, and plan to do things every day to achieve the success they have planned. We all have the same 24 hours per day, but some are consistently more productive than others.
Some people have a much better relationship with time than others. What is your relationship with time? Never have enough? Quiet and relaxed one day then frantic the next? Or do you have a good long range view, with clear priorities, goals and plans which enables you to be present in the moment knowing you are doing your most important task at any time each day?
Every business owner needs help to overcome the time bandits
So much of my work as a Business Mentor involves bringing an experienced set of eyes to see the areas where time and energy is being wasted in a business. I know I am most blind to my own issues. I need accountability, which is why I have a mentor who helps me see and keeps me accountable. To start a conversation about how I could help you increase your productivity and grow your business please click here to make contact.