Okay so who wants more hours in the day? About 99% of people I speak to say time is the biggest challenge they have in business.
We all have the same amount as each other – including Richard Branson – yet some people do amazing things with their time while others…don’t.
The first thing if you want to create more time is learn not to waste it. Here are a few key ideas of what not to do, that will help keep you on track:
1. Don’t go to unnecessary meetings.
When you’re invited to one, ask yourself ‘do I really have to be there?’ Think whether an hour’s drive each way and sitting about for two hours, maybe without even much to contribute or gain, is worth it. And if you do need to be there, couldn’t you join by video conference?
2. Don’t ‘have a coffee’ with everyone.
It’s so easy to meet for a coffee and chat, and it’s lovely, but what’s the purpose of the meeting? Fine if it’s to get to know someone better, but if it’s your business time then you need to make sure there’s a sound business purpose. Having a coffee with friends of course is a different story.
3. Don’t ramble and waffle.
Be strict with yourself and allow a certain amount of time for a meeting, then stick to it. Don’t ramble on, stick to the point of the meeting, and when you’re finished – leave! (And I know that’s harder for some people than others).
4. Don’t say yes to everything.
Learn to say no and if you have a problem with that, as many people do because they want to seem helpful, buy yourself some time. Say: “Let me check my diary and get back to you,” then decide if it will help you or your business. If it only helps the other person’s and not yours, then steel yourself and say no.
5. Don’t get distracted.
There are so many distractions out there, from Facebook and Twitter to checking emails, answering calls and browsing the internet. Be disciplined and allocate your time carefully; for example just check your emails and social media three times a day – in the morning, at lunchtime and in the afternoon – and turn off your message notifications.
I hope this gives you some ideas about creating time for yourself, and if you want more you might like to read my guide on time management. Remember, your time is very valuable.