Imagine this scenario: business is good, enquiries are flowing in, you are running a business (unit) that is experiencing a growth spurt, and all is well in your world, or at least it should be. The reality however is often quite different.
Take my client Adam: he loves the business he is in and the job, and he is fit for it. But he was doing too much of it when we first met and so he didn’t have a sense of success in it. His outcomes were big and his timescales aggressive and yet he was focused on the wrong things. He wasn’t giving his time and energy to the priorities that would propel him fastest towards his goals. He was so busy running around taking action, just doing stuff, that he rarely found time to catch his breath.
If this resonates with you, then consider adopting the principle that ‘less is more’. I’d invite you to think about where you’re overdoing it. In which areas of business do you devote a disproportionate amount of time? How many scenarios can you think of where you have created extra work for yourself?
How can you free up time spent on superfluous tasks, without compromising those standards which must be maintained if you wish to remain credible within the marketplace.
Here are a few suggestions you might like to try:
HAVE FEWER CONVERSATIONS – but make sure they are meaningful. One purposeful conversation which communicates all relevant information about a particular situation will benefit you more than several conversations, each carrying only part of the message. I’ve worked with people in the past who were very difficult to pin down and who would never give you the full story in one hit. That meant I’d be going back and forth several times in order to get the information I needed when, in reality one conversation could and should have been enough.
KEEP EMAIL COMMUNICATIONS SUCCINCT – imagine how good it would be if you started receiving e-mails of two sentences or less! Be courteous, but don’t waffle!
SHORTEN MEETINGS – try reducing them by half the time they usually take and see if you can still cover all the important points.
DELEGATE – allow others to take on more responsibility. You don’t need, nor will it be appropriate, for you to do everything yourself.
STREAMLINE ROUTINE WORK – make a point of shortening or simplifying a job each and every time you work on a particular task. By endeavouring to shave off some time or increase your efficiency on each occasion you’ll soon find yourself freeing up valuable time for more important things.
Sound familiar? If you’re spending too much time on any business related activity, consider whether that is because you are new to the activity – in which case plan to become more time efficient as your familiarity grows – or whether you’re being something of a perfectionist and don’t know when you’ve done enough.
Oscar Wilde reflected “If I’d have had more time, I’d have written less”; my sentiments exactly.