Two of the most common issues business owners and managers share with me are that they want to increase revenues yet they don’t have enough hours in the day.
So how can you achieve the former when the latter is such a big issue? Is the answer really to work Saturdays as well as 18-hour days?
Cut backs, lower margins, higher expectations. This all equates to pressure and the feeling of fewer options – resulting in longer working hours and stress. We are expected (and expect) to do more with less time and less resource. External pressure combines with internal cut backs to create cultures of long working hours which become the norm rather than the exception, and anyone who doesn’t buy into this culture is labelled as not caring or demotivated, and most likely will not progress as rapidly as their peers.
But does it have to be this way? As management guru Peter Drucker was fond of saying, one should never confuse activity with productivity. They are not at all the same. The old cliche, “work smarter not harder” is key here; focusing on what is important.
Two areas to focus on are structure and time assignment.
Getting the right structures in your business is crucial, so everyone is clear about their roles & responsibilities and are accountable for delivering them. Having some time recording tools and capacity management will enable you to assess when someone says “I’m too busy”, whether they really are or is just their default position for taking on more work! Secondly, getting clear boundaries keeps staff focused.
Working out how to best spend your time is the next focus for getting a reasonable work/life balance. There are various tools and techniques for this to help prioritise (such as segmenting your time into planning, revenue and admin). Better use of to-do lists (hint, scrap your to-do list and schedule everything you have to do – this will avoid the ever growing list).
What are your tips and thoughts on this challenging area? What has worked for you? Since this is such a big topic. I have written a whitepaper on the subject, which you can download by clicking here.