‘How To’ Coaching series – Activity 53

Chapter 3 – Control Your Time – Use your time wisely

This is part of the ‘How to’ coaching series.  An ongoing series of activities to make your business successful.  Follow it step by step and see positive results as you develop a robust business model, set on a solid foundation.

Activity 53 – I have time slots in my diary for my own health and enjoyment

When you first started your business, that was probably the main thing on your mind and took most of your waking hours. Then, as it got going, you may have found that it seemed to take even more of your conscious time.

I’ve seen it a number of times.  It often leads to burnout.

Think of a car, you need to refuel or recharge it.  It’s the same with us humans. We need to refuel/recharge – food, water and rest.

If things are going well, the quality of food and drink improves, but often at the cost of the rest and relaxation. The one thing that is often be missed is to refuel and recharge our minds.

When was the last time you did something just for you?  It’s not selfish to make sure you have some time for yourself, be it health and fitness or some relaxing downtime.

The HowTo bit:

Make time for healthy activities and time for enjoyment in your diary.  Treat these activities as you would your other work tasks.  Plan them into your day/week/month.  Treat them as you would your most important meetings.

If you take your own physical and mental health seriously, you will be sharper and better equipped to run a successful business.

So, what sort of thigs can you plan in?

Exercise is good.  It could be running, walking, gym, yoga, dancing or anything that gets your heart rate up.  You can join in with organised groups or in the comfort of your own home…. And for those who say they don’t have time, you can dance to your favourite tunes whilst hoovering your home.  There is no excuse not to do something.  A person I know who has a significant health condition, still makes the effort to stretch a bit and do some homecrafts in their working day.

What other activities make you happy?  Have you planned in some of those too?

We can all do something; however small it seems. It’s better than doing nothing.  The key part is to start.

If you’d like to have a call or meet up for a coffee to brainstorm some ideas for you, Contact Us

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‘How To’ Coaching series – Activity 52

Chapter 3 – Control Your Time – Use your time wisely

This is part of the ‘How to’ coaching series.  An ongoing series of activities to make your business successful.  Follow it step by step and see positive results as you develop a robust business model, set on a solid foundation.

Activity 52 – I have a Default Diary that delivers maximum productivity

We all know how busy things can get when you’re running your business. There are so many potential distractions.

It’s easy to loose focus on the key aspects of your business that drive income.

With this in mind, Would it be better to have a mechanism for keeping your eyes on the prize? Would you like a simple reminder system for all the activities that will move your business forward?

How would it be if it was really simple?

One useful tool is to use a default diary approach. This will highlight what needs to be done, and when. The idea is to help you minimise unplanned activity; as long as you are disciplined in using it.

The HowTo bit:

To help you be more productive, create a diary system showing all the usual activities you do during the week. These might be your admin time, your marketing time, sales time, client/customer facing time, team meeting time…. the list is for you to develop that suits you and your way of working.

Some people put them on a spreadsheet. With days across the top and hours in the columns. Then block out sections for the key activities. Making the boxes different colours helps you see the income generating times.

I’ve created my own default diary sheet.  I’ve then built the time blocks into my electronic diary, shared across my phone, PC and other devices that hold my diary.

That way, I know what I should be working on. Hence the term ‘default’.  You can change the time blocks to suit a real day, yet not loose sight of the tasks that still need doing.

Each day/week, have a look at the time spent on the key activities. Did they match your default position? You can always review and amend your diary.

If you would like to learn more about creating and implementing a default diary system into your business life, Contact Us

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‘How To’ Coaching series – Activity 51

Chapter 3 – Control Your Time – Use your time wisely

This is part of the ‘How to’ coaching series.  An ongoing series of activities to make your business successful.  Follow it step by step and see positive results as you develop a robust business model, set on a solid foundation.

Activity 51 – I regularly delegate routine activities

When you are clear on what aspects and task in your business you can, and want to, delegate, you can just let go.. right? Oh how wrong you would be to do that.

I’ve seen it so many times; where someone abdicates responsibility for a task and dumps it on someone else.

Then they usually operate the ‘leave alone, zap’ approach to leadership.

It’s going to end in a mess if you don’t delegate properly. I see it as giving the person you pass the task to, every chance to succeed.

The ‘HowTo’ bit:

Choose which tasks to delegate and decide what activities you will replace them with, that are more profitable for you to be doing.

Clearly define the actions, tasks and targets to be achieved when handing over a activity. A process, procedure, standard, work instruction or checklist will help ensure that the task can be performed in the way that will deliver the results you want.

For example, I had a mailing of 1500 flyers to do. They required a sticky label with the recipients name and address, plus a stamp. It was a task that I didn’t look forward to. So I found an organisation that do this sort of thing for a very reasonable sum. The task was clearly explained to the person who would carry out this activity. They attacked it with with enthusiasm and a level of care that was heartwarming. Something I would have got bored with in 2 minutes was professionally done in next to no time at all. The organisation then posted the flyers for me.

This allowed me to go and work with a client. A far better use of my time and effort.

