It comes as no surprise that most entrepreneurs and business owners struggle with managing and controlling their time. With the ongoing interruptions of cellphones, social media updates, endless emails, meetings after meetings, and the old fashion phone call, where does anyone find time to get any work done?
Most people think the issue is trying to focus amidst all the different and constant distractions. In some ways, it is. But the second dramatic improvement that can be made, in terms of time management, is condensing our time. When you book a meeting is it always 60 minutes? When you sit down to send an email, is it a set period of time, like 30 minutes? Additionally, how many 15-30 minute breaks do you have between events in a day? How many minutes are spent chatting with colleagues?
One of the best exercises to condense your time is taking a five day week and compressing it into just three days. You are instantly forced to look for opportunities to save time and put limits on things that can be limitless, like checking your email. Once you complete this, move the week back to four days, allowing Fridays to be a buffer or free day. Friday can be the day to work on what you want, or to be strategic. It’s time to stretch your perception of what can be done in a day. The goal is to create some artificial rush in how you work now, and get things done.
10 Ways to Condense Your Time
1. Set time to review the email and then TURN IT OFF! Yes, to maximize your time you need to set a designated time for email reviewing and responding. Turning off the incessant bings, alerts, and notifications will help cut time down. Likewise, putting aside time at the start and end of your day will help condense the unnecessary constant back and forth.
2. Cut your meetings from 60 minutes to 45, and then to 30 minutes. Try odd numbers to make the time limit more obvious and conscious. For example, 28-minute meetings work better than 30 just like 43 works better than 45. If you give yourself 30 minutes for a meeting, you’re bound to use the entire 30 minutes. In a meeting, people tend to use up all the time, whether it be useful or not. Cutting down the minutes will help reduce the small chit chat and unnecessary conversations when your time can be spent somewhere else.
3. Stop accepting every meeting that is requested of you. Review all meeting requests once a day and book only those that add value to your role or work. Have someone else in your office cover the meetings that “might” add value. Skipping out on meetings that do not apply to you can allow you to spend your time being more productive. Having someone report back from the meeting can save you 40 minutes a day.
4. Know what the top three ways you create value are, and ensure that 80% of your time is dedicated to these things. Make sure you set priority to the things that will actually bring in the most value for your business. If certain meetings are sucking up a lot of unnecessary time and don’t bring in much revenue, slash them down. Furthermore, sit down and figure out the top three ways to gain more business and focus on that.
5. Move weekly meetings to bi-weekly with slightly more time. Replace the opposite week’s meeting with a one-page report, and see if it can potentially replace meetings altogether. Weekly meetings can be great but they can also become repetitive and suck up a lot of time. Ask yourself, does this topic need to be held in a meeting? Could this just be sent to everyone via email? Also, is this discussion more of a monthly topic instead of weekly? Answering these questions will help determine what things need to be held in a meeting and what things can be sent via email.
6. Have stand-up meetings and daily huddles with your team. Keep them 10 to 12 minutes tops! These little pre-shift and post-shifts are meant to be short and sweet. Deliver the necessary information needed for the tasks at hand, give a little feedback and motivation, then set them on their way. Morning meetings are not always necessary. As well, let your team know of any concerns or updates and then send them on their way.
7. Set meetings back to back with 5 minutes to transition. Schedule your meetings 3-4 in a row to cover them off in a half-day and then enjoy a half-day back at your desk where you can get some work done. Back to back meetings mean that you will stay on top of the topic at hand and you have a reason to wrap things up for the next meeting.
8. Work outside of your office. In a meeting room or outside place, like a coffee shop, to avoid interruptions and distractions. If you have an important meeting you should consider working at a different location, avoid interruptions from other employees. Sometimes a change in scenery is enough to help motivate you to stay on topic and get things done.
9. Don’t schedule any meetings until after 10 am. Create a work period for yourself that your team and colleagues know is your “Do Not Disturb” period. The start of every day is your time to get things done. Whether it be a quick email, preparation for a meeting, or a project. This time is yours. Furthermore, buy a sign for your door if it isn’t clear to others. If that fails, buy a lock.
10. Review meeting agendas and participate in only the discussions that relate to you. Excuse yourself when you are not vital to a conversation. A 60-minute meeting may only require you for 20 minutes. Let it be known that you would like to only participate when it requires your attention.
As you start to condense your time and create urgency, people will begin to respect and honor your time. Perhaps not a first, but give them 4 weeks to adjust to the new rules, and they’ll soon be onside with your new approach. Most people are shocked to realize others will respect their time before they will.
Do you ever feel like you spend all day getting nothing done? Start taking control of your time today! At Evolve Busines Group, we have worked with entrepreneurs and business owners to better manage their time, and achieve their business goals faster. Using our 10-step process, we can help you learn to control and condense your time. If you are interested in learning more, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call +1-403-836-3023 today to book a free consultation.
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