The most common response I’ve heard to advice on how to grow a business is:
“That sounds great, but how do I find the time to implement your suggestions?”
The harsh truth is that you somehow have to fit in regular sessions of working ON your business – as opposed to just IN your business – if you want to grow in a sustainable and profitable way.
To help you carve out that essential time in your hectic week, try out these 5 expert approaches:
1. Eisenhower’s Decision Matrix
“What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
What To Do:
– List your common daily activities
– Draw a box with 4 quarters inside it and label them: Q1 – Urgent & Important, Q2 – Non Urgent & Important, Q3 -Urgent & Not Important, Q4 – Not Urgent & Not Important
– Put each activity in one quadrant of the matrix
– Reduce time spent on Q1, Q3 & Q4 tasks, increase time on Q2 activities
A demanding but low-profit customer may be taking up a disproportionate amount of time against their value to your business, and belongs in Q3 – Urgent & Unimportant.
A valuable customer may be left feeling ‘unloved’ and needs more attention’, and belongs in Q2 – Non-Urgent & Important.
” Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them” – David Allen, founder
What To Do:
– Capture everything that gets your attention – write down all ‘to-dos’, big and small
– Clarify what action needs to be taken – bin, file, action now, add to an action list
– Organise actions into lists, such as e-mails, phone calls, reports.
– Reflect on and update all lists regularly to clear your mind.
– Engage your systems to take actions confidently
Create a process to precisely deal with every type of e-mail you receive, reducing anxiety around what to do with them and when. Regularly review and clean action lists. This allows your brain time for creativity and renewal.
“The key is not to prioritise what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities” – Stephen Covey
What To Do:
– Work out your short-term and longer-term priorities using your values, principles and goals
– Consider these the ‘big rocks’ you put in the jar first before the ‘sand’ of other tasks fills it
– Don’t be afraid to say no to requests that don’t fit with your mission and that drain energy
Prioritise essentials that bring future value over short-term reactions to ‘trends’. If you aim to be the number one Cleaning Company in your area, focus resources on Staff Training, Planning, Relationship-Building, Quality Products and Outstanding Service, rather than chasing low-value jobs, cost-cutting projects and ‘fashionable’ contracts.
“The brain’s dependence on automatic routines can be dangerous. Habits are often as much a curse as a benefit” — Charles Duhigg
What To Do:
– Change one ‘Keystone’ habit for far-reaching effects
– Select a physical, emotional and person cue to practise the new habit
– Design some carrots and sticks for the new habit
– Practice your new habit cycle every day for 30 days
– Set the cue of one hour closed-door/uninterrupted planning time after lunch every Tuesday
– Work out the Emotional trigger, such as excitement for developing the business, and Who will trigger it, such as a mentor/friend by calling you
– Design some carrots and sticks for the new habit, such as treats, celebrations, tracking progress streaks and reporting to close associates
– Practise for 30 days to establish cues that create new habits, and build belief in change