Do you keep wishing there were more hours in the day? And do you often feel that you’re working more hours than you want to, but not seeing the rewards you would expect?
When you have too much to do, and not enough time in which to do it, you may find it difficult to make good decisions and prioritise sensibly. After all, that can take up time! Also, you may resist delegating tasks to others, feeling that, until you have time to explain it fully, it’s quicker just to do it yourself.
Daryl Woodhouse, founder of Advantage Business Partnerships and co-author of Creating Business Advantage: Setting Up and Running A Successful Business suggests that in these situations it’s crucial to pause, step back, and take control of time for you and your team.
Here Daryl shares the five steps to great time management that he uses with many business owners and their teams, with fantastic results.
1. Understand. Look at all the tasks you do during one month and estimate how long you spend on them. Who else could do them if you had all the team members you could possibly need? And what wage value would you put on each task? Also, look at the total average number of hours you work each week. How many hours do you actually want to work?
2. Analyse. Now ask yourself: which tasks do you enjoy? And look at which of those tasks would be enjoyed more by another. Also consider whether another member of the team would achieve a greater output in less time. Be honest with yourself: do you have colleagues who could do some of those tasks as well as or better than you?
3. Implement. Agree where changes could be made, who will do what, and when they will do it. Discuss and agree on what the benefits or successes will look like for each type of reallocated task. Consider and decide on any other support needed, making sure the objectives are SMART (Specific objectives which are Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely).
4. Embed. Arrange to check in with all those involved in the acquiring or handling of tasks after 60 days. Discuss as a team: what worked well? What could be improved over the next 60 days? How does each member of the team feel about their amended role and their productivity? Arrange another review meeting to repeat the process and keep driving continuous improvement.
5. Enjoy. Make the time to recognise and celebrate the successes achieved by yourself and the rest of your team. I don’t mean you need to have a party (but do if you want to)! Simply noting the achievements of individuals and the team, and saying thank you, can help to keep everyone feeling positive and valued.
Through pausing and rethinking in this way, you can make your time work smarter and harder, driving continuous improvement in your business. This exercise will also simplify decision-making around resource allocation, creating productivity uplift and supporting everyone in the team when they need to choose priorities.
The analysis involved here will enable you to value and reward each team member’s contribution. Job satisfaction is likely to increase, as everyone’s work–life balance will be better, and the productivity of each role in the team should improve.
It’s too easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you’re too busy to use your time to your best advantage. You may feel that you simply don’t have time to stop what you’re doing. But if your time is not working well, try these steps and take charge of time management for you and your team.