Sallie BateGuest Blog by Sallie Bate of  The Coachworks

Time Management, the wonderful enigma.  Of course, you don’t need it explaining that it is impossible to manage time, only to manage yourself and your time better.  A lot of business owners ask me for support with their time management.  Below, I have outlined some basic tried and tested methods to make sure you are spending your time on the right things.  Please believe me, I am no Time Management Guru, in fact I have always struggled with my time management, here are some ideas that have helped me get to where I am today:

Focus on your HPA

Amanda calls the important things you need to do; H.P.A’s (High Payoff Activities)

It may seem basic, but the amount of business owners who get caught up in the minutia of day to day activities at the expense of focusing on their High Payoff Activities is amazing.  Often focusing on the right tasks is the difference between a business thriving and a business collapsing.  It doesn’t matter about the colour of your paper, if your clients are starting to wane.

It goes without saying that each of the tasks that you perform must have a direct link back to increasing the profitability of your business.  However, of these tasks, there will be some that can be done by other people, actually let me correct that, there will be a lot that can be done by other people.  Write down your plan for this year, and then write down your key performance indicators.  How much time are you spending on tasks that are unrelated to these key goals/indictors?  How would your business grow if you just focused on these tasks?

Time Management is my responsibility

When coaching a client on Time Management I use this phrase:

When I give you my time, I am giving you a portion of my life that I will never get back.  Don’t waste it.

It’s a powerful phrase.

Too often we believe that our time is not ours, that people take our time and we have limited control over it.  In fact the secret of good time management depends on exactly the opposite.  Good time management depends on 2 things: taking responsibility; and being disciplined.  Without these you will always struggle.  I don’t want to hear you say “yes, but…” that won’t help you.  Taking responsibility means that you need to realise that you have choices, and that your choices got you to this point, if you don’t like where you are you can choose to change.  As Jim Rohn once said: “If you don’t like where you are MOVE, you are not a tree.

So what choices aren’t working out for you?  What other options do you have?

A task written down is worth two in your head

I have always used a “to do” list, but many people I coach, don’t use them.  Crazy right?  Surely you can’t function without a proper to do list?  I wasn’t blessed with a great memory, I’m in awe of those people that say, “Yes, I’m free Sunday, I’ll see you at 12”, and they actually turn up! In a business scenario your to do list is crucial, not just for remembering things, but as an analysis tool to ensure you are doing the right things.

After coaching someone I always look for the impact that my coaching has had, between you and me, if someone doesn’t have a to do list and makes that one of their action points I love it, because I know that they will see significant results straight away.  That’s how powerful a to do list is.

Some to do’s and to don’ts:

  1. Do write tomorrow’s list before finishing work today, you are in the best frame of mind to plan significant actions at this point.
  2. Don’t write things that you have completed already, it’s wasting time.
  3. Do deal with repeat offenders: If an item is always on your list and is never tackled make a choice: remove it from the list, delegate it or get it done.

And finally

Don’t go it alone, if you are struggling with your performance or if you simply know there is a better way of doing things then get support.  A good coach will support you in this.  Please contact me, I’d love to hear from you.