This may sound silly.....
So bear with me for a second but this single concept has helped me find and save a ridiculous amount of time on my calendar every day. And I'm already achieving quite a bit more in my day than the normal person.
When I'm already squeezing more productivity out of my days than most people, finding an extra 2 or 3% is remarkable and that is what makes the difference between good and great!
So what are we talking about here...
I'm 'trick' isn't really a trick. It's, at it's purest form, simply time-awareness.
Literally. That's it.
I track my time religiously. I know how long it takes me to complete each task.
For example, I spent 32 minutes last night trying to reply to emails before I stopped because my assistant can spend 20 minutes going through the inbox with me so I can tell her what to say, and she can finish replying to all the emails in another 20 minutes that don't require any of my time. I spent 8 minutes earlier crafting a scales script, and 18 minutes chatting with a client. And I update my calendar accordingly so my team and I can see where I spent every minute of every day.
Okay, if that sounds a little bit ridiculous, it is to an extent.
I'm not always tracking my time that closely, but it's pretty darn close! I have become intensely aware of time as it passes during work hours and I do actually track all of my time on my calendar!
I’m aware as I’m knocking multiple tasks out, and if I can knock out two or three in a quarter hour, or if I’m taking a half-hour to reply to an email. I've trained my eyes to check in on the clock or my phone and keep track of how long each task is taking and whether I'm getting distracted with side tasks.
I've started getting my evenings back to spend to do what I want to do. I'm actually done working by 5 or 6 almost every single evening. We are making more money as a company (and my salary got a nice bump!) and I got my weekends back. In fact, I've had more weekends off where I've done not a single smidge of work in the past six months than I've had in four years. I've taken more evenings to spend time with my husband or my horse or family when they visit than I've been able to take off since starting my business.
And I love it!
That there are certain traps that will eat up 15-30 minutes in an instant (such as emails, social media and content creation for me).
Think about this. Most of us may get eight 30-minute chunks of productive time in a day (assume that the rest is getting eaten by meetings, driving, frivolous stuff) and suddenly that one task that is eating up 30 minutes each time becomes a bit deal.
Suddenly I started finding all kinds of tasks that either didn't need to be done at all, or could be outsourced and I'm spending 78 and 82% of my time at work on highly effective and Stephanie-Required tasks (ie the tasks that can't be outsourced). Which of course allows revenues to jump considerably.
An unintended side effect....
Came with my team!
The benefit was that my team profusely professes loving working for me. Why? Because when I assign them a task, I have a pretty good idea of how long it will take, so I am never “up in their grill” over the amount of time they dedicate to a single concept. I watched many of my peers constantly riding their team for taking half an hour to complete four calls, without realizing that because of the logging process that they require, it does truly take 6-8 minutes to complete each call!
So my question is, do you track your time? Do you truly have any idea how long it takes you to complete your tasks? If not, why not? It will allow you to streamline, it will allow you to find the black time-holes, and eliminate them!
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