A business owner’s life is a very busy one! But it doesn’t have to be that way. Why is it that some business owners work part time, play lots of golf and have lots of holidays, but you have your nose to the grind stone 24/7?
Well, the so called ‘part-timers’ have worked out how to get things done efficiently and effectively. And that doesn’t mean they just work faster – far from it! They work through the DATE model, to keep them focused on the most important work.
You don’t have to do everything that lands on your desk. There’s lots of options – assuming that it has to be done in the first place. This brings me to the first DATE rules: Terminate.
Ask yourself, does it really need to be done or are you just doing it because it’s always been done? What value does it add to the business? How does it delight customers or keep the tax man happy? If it doesn’t add any value; stop doing it. Don’t pass it on – stopping the task means terminating it, permanently.
How do you spend your time? The only way to find out is to keep a work diary – split into 15 minute sections. List everything you do for a week. Seems a pain I know, but it will be worth it, I promise!
First take a red pen and strike through all the terminate items. How much time have you already saved? I’m betting, enough to have a half day off….
I like colours so select a different coloured pen – let’s say green. Green for Go, as this is the Delegate task. Mark-up your list with tasks that a more junior person could do. Remember you are an expensive resource to be doing the parcel packing! Document the task clearly so the person getting it will know exactly what to do. Then delegate it to the right person. Don’t abdicate responsibility, check in with the person and make sure everything is happening as it should!
Go back to the list, mark-up tasks that could be out-sourced to an expert. They’ll do a better job in half the time it takes you. I’m thinking accounts, invoicing, bookkeeping, social media etc…. Ask other business owners for recommendations and find an expert to help you. Yes, you’ll have to pay, but they’ll save you lots of time that you can use doing important work for the company. They’ll also do it right!
Third pen coming up – purple (just because I like it). Highlight the items that you could Automate so they happen but no-one has to physically do anything. This is one of the benefits of a great email marketing and CRM system. When a customer does something it automatically triggers a series of automated responses or actions. Think about buying a book from Amazon and the series of communications that follow – all happen automatically. You can start by looking at automatic actions from your website, sign-ups for example….
How much time have you saved? Enough for a day off and to leave at 5pm every night?
Finally, one aspect that many forget is Elevate. Usually the preserve of a busy middle manager who delegates upwards, but it applies to business owners too. Maybe you have a business partner, a NED, an advisory board or expert panel; who are able to help too. Think about tasks and help you can get from this group. What can you elevate to your suppliers; accountants, bank manager, agencies is another question to ask.
Being a busy fool doesn’t help anyone, least of all your own health. For everyone’s sake take little time out to review what you do and what you should be doing.
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