Make sure you still retain a grip on what’s happening by giving clear guidance and instructions what to do. After all, it’s still your responsibility to get the job done.

If you would like help to work out how, and what, to delegate, Contact Us

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‘How To’ Coaching series – Activity 50

Chapter 3 – Control Your Time – Use your time wisely

This is part of the ‘How to’ coaching series.  An ongoing series of activities to make your business successful.  Follow it step by step and see positive results as you develop a robust business model, set on a solid foundation.

Activity 50 – I delegate or outsource most/all of the Admin & low value/low enjoyment work

Are you so busy doing stuff in and on your business that you don’t have time for the important stuff? You know, the activities that actually bring cash into the business.

It’s often that entrepreneurs don’t feel able to delegate the activities and tasks, that are required, but could be better done by someone else. When you started your business you were probably doing it all. As a company develops, there comes a point where growth will stop (& sometimes goes into reverse) when you can’t do it all.

I’ve also seen it in companies that have a team that gets swamped as their sales/work grows. Owners are often reluctant to take on more team members for fear of having to let people go if the business shrinks. This is one of those questions that keeps many owners awake at night and/or can stop growth in it’s tracks.

Before you get to this point, it is a good idea to develop a delegation strategy and targets. When you know the numbers (KPIs) for your business, you have at least a chance of making a decision based on relevant facts, rather than just a finger in the air.

The ‘HowTo’ bit:

Carry out a review of your business tasks and determine those that you can, and would like, to delegate. Remember that if you can be making a significant contribution to your business, it’s better that you are doing this than a low value task you dislike doing. This is often best done as a team/disinterested party exercise

When you know what tasks you want to delegate, work out the best ROI approach for each. Personally, I started by focussing on those minor irritating tasks I didn’t enjoy doing, and got those off my back. I then looked at what tasks would be better done by an expert in that field.

Proper delegation means that you still know what tasks are being actioned and that you are fully conversant with the progress. You will have a report to hand to know the answers.

So, what tasks and activities can you delegate? If you would like help to determine those tasks that could be done by someone else, Contact Us

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‘How To’ Coaching series – Activity 49

Chapter 3 – Control Your Time – Use your time wisely

This is part of the ‘How to’ coaching series.  An ongoing series of activities to make your business successful.  Follow it step by step and see positive results as you develop a robust business model, set on a solid foundation.

Activity 49 – I have a list of my top 10 most enjoyable tasks in your business

If you are still enjoying your business, what are the bits you enjoy most?

Typically, we work harder and more creatively on areas we enjoy.  These are not always the most productive or revenue generating aspects of the business; they are the tasks we look forward to most.

There are good reasons for establishing your top 10 most enjoyable tasks.

  • When you know what you enjoy doing most, you can understand what is driving you.
  • Learn the behaviours so you can use that feeling on other less enjoyable, but more financially rewarding tasks.
  • Understand what tasks you might want to delegate.
  • Understand where your time goes.

The HowTo bit:

Take some  time out, ‘creative time’, to list all the tasks you enjoy doing in your business. I’ve found a brainstorm session over a coffee works well.

Prioritise your list of tasks to determine your top 10,  in order of preference.

As per Blog 46, you can use a spreadsheet to record these tasks and sort them.

I add these tasks to my main spreadsheet and see how many overlap with the other tasks.

From this exercise you will see what you enjoy doing most; hopefully it’s the revenue generating tasks that you enjoy most.  If not, it’s probably time to review why you are running your business and what tasks you should work on and those that you could delegate.

If you would like help defining and prioritising your top 10 most enjoyable tasks,  Contact Us

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‘How To’ Coaching series – Activity 48

Chapter 3 – Control Your Time – Use your time wisely

This is part of the ‘How to’ coaching series.  An ongoing series of activities to make your business successful.  Follow it step by step and see positive results as you develop a robust business model, set on a solid foundation.

Activity 48 – I have a list of my top 10 productivity related tasks

We’re all busy; even busier these days so it seems, but are you in business or busyness?

It’s very easy to fill our days with non-productive tasks.  Be honest, those tasks such as checking your social media to see who’s doing what; and the internet for how well your team did over the weekend.  Those tasks offer little return to the business, even if they are enjoyable, they don’t bring in cash to the business or get the business moving forward.

When you know your most productive tasks, you can decide which to concentrate on.

If I had a pound for every time someone said to me that they would be concentrating on the key business generating tasks that day; who, when asked to confirm what they had achieved, would look slightly embarrassed and admit they got distracted…. well you know I’d be even more wealthy than I am now.

The HowTo bit:

Let’s keep things simple and start with the list of your productivity related tasks.

As per the previous post ‘HowTo 47’, I enter all my tasks onto the spreadsheet.  For this exercise I use the same spreadsheet and have added another column to list the productivity score which give me the best return for my efforts.

Then it’s a simple exercise of sorting the list to show the highest score in descending order.  From here I pick the top 10 I’m going to focus on.

