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How to Get More Value Out of Your 24

This week’s question from “Wednesday’s Unplugged with Yvette ” comes from an entrepreneur who wishes to remain anonymous.

Question:

“I’ve heard about tracking your time if one cares about making more money in business. I know I should probably be doing it, but the idea of keeping track of every single little thing I do, is daunting. I do so many different things it feels impossible to write it down. And then not having a clue what to do with the information, keeps me stuck. What do you suggest I do for getting started tracking my time that is not too complicated?”

Answer:

Oh yes, keeping a Time Log is not fancy-sounding, but that doesn’t change its merit. And I do have a simple system to help you keep track of everything you do. Think of it like keeping a food journal, most find that what they say they do and what they actually do are pretty different. This discrepancy is disastrous, whether on a diet or working as a free-spirited entrepreneur.

But, first lemme me totally transparent here, I personally dislike doing this task, but as a mom of two in business this literally transformed the way I run my business and life. I promise once you complete this task it’ll have the same effect on you that it did on me.

It will have an immediate impact on your use of time and how much you get done during the day. When I share this system with my private clients they are hesitant at first, however many have benefited from this exercise in as little as a day, depending on how seriously the mission is undertaken. The potential impact is profound.

So, to put some structure in your business and to get rid of that feeling of being overwhelmed, I want you to divide each work day for the next three days or a week if you can do it into 15-minute increments. You will need to jot down what you are doing in order to create a checklist. Use a notepad, or if you want to get fancy create an excel spreadsheet, take advantage of an online software program or use your iPhone – whatever you prefer to start your time log.

Here is my Five-Pronged Approach System

1. List everything you do in 15-minute increments for a minimum of two days – two weeks maximum.

2. At the end of the day, categorize your activities: paperwork, checking email, surfing Web, client phone calls, social media, managing your team, planning, organizing, etc.

Place each of these tasks in one of four categories:

• Administrative

• Production

• Sales & Marketing

• Household/Personal

3. Next, look at each activity and define the role you are playing when involved in each task: management, support staff, creative genius, etc.

4. Finally, rank the tasks from one to five with a No. 1 being low and No. 5 being high. Note how much value you create for your business while doing each particular task.

This exercise will show you how you are divvying up your time and what percentage is actually spent generating money. Seriously you will be flabbergasted at how what you discover!  Most of my clients are so appalled after completing this mission that they immediately reorganize their work days. There’s a simple correlation.

Increased revenue runs parallel with improved efficiency.

Ultimately you need to shift your mindset. You don’t need more time to get things done, you need to figure out HOW to spend the time that you have available. Time within a day is finite. There are only 24 hours available. You can’t change that, but you can alter how focused you are on money-making activities as opposed to doing busy work.

If you have other strategies or tips to share on this topic, please leave a comment, loved to hear from you!

2 Comments

  1. Hi Yvette,

    Your system is simple and effective, provided (as you say) that people actually use it. The biggest hurdle for people is to get themselves moving and do it!

    I have something further to add, and that is to be ruthless about eliminating low value activities from your list, not just putting them aside for later. The thought of a growing list of things to be done “someday” can also nag at the mind and be a source of overwhelm.

    Best,
    Monique

  2. This is a great post. I think it is so true that we need to manage the time that we have. For me I have to put my limits on how much time I spend on the computer vs other tasks.

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