23/11/2011 - 10:38

Finding the time to save yourself some

23/11/2011 - 10:38

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If I asked you right now, how much of your time do you spend stuck on administration, what would you say?

IF I asked you right now, how much of your time do you spend stuck on administration, what would you say?

A recently published productivity survey of 1,300 managers in 12 countries found that, on average, managers were spending 34 per cent of their time on administrative tasks. Imagine every week only being productive up until 11am on Thursday and then spending the rest of the time on stuff that you know isn’t bringing in money. 

When they looked at general worker productivity, Australia actually came out top, but even here we spend more than a day a week not doing anything remotely profitable.

In my experience, working with more than 1,000 business owners and their people – in addition to losing time to administration tasks, we lose time without even knowing it.

So how’s your time management? How’s your busy-ness?

You’re probably rushed off your feet, right? With the world still climbing out of a global recession and most businesses feeling the after effects, you’re snowed under; not enough hours in the day. But how are you filling those hours? What exactly is it that you’re busy doing?

Chances are you spend a fair amount of your time sorting through emails, fending off phone calls and sitting in meetings thinking about all the things you could (or should) be doing instead. Let’s face it, half the time you’re just trying to keep your head above water.

Of course, there is help available. Workshops, courses, training that could revolutionise the way you work. But you don’t have time for that, do you? That’s the irony, you’re too busy to go to a time management course.

What’s the worst-case scenario? ‘How bad could it be?’ ... you ask yourself. ‘I’ll get the next one’. 

Well, a bad situation doesn’t often get better on its own; if anything, it tends to get worse. 

How about: missed deadlines; lost profits; late nights and weekends at the office; a work-life imbalance; and clients/customers going elsewhere.

These may sound familiar ,but they are only the tip of the iceberg.

So, given the consequences of doing nothing, what stops people from getting help? Why don’t they get some training and improve their skills (and their business)? Here are the 7 main reasons that most people never get round to a time management workshop (can you find yours?).

• We can’t spare the time. A bit of a paradox this one: you haven’t got time to find out how to manage your time. Sooner or later you just have to bite the bullet and invest in the future of your business: speculate to accumulate. Besides, what if I could give you seven practical steps that would help you find the time to attend a workshop?

• It’s too expensive: Yes, I understand this point. After all, why would a business spend a couple of hundred dollars now when it could carry on wasting thousands a month for years to come?

• I don’t need help with my time management: This could be true. Equally, this could be the classic ostrich, head-in-the-sand attitude. It could also be stubborn pride. But your business can’t afford proud ostriches; it needs someone prepared to come and find out how to regain an extra hour a day. An extra hour that could be used for more profitable activity.

• I’ve been on this sort of thing before; it didn’t work: A lot of things go into making training ‘work’ – the quality of the material, the expertise of the trainer, and the participant actually using the techniques back in the office. I can guarantee the first two. Can you guarantee the third?

• I went home early last Friday and I was up to date. Well done. Seriously, that’s what we’re aiming for here. A few questions: Was that a typical week? What made it happen? Was it skill or was it circumstance? Even if you’re a great time manager, a modest investment can still give you some extra techniques.

• I’ve read a time management book: Yes, some people do learn very effectively from reading. But discussion, interaction with an expert, and encouragement to change are things you find in workshops.

• I’m not sure what I’d get from it: It depends what you need. And sometimes that’s the question you need to ask yourself: ‘What do I need in particular?’ Then you’ll be focused and looking for the exact pieces of the puzzle that you’re missing. Maybe it’s prioritising, or delegation, or scheduling, or using MS Outlook. If you know precisely what you want, you’re more likely to find it.

There are many reasons why people put off investing in time-management training. And they’re all strong reasons that carry a lot of weight in that moment when you’re considering using a whole half-day for a workshop. But that is exactly what booking a workshop is – an investment in a more profitable business.

 

Angie Spiteri is a business efficiency specialist and the CEO of Time Equals Money.  

Contact Angie on (08) 9302 2803 | 0403 970 732 | www.timeequalsmoney.net.au

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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