Everyone gets 24 hours in a day, yet some seem to get more done in the same time. How? My last post was part 1 of 7 Steps to Having More Time. It covered the first 4 steps. Don’t miss them. Today we’ll cover steps 5-8 (But you said there were only 7 steps. Bonus step!)
“It’s not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: what are we busy about?”-Thoreau
Step 5) Delegate:
Check your list of how you are currently spending your time again and look for the tasks that need to get done that you either don’t like to do, you aren’t good at doing, or just aren’t the best use of your time. How many of these tasks could you delegate to someone else?
Almost all of us could delegate more. Why don’t we? Is it because we think no one can do it as well as we can? Sometimes, that’s true. But, often that’s because we don’t invest the time to train someone to do it the way we want it done.
Have you ever tried to delegate something, spent a couple of minutes explaining what you want and then gotten upset when the results weren’t what you were hoping for? Well, you need to take responsibility for that. If you spend the time necessary to explain and train them so they are able to do the task better than you can (yes, I said better than you can – it’s possible) you will save so much more time from that point on. It’s an investment and it’s worth it.
You also have to let go of the idea that the way you do it is the only “right” way to do it. As long as the job gets done well, who cares if a different way was used to get there?
Another reason we don’t delegate as much as we should is we don’t have the staff to handle it.
Here are a couple options: If you work for someone else, go to your boss and explain how much more productive and profitable you can be for the company if she could help you delegate these tasks to someone better fitted for them. Offer to do this on a trial basis so she can see how much more productive you will be on the things that matter most. Once you prove yourself, she will have no problem letting you delegate more.
If you’re self-employed, why not outsource like the big boys do? There are a ton of outsourcing companies in and out of the United States that can do virtually anything you need done. I listed several of these in a previous post. I’ve used outsourcing for many different tasks and have been very pleased with the cost, quality, and speed of the work. I recommend using a company with many employees rather than one person. That way, if one person quits, gets fired, is on vacation, etc. your work still gets done.
Step 6) Negotiate:
If an offer, opportunity or request comes your way that doesn’t fit your strengths or the best use of your time, don’t immediately say yes to it. Take a little time and figure out the best way to handle it.
Could you simply say no?
Could you explain what part you could do really well and why you think Susan or Bob would be perfect to handle the other part of it?
Could you take on a different project in exchange for the one that doesn’t fit you?
When you explain how this negotiation will help everyone, you will be surprised how often your counteroffer is accepted.
[Tweet “You have all the time you need to do what you were born to do. Don’t waste it.” ]
Step 7) Spend 80% of your time doing what you do best and what you love to do.
Congratulations. You have cleared away so much from your life that you don’t really need to do. You still have the same 24 hours in every day, but now you have much more control over how you will use them. You can focus on what you do and like best.
Here’s a great way to plan out each workday:
In the evening prepare for your next day. Ask yourself: What is the most important thing that if you got it done tomorrow would make the biggest difference to your business? Decide on it.
Getting this one thing done would make your day a success. That’s what we’re looking for here. IF you finish that, what is the next most important thing you will get done? IF you finish that, what is the next most important thing you will get done?
The next day:
- Do your most important thing until it’s done. I know sometimes “things come up.” But you need to schedule time for your most important activities or something will always “come up.” At the minimum, work on this task for one hour. Then take a break for anything that requires your attention. Then repeat the process.
- If time remains, do the next thing on your list.
Step 8) Celebrate a great day!
Go for a walk with your spouse. Read a book to your kids. Go out for dinner. Eat some boiled peanuts and watch a martial arts movie. (Wait, that’s just what I like to do. Sorry.)