It was bitterly cold, windy and snowy this morning at 6.15am when I left Worcester to go to a business breakfast meeting in Solihull. The M42 traffic was slow; the slush in the outside lane was dangerous and so I was stuck behind ‘white van man’ crawling my way towards my destination. On leaving the motorway the quieter roads were treacherous and my car skidded at every turn. When I finally arrived an icy blast greeted me walking from car to hotel entrance and the deep slush ensured that my feet got a good soaking. Of course I’m only human, so the thought that this was not a good use of my time did cross my mind!
It was very fortunate that the welcome and the cup of tea were both warm and the speaker inspirational. Fiona Cohn from the Time Saving Experts was explaining about how many business owners do not make the most of one of their most precious resources – time.
I’d like to share her expertise with you. These are the commonest ‘time hurdles’ that, for many of us busy business owners, get between us and sucessfully accomplishing our goals and aspirations.
- Failure to plan our priorities and then focus on them
- Interrruptions – incredibly between 4 and 20 minutes is wasted as we try to get our concentration back to our tasks after an interruption
- Multi-tasking – this is the ‘self-imposed’ interruption according to Fiona. (“To do two things at once is to do neither”, Publius Syrus)
- Being unable to say “no” to others
- Procrastination (although we should allow ourselves short pauses to gather our thoughts)
- Inability to delegate, outsource or automate processes, preventing us from focusing on the tasks only we are qualified to undertake
- Trying to do too much, and not doing anything to a high standard
- Being too hard on ourselves when we need to allow enough breaks and rest time
Of course, we are all different personalities, work in different businesses and probably each of us have our own favourite time wasting strategies which keep us safe in our ‘comfort zone’. But if the late Stephen Covey is right and “the key is in not spending time, but in investing it” and if we are regularly falling into one of the above traps perhaps it really is time we took action.
We just need to find time to do the review exercise in our busy schedules……