Wednesday, May 22, 2019

How Valuable is Your Time?

By Ben Kinsey, CPA

Image courtesy Max Pixel
When business owners ask me for advice that can help them enhance their profit potential, one of the first things I bring up is the matter of time control.  While you can’t buy more time, what most small business owners and managers manage to do is squander what little they have.  Since time is money, as a result this winds up affecting the bottom line.  To help you get a handle on managing your time, I’ve come up with my top-10 time wasters which will show you how to stop losing time.

      1.      Digital distractions in the workplace cost you plenty. While every business owner needs to check their emails and scan their social nets these days, sometimes it’s a case of too much of a good thing that can quickly devour your day.  If you find you’re spending more and more time attending to digital media, you need to either set a time limit that can keep you from frittering away your valuable time needlessly, or you need to delegate the social side to your staff. 

      2.      Are you taking too many meetings? While meetings have their time and place in any growing business, they can quickly become black holes for time if you aren’t careful.  If you find you’re wasting an inordinate amount of time taking meetings, you need to decide if you really need to be there in the first place or if you can reduce either the amount or the duration of scheduled meetings to help free up some time.

Image courtesy Pixnio
Windshield time can be extremely unproductive.  In the digital age, do you really need to spend time driving across time to interface with every client when there are free teleconferencing tools like gotomeeting, freeconferencecall, Google Hangout and Zoom that can allow you to go eyeball to eyeball with any client in real time?
      4.      How well does multi-tasking really work?  Many executives think that cramming as many tasks into a workday as possible increases efficiency.  They’re the type who sends texts during meetings, make calls while doing desk work, and texting while commuting.  The problem with multi-tasking is that research has proven that far from saving time, what it tends to do is distract from the task at hand.  It also is likely to produce numerous errors that can harm to a business.

      5.      Has micromanaging managed to make your income micro? One of the biggest problems some business owners have is being able to delegate tasks to their subordinates.  That’s because after spending years learning how to hone business operations, they quickly come to realize that their employees aren’t doing the job as well as they could.  As a result, the boss either hovers over the shoulder of employees, or they jump in and perform the task that the employee was hired to do.  This is a huge waste of time for both the owner and the employee.  The solution for this is to either increase the training for employees or to let them do the job as they see fit.  To do otherwise negates the reason for hiring employees in the first place.

      6.      Are you a perfectionist? The reason I ask is that since nobody is perfect, being a perfectionist is an exercise in futility.  If you want to keep this trait from being a black hole for time, you need to ask yourself if spending the time to make tiny course corrections is worth the effort.  If it isn’t, then you need to make good enough the goal.

Image courtesy Pixabay
      7.      How many hats can you wear? Being an entrepreneur means having to wear a lot of hats.  The problem is the more hats you don, the more of a workload you put on your shoulders.  This can pose a problem that can quickly cause entrepreneurs to wind up working 80-hours a week.  The solution for even the smallest of businesses is to look for ways to outsource some tasks.  This is way cheaper than hiring additional employees.  Today, you can outsource writing, bookkeeping, computer programming, IT and more to independent contractors.

      8.      Are you a paper pusher? The saying is that the job isn’t done until the paperwork is completed.  While proposals, work orders and business reports are necessary to keeping a business profitable, there is such a thing as too much paperwork.  Especially when there are paperless solutions that can add to the bottom line.  It can also be a time-saver for both you and your staff. If you’ve been dragging your feet over going paperless, or at least substantially reducing the amount of paperwork it takes to run your business, there’s no time like the present.

      9.      Are you Mr. Fixit? Are you handy with computer issues?  I know I am.  The problem is, so do my employees.  As a result, when they have an IT issue, guess who they call on?  Me, that’s who.  As a result, I found myself wasting gobs of time trying to help my employees fix their computer problems.  If your staff has nominated you as Mr. Fixit, the solution is to make it a policy to delegate the fix to someone else as quickly as possible. Or else the only person in a fix at your office is likely to be you.

      10.  When it comes to employee schedules, do you feel like an air traffic controller? The solution is to switch from manual scheduling to a software-based scheduler that allows employees to manage their time while letting you keep track of them without putting a ton of time into the process yourself.

Ben Kinsey, CPA of Small Business Group works with owners of closely held corporations in the Northeast Florida region.  If you work in the North Florida area we offer a FREE initial Consultation at our office, please contact Small Business Group if you would like to know more about strategies for your business.

1 comment:

  1. Time management is so important to any business owner. This article nails the problems right on the head!