Of course, we only have a limited amount of time; it’s not something we can get more of, so we better learn to do more with the time we have. In the business world, there are two main reasons to hone the skill of valuing and managing your time:
- Lower Stress and Better Quality of Life – Do more in less time and the extra time you have left can be used to do things you enjoy and thereby improve the quality of your life by lowering your stress level. For example, you can enjoy your current income stream and travel more or do other things that you enjoy.
- Extra Time to Grow Your Business – By doing more with less, you can take the extra time and use it to do other things that grow your business. For instance, you can undertake an extra growth initiative every month and double the size of your business without working more.
Some of you are probably skeptical about that last point. However, you need to open your minds to the Pareto Principle: 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. Less really can be more. You can, for instance, spend 30 minutes writing a blog post. (Or a business letter, memo, etc.) You can spell check and glance over it, and use it. OR, you can easily spend another hour on it, trying to make it just perfect and polished. And you know, intuitively, that the extra hour likely didn’t add much value, but it makes you feel better.
The extra time isn’t always a waste. You do have to prioritize and some letters (or projects) are more important than others. For instance, a letter to the editor that you expect to be published in the business press is much more critical than a ho-hum blog post that will attract only a few readers.
The problem is that most people who want things perfect treat each thing they work on the same, and that’s just not a good value proposition. People laugh, but I tell them to expect to tolerate some mediocrity. This is also very true in business planning.
You can likely prepare an initiative and outline the goals, risks and action plan in an hour or so. Seek some input from others, spend another hour. OR, you can have lots of meetings and feedback, with many iterations of the plan. And it will get better, more polished. But I bet if you look at the one you did in 2 hours that you will find that it has 80% of the content of the polished plan. The quick plan will not cover every nuance and exception, but so what.
Speed of execution is MUCH MORE IMPORTANT than perfection of the plan. For instance, you might do 12 initiatives in a year with an abbreviated method or only one per quarter if you obsess over the planning. Doing 12 initiatives is far better than doing four. The larger number insulates you from failures. Some will work and some won’t.
Think about it. Which would you rather have: 50% failures with 12 efforts or 50% with 4 efforts? You would still have 6 wins, more than if 100% of the initiatives with polished plans work. Because of the Pareto Principle, the polishing may not really equate to a higher chance of success, but it almost certainly won’t allow you to do as much.
So, how can you do more in less time. Here are six steps you can take right now to become more productive:
- Learn to delegate.
- Stop doing administrative tasks.
- Think bigger. Often it takes almost the same amount of effort to do a larger task as a smaller one. A good example is a bank loan or real estate acquisition. It’s almost the same amount of work to do a $5m project as to do a $2m project.
- Just stop doing things that don’t really add much value or that only polish.
- Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you or who can do things that you can’t, won’t, or shouldn’t do.
- Be more organized.
Remember only you can make business great!
Ron Sturgeon, Mr. Mission Possible, has been a successful business owner for more than 35 years. As a small business consultant, he can deliver wisdom and advice gleaned from an enviable business career that started when he opened a VW repair business as a homeless 17-year-old and culminated in the sale of several businesses he built to Fortune 500 companies.
Ron has helped bankers, lawyers, insurance agents, restaurant owners, and body shop owners, as well as countless salvage yard owners to become more successful business people. He is an expert in helping small business owners set the right business strategies, implement pay-for- performance, and find new customers on the web.
As a consultant, Ron shares his expertise in strategic planning, capitalization, compensation, growing market share, and more in his signature plainspoken style, providing field-proven, and high-profit best practices well ahead of the business news curve. Ron is the author of nine books, including How to Salvage More Millions from Your Small Business.
To inquire about consulting or keynote speaking, contact Ron at 817-834-3625, ext. 232, rons@MrMissionPossible.com, 5940 Eden, Haltom City, TX 76117.