If you would like hand working out your productivity related tasks; and/or how to work out your productivity, Contact Us

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‘How To’ Coaching series – Activity 47

Chapter 3 – Control Your Time – Use your time wisely

This is part of the ‘How to’ coaching series.  An ongoing series of activities to make your business successful.  Follow it step by step and see positive results as you develop a robust business model, set on a solid foundation.

Activity 47 – I have a list of my top 10 – Stressful tasks

What you enjoy doing gets done.  That’s the usual way of things.

I’ve found that clients have often been struggling with getting the hard stuff done.  Do you put something off until it absolutely has to be done?  It’s often when the outcome of not getting something done is worse than finally completing the task.

Before we start looking for strategies for how to deal with the stressful tasks, you need to make a list.

The HowTo Bit:

Over a week/month, make a note of all the tasks that you find stressful.   When you have your list, list them in ‘headache’ order.

I find that this best done with a nice coffee and a piece of cake; anything that you find pleasant and relaxing.  I make the list on a spreadsheet and then put my ‘stress factor’ against each (1 to n).  Pick your top 10, then sort them on the spreadsheet. This way you can see clearly which are the biggest headache to you.

I’ve found that just by having a list helps me to focus.  The key is to work on defining strategies on how to make the tasks less stressful.  Then implement your approach for reducing the stress levels on each task.  This could also be by delegating them when appropriate.

If you would like help working out your top 10 stressful tasks, Contact Us

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‘How To’ Coaching series – Activity 46

Chapter 3 – Control Your Time – Use your time wisely

This is part of the ‘How to’ coaching series.  An ongoing series of activities to make your business successful.  Follow it step by step and see positive results as you develop a robust business model, set on a solid foundation.

Activity 46 – I have a list of my top 10 – time consuming tasks

It’s often when we feel that we are at our busiest that we think we haven’t got enough time to do the important things in our business. There often seems to be so many tasks and people competing for our attention.

The best way to take back control of our time is to define what tasks are using up most of our day.  Better to understand what is receiving most attention.

Just start by making a list.  Sounds simple enough.

The HowTo Bit:

To make the list of your top 10 time consuming tasks, you first need to understand what tasks you carry out during your day/week/month.

Make a list of all the tasks you undertake, and how long you are working on them.  Do this for each day, for a whole month.

This way, you will be able to understand how much time you have worked at each task.

I use a simple spreadsheet to record all the tasks.  This allows for a data sort using ‘time’ as the key.  This will give you a list of your top 10 tasks by time.  For the daily recording, the template I can share has areas to capture further information that will be useful for a more detailed analysis of your time data.

If you would like a copy of the template to record your time for daily tasks, Contact Us

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‘How To’ Coaching series – Activity 45

Who controls your financials?

Chapter 2 – Financial Control – Rule your money

This is part of the ‘How to’ coaching series.  An ongoing series of activities to make your business successful.  Follow it step by step and see positive results as you develop a robust business model, set on a solid foundation.

Activity 45 – My quarterly and annual filings are on time each quarter

Do you run an organised business and get your filings done on time?  Why would it matter if you were late?

For a start, it may well cost you quite a bit in fines from HMRC.

The more important thing is that it would indicate to me, or anyone else looking, that you are not in charge, or on top of, running your business.

When you have a well organised business, you and your team can concentrate on the income generating tasks.

The HowTo bit:

It may seem ridiculously simplistic to say, schedule the actions to get your returns back on time, in your diary.  But in reality, that should be all it takes.

I put trigger dates in my diary for all my bookkeeping and accountant related tasks.  I make sure that my accountant has all my financials in plenty of time for them to get the filing done.

Make sure your accountant has arranged, and carried out, the filings.  That way you won’t get caught out.  Even though you have an accountant, in the eyes of HMRC, it is the business owner who is responsible for making the filings on time.

If you would like to find out about getting your business organised, Contact Us

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‘How To’ Coaching series – Activity 44

Who controls your financials?

Chapter 2 – Financial Control – Rule your money

This is part of the ‘How to’ coaching series.  An ongoing series of activities to make your business successful.  Follow it step by step and see positive results as you develop a robust business model, set on a solid foundation.

Activity 44 – I use my financial reports so I can make decisions on the future of my business

So you’ve collected all the financial figures of your business, by following the previous ‘chapter 2’ st of blogs, what you do next will make collecting them worthwhile.

When you know what to expect, you can make changes to how you are running your business and see the results. You can see how well that bit of marketing paid off. You can understand whether your cash is flowing efficiently and that you are managing it well. Plus all the numbers that drive your business choices.

The HowTo bit:

The key is to be consistent with producing and using the reports. With the build up of your numbers, you are able to check like for like over time.

Define your map of numbers and create a dashboard. This can be on a spreadsheet or a more comprehensive tool.

It is best to automate the report creation process; if not, then make sure you stick your pre-determined schedule and report model and load the numbers manually.

Have a plan of what you will do with the information you get. No point having numbers and not making use of them.

If you would like assistance in setting up your reporting process, Contact Us

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