Recently I was asked what my best tip or advice would be around time management. How can one run a business and be effective in managing their time?
There is not just one answer, since it depends on where you are in your business, what systems and processes are in place and how many resources you have.
There are the general tips of prioritising your tasks, delegating and building micro-goals into your routine, but the one piece of advice that really stands out for me is the following in the form of an analogy.
In order to build a strong house, which will withstand all weather conditions you naturally begin by building a strong foundation. Once the foundation has been built you then start with the framework and from there you fill in the detail. I’m no builder, but even to me it makes sense. Building a strong foundation and then moving systematically through and completing one project after the other, makes for good building sense.
So, relating this to business, if you want to spend your time wisely and make sure your business can withstand all “weather conditions”, make sure you have a strong foundation in the business. This would include having the right people in your business, the correct systems and processes, defining an accurate target market and being clear on your product or service offering. Spend time in the very beginning to get these elements right would be building your foundation and framework and then actively put time aside every quarter to review your progress.
Every new project you initiate in your business, from innovation and developing new products and services to on-boarding new employees, make sure the foundations are strong and the support network or framework is in place. Having to re-visit failed projects due to lack of planning and preparation can be incredibly expensive, demotivating, stressful and a complete time waster.
Unfortunately many business owners waste so much time running around in reactive mode putting out fires all day, because the initial foundations and business framework are not in place or are incredibly weak. Having a fancy bathroom or walk-in cupboards can be great, but if the walls of the house are crumbling down, a stand-alone victorian bath can seem pretty useless.
Good time management is about doing the right thing first and making sure you don’t need to keep going back to patch up the errors.
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