I turn my computer off at 5:00. That’s right – off! I rarely work on the weekend and certainly never in the evening. What’s your first thought when you read those sentences?
“He must not have much to do!” or “Wish I could say the same!”
Handling all finances and operations for Synthesis as well as managing my client base keeps me pretty busy! So your first thought is incorrect. However, let’s see if you can make your second thought – your wish – come true.
There are many studies that reveal very little time during the work day is spent…well, working! We spend it in meetings, attending to interruptions, searching for lost items on our computers, our desks, our files. There are 7 – 8 hours in a work day and yet, we can’t seem to get it all done.
If you are a single-digit entrepreneur chances are you ARE overwhelmed. You may be at the point where help is needed but your finances have you convinced you cannot hire or out-source. In a word – you’re wrong! If more than half your day is spent on non-billable items, or you have to work weekends and evenings to get caught up, then you need to look at ways to out-source some of the tasks that keep you from growing your business. There are affordable solutions and YES, you can teach someone to do what you do. Believe it or not, you are not as unique as you think. Give it a shot with one item. Trust me, delegation can become addictive.
If you are a manager or a business owner with team members and you still find more work than day, it’s time to begin managing your interruptions and your time spent in meetings. Here are my top 3 tips to help you recapture your day:
1. Hone in
Multi-tasking is a misnomer – it’s multi-non-tasking. It’s start and stop, pick up then lay down, begin and begin again. In other words, if you can focus on ONE THING at a time and take it to completion, you will be amazed at what you can get done. But that’s tough when you have so much to do. So, begin by writing down the top 3 things you want to accomplish that day. Don’t be absurd and put down ten things (unless they can be accomplished in less than 10 minutes each). Focus on the big three, then…
2. Shut your door
Barb and I work out of our home as do all our sub-contractors. Many times it is just the two of us but we know when the door is shut to our respective office, we’re not to be interrupted – by phones, by questions, by emails, etc. Shutting the door means turning off the email, cell phone, office ringer and focusing on the project at hand. We don’t spend the entire day with the door closed, instead we…
Set a timer for 30 minutes and keep on one task. Get up after that and walk around, get a drink, play with the dog, meet with your team, return calls or answer email – do all that with the final 30 minutes. Then micro-focus again.
Writing a list, shutting the door to distractions and micro-focusing allows me to shut the computer OFF at 5:00. I can meet that challenge each day and I encourage you to do the same.
Life is too short not to organize your time better to have more of it in the end. Happy holidays! May the New Year be prosperous, healthy and peaceful for you and your family. God bless America!
Here’s to a prosperous 2011 and getting “out by five”