How to Put Time on Your Side

Frequently, business owners deal in “commodities,” such as the goods that the company might produce or sell to the general public. Yet they may pay scant attention to one of the precious commodities: time. Successful businesspeople understand this concept and treat time as one of their most valuable resources.

Knowing how to use time wisely increases your productivity and allows you to do “more with less.” As the business continues to grow, this lesson may enable you to provide greater profits through greater efficiency.

Be aware that different types of time can be used to solve different types of problems. For instance:

Uninterrupted time: If you have a complex problem to solve, it is best to take a large uninterrupted block of time to work on it. Sometimes you have to create that block by removing yourself from day-to-day interruptions. Leave the office. Forward your phone calls to voice mail. Then dig into the problem.

Reflective time: This is the time for evaluation. “Am I going in the right direction? Am I using my abilities and resources effectively? How can we improve what we are doing?” Without reflective time, you run the risk of running amok in the wrong direction.

Relaxation time: Most people need a change of pace, a time to relax and recharge their batteries. Failure to provide this time can lead to loss of energy and a high level of stress.

Downtime: We spend a large part of our time waiting for things to happen. Think of the time spent traveling to meetings, waiting for appointments, etc. Use this time to do routine tasks such as planning your calendar, revising a report, catching up on required reading, drafting a short memo, etc.

Keeping those differences in mind, here are four ways you might better manage your time:

  • When it is feasible, delegate responsibility, not just tasks. Don’t feel that you have to do everything yourself.
  • Follow up on results instead of “sweating the small stuff.” Keep your eyes on the big picture, and avoid being bogged down in the mundane.
  • Collaborate with first-rate people. This reflects on your organization.
  • Use technology to decrease time spent performing routine tasks. For example, communication is almost instant through the use of e-mail, smartphones, etc. Don’t spend a lot of time filing and storing documents when electronic archiving will suffice. Embrace faster and more efficient ways of doing business.

Last, but not least: Outsourcing is another possible method to save time. Your business advisers may be able to provide assistance or make recommendations that make sense for your operation.