7 Ways to win back time

Little boy buying back time

November 8, 2023

There are three things that all clients want: More Freedom, More Time, or More Money. Depending on their current situation, they want one, two, or all of these things.

Today, we look at seven ways to win back time.

1) Delegation

When we were training occasionally, we had some soft skills training to break up the monotony of all the technical training. Back then, in the nineties, we were told to delegate the task rather than the responsibility.

However, we must empower our teams to make decisions, make mistakes, and learn.

So, we recommend delegation and creating a safe environment for staff to learn by making mistakes.

If this is a big step for you right now, try this.

Tell your team that if there is a decision to take, you expect them to come to you with several options and their recommended decision.

2) Segmentation

How about this? Grade your customers from A to E. Consider their payment history, whether their fees are correct, their attitude, do we like them, how stable they are, and what services they take.

The important clients [A and B] can be looked after by you, and the others can be delegated to team members of various levels.

You can also look at the tasks you carry out and segment them into A to E and delegate the lower ones.

3) Understanding how you spend your time in the business

Stephen Covey created the Urgent/Important Matrix

Urgent

Not Urgent

Important

Reduce

Schedule

Not Important

Delegate

Declutter

You should track the tasks you do in a week and then insert them into the relevant section of the matrix. Urgent means it should be done immediately, whereas important means it is essential to your plan

Important and Urgent are problems, fire fighting, or a deadline. These things should be done now.

Important and not urgent are goal planning or exercise; these need to be done to achieve your goals and should be scheduled.

Not important but urgent are things like meetings or phone calls that interrupt you. They are urgent for others but not necessarily for you. You should find a better way to deal with these: systems, automation, or delegation.

Not important and not urgent are obviously things that should not form part of your working day at all.

4) Work on the important tasks at the right time for you.

Everyone has a time of day when they are in the zone. You are energetic, most switched on, and able to complete tasks quickly.

This peak time will be at the same time each day.

If you’re an early riser, then you should do your analytical tasks in the morning – this is also when you should make decisions. Creative tasks should be carried out in the late afternoon or early evening.

If you like to get up later, the analytical stuff and decision-making should be done in the afternoon or evening, and creative work should be done in the morning.

If you focus on the correct zone for you, you will find things are easier, and you will be happy in your work.

5) Systemisation

Systemisation is the key to allowing a business to scale quickly.

Systemisation is a great way to save time and also helps get the knowledge shared around the team.

Delegation is much better, too, because the team has a process to follow.

There are great applications out there that help you systemise, but it boils down to simply writing down the steps that occur for a process to happen and share them with the team – it can be as simple as a checklist.

6) Take a break

Sometimes, due to specific pressures, it can be necessary to work for days on end, but it’s not good for the mind or body. You certainly won’t be operating at your highest level.

Even elite athletes have rest days to recover built into their training schedule.

Having a break from the business also gives the opportunity for your best ideas.

So we recommend regular 20-minute breaks, stopping for lunch, and taking time for a walk during the business day.

When did you last take a break?

7) A few best practice tips

Here are a few extra small ideas to free up time

  • Turn off Outlook and notifications and only check email twice a day.
  • Do the same for social media and other messaging apps
  • Put your mobile phone on Do Not Disturb and only use it when necessary
  • Book time out in your diary for important and non-urgent work each day.

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