Tips to Increase Profits – Evaluate How You Use Your Time

June 21, 2012 by  Filed under: Management 

Time management is a big online subject. If you search Google for “improve your time management skills” you get 42 million results! And yet, strangely, very few business owners are actually prepared to admit that they are not good at this – much less that improving it could actually boost your profits.

The trouble is, we often don’t think about the value of our time. So if you are a committed, passionate and hard working business owner, you just put in the hours you need to get things done. But eventually that starts to impact on the rest of your life – and you never really resolve the fundamental problem which is understanding how you really use that time.

Ask yourself this – if you were an external consultant, paid what you are paid on a daily rate, would you think you had been good value to the business this week? It’s too easy to get dragged into the day to day business stuff, group meetings and endless processes. Be honest – can you really say you have personally driven profits this week? Or has it been another week of putting out fires and managing “stuff” rather than making money?

Spend the next week looking at how you use your time. Be honest and set a simple chart up for you to log every quarter of an hour and what it goes on.

At the end of the week look at the time and add up what you spend on the main categories, for example: handling customer service, strategy and planning, financials, social media etc. Don’t be generic with your activities – for example if you are spending two hours a day on emails, what type of emails are they. You may be surprised how much time is taken by activities that do not drive results. Social media is a good example – do it by all means, it is part of the future – but be aware of how long it is taking and make sure this is reasonable compared to everything else.

Of all the time you logged, look at how much is generating improvements in profits, either short term or long term. Chances are you will see the 80/20 principle – that 80% of your business results were gained in 20% of the time. You may also discover that there are times of the day or week when you actually do your really productive work, rather than the trivial things.

You will never get to the point where all you do is focused on the important stuff, but your aim is to gradually increase that 20% so you impact more on the results. Take it step by step – each week look at one of the activities and see how you can reduce the amount of time you spend on it, rather than trying to become perfect overnight.

So, this week evaluate how you spend your time so you can make some changes next week.

Want help improving your business results? Click here for a free report – 52 ways to Boost your Profits! Kate Marsden is founder of Ignition Key Ltd and has 20 years business experience working at Director level for a number of well-known organisations. Kate provides businesses with advisory, support, coaching and mentoring services to enable them to step change their performance and restuls. For more information visit http://ignitionkey.co.uk/

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