It amuses me when I hear people say ‘I’m sorry I don’t have time’. We all wake up each day with a fresh batch of 1,440 minutes to do with whatever we want. Have yours gone already?
What, of course, they mean to say is ‘What you want me to do will distract me from my strategic focus’, but I guess that’s a bit of a mouthful.
It is, however, probably the most sensible thing you’ll say today.
The biggest and most destructive myth in time management is that you can get everything done if only you follow the right system, use the right to-do list, or process your tasks the right way.
Spoiler alert: you can’t!
Choosing what you are going to ignore may well represent the most important strategic time management decision of all.
But this doesn’t need to mean that you’ll get less done. In fact, probably, the opposite. People who have a much bigger impact don’t have any more skill or knowledge than you do, neither is it that they’re outworking you. It’s because they employ the concept of leverage.
Leverage is a multiplier of your skills and judgement. There are several ways that you can use leverage to give you a greater impact:
- Systems leverage – systems are the first step to break you free and get things done without you, so you need to create systems that make leveraging technology and people easier.
- People leverage – having great systems in place means nothing if you’re stuck owning them, so you need the best people on your team, or talented people to whom to outsource, to help you execute your plan.
- Data leverage – data gives you clarity. When you have great data such as your business scorecard (and know how to read it) you can make more effective and faster decisions. Without knowing your numbers and how to read them you’ll waste time by making wrong decisions and having to start again, or working on tasks that don’t move the needle in your business.
- Money leverage – one of the principles of wealth that successful people know is leveraging the value of your money.
Outsourcing, in particular, can free up a huge amount of time and will very often result in the task being completed more quickly and efficiently by someone more skilled in the task than you.
If you ever hear someone say ‘But I can do it more quickly myself’, you’ll know you’ve met someone who hasn’t yet recognised the power of leverage.
And if you think about it, you’re probably already quite accomplished at outsourcing a lot of the tasks in your life. I don’t mow my lawns, or decorate my house, or service my car. When you think about it, a good chunk of your life is already outsourced.
But do you still do your own bookkeeping? Too many business owners still do. Wouldn’t hiring a bookkeeper, executive assistant or virtual assistant would make more sense and free up your time for the strategically important tasks you should undertake.
But if getting more done in less time, by using leverage, is the key to breaking free: what do you do with the free time that gives you? Because when you begin leveraging systems, people, data and money your role in the business changes. You’re no longer doing small admin tasks, customer service, fighting fires, managing customers, handling technology or managing projects; instead you’re doing the stuff that’s really going to move the needle such as:
- Creating the strategic vision and direction of the business
- Growing a world class team by recruiting, onboarding, training and developing your staff
- Forming strategic alliances and partnerships with others who have an audience of potential buyers of your product/services
- Developing new products or services and extensions of existing ones
- Acquiring new revenue streams to exponentially grow your own
- Leading the marketing and content development of the business
- Managing and optimising your finances and capital to drive growth.
Using this list, what are the top responsibilities you need to embrace to grow your business:
- What is the best use of your time?
- What are the key responsibilities you need to adopt?
- What do you enjoy doing that you still want to own?
When you can focus your time and energy on those responsibilities your vision will start to unfold. Start now and offload everything else.