July 20, 2016

Knowing Where You Spend Your Time

time managementNo doubt, the saying that your time is your most valuable asset rings especially true for entrepreneurs.  Even if you have a small staff working with you, chances are there are still more things on your to-do list then you can realistically get to on any given day.  This is why knowing where you spend your time is so important.Take a week and analyze how your time is being spent – you may be surprised with what you find.   You’re not just looking for the obvious areas where time is being wasted (aka – oh look, I spent 7 hours this workweek updating my own personal Facebook page!), but also those tasks and responsibilities that take up more of your time then you anticipate.

Personally, I have always been terrible at estimating how long it takes me to fulfill product orders.  This includes printing the invoices, getting the boxes ready, packaging up the product, and getting to the post office or UPS/FedEx to get the box mailed.  I can’t tell you how often I would say “This will just take me an hour” and find myself well into the afternoon still working on the task.

While you may not yet be at the point where you can outsource all of those time sucks, knowing what those are will help you better plan out days and develop systems that will help you use your time as efficiently as possible.  For example, it got to the point where I started to only ship out orders on Mondays and Thursdays*.  I would devote time on Sunday afternoon and Thursday morning to getting orders packaged up and out the door.  This helped by freeing up bigger blocks of time on other days to work on projects/product production that needed my full attention.  It also helped me better plan how much else I could realistically accomplish on Mondays and Thursdays.  Interestingly enough, this process also lowered my stress level because I didn’t end my days feeling like I hadn’t accomplished all I’d set out to.  And a less stressed entrepreneur is one who can make better business decisions.

Maybe your time suck isn’t shipping, but chances are there is one thing (or more!) that takes up far more time than you anticipate.  Knowing what that is will help you determine a) is it worthwhile to hire out/outsource this task if possible and b) if not, how can you better manage your schedule so that task doesn’t have a huge impact on all aspects of your business.

*To make sure that customers knew what to expect, I also clearly conveyed on my website that orders went out on specific days of the week.

Related Articles: