by Ursula Jorch
One of the resources that you have available to you that can’t be recaptured, can’t be built up again, is time. Once spent, it is lost to you.
After that sobering beginning, let’s focus on what we can do with our time and our energy.
Let’s look at how you may be wasting your time and how you can turn that around. It’s often not that hard to make a shift that preserves your time for what’s important.
Time drain #1: Meetings
Even with the value that social media brings, there is nothing that replaces meeting with someone in person. That said, we’re often not using that time with other people well.
We’ve all been to those poorly facilitated meetings where people go off on tangents, and generally waste time for all of us.
Even when you meet with people one-on-one, it’s not necessarily a good use of your time.
Time turnaround for meetings:
Don’t go. If you know a meeting will largely be a waste of your time, decline to attend. Choose meetings where stuff gets done, and you leave feeling energized to take action.
Step in. Not everyone knows how to run a meeting well. Develop your skills so that you can do a great job. Volunteer to lead the meeting. Step in when things start to drag to redirect it. Gentle words like, “I’m mindful of our time, so getting back to our agenda item… “, are often effective. Those at the meeting who want to get things done will love you for it.
Make conscious choices about who you spend time with. You don’t have to accept every one-on-one meeting invitation. If you feel it’s going to be an energy drain, graciously decline.
Set intentions. If you do decide to go to a meeting, spend a few minutes beforehand to consciously set your intentions for:
- How you plan to show up, energetically. Will you be a source of light or a drain?
- What you hope to achieve
- What you hope to learn.
Time drain #2: PrioritiesEver start your day just reacting to whatever is in front of you first, and after that, whatever pops into your awareness? Yup, me too.
And on those days, I never make real progress. On top of that, I have an unease, a lack of fulfillment, because I know I haven’t used my time well. And that unease often carries into my evening.
Time turnaround for priorities:
Separate the important from the urgent. It’s so easy to be reactive. And it can feel really important in the moment, when the phone’s ringing or you see an email with an urgent request.
It takes awareness to pull yourself away from the natural desire to respond. If you’re feeling yourself getting pumped up by someone else’s request, pause for a moment. Ask yourself, is this important or just urgent? If it’s just urgent, figure out how it fits into your most important activities.
Do what’s most impactful first. Imagine if, every day, you did at least one thing that was impactful for your business. That would add up to a lot of good impact, right? This practice more than any other has helped me be more effective. You won’t be drawn away by other things, and your satisfaction with your day will soar.
You choose. No one else sets your priorities. You do that. Define your priorities in advance, at the end of the previous day’s work or the evening before. You can even sit down each morning and establish your priorities before opening email or addressing anything on your desk, though it’s harder not to be distracted.
Time drain #3: The wrong clients
Clients that are the wrong fit for you and your business are draining. You’ll never feel that you’ve done a good job, and the client won’t be happy either. You’ll always feel off track, trying to catch up and never quite succeeding.
Time turnaround for the wrong clients:
Get clear on who your ideal clients are. Spend time describing them. Write your description down. Include not just demographics or their business. Include how they are to deal with, and how well your ways of showing up in the world mesh.
Decline clients that are not right for you. This is really tough, especially when you’re having a cash flow issue. One way to think about it is to consider that you’re leaving space and energy available for the right client when you turn down the wrong one. Plus, you won’t have a dissatisfied client talking about your business.
Find the right clients. Increase your opportunities for meeting the right clients by researching them. Where do they go, physically and online? How can you meet them in the most effective way? What can you offer them right away to be helpful?
Time drain #4: Not letting go
When you’re committed to a project, it’s hard to let it go if it’s not working. You’ve invested so much time, energy, and resources. Surely it’ll pay off. Soon.
Team members who aren’t a good fit are really tough to let go too. Firing is never fun.
Even when you know you’re not providing real value, bidding clients adios can be difficult.
Time turnaround for not letting go:
Knowing when to let go is an art. It’s not always clear when to do so.
Look for signs. Despite ongoing and persistent effort, it’s not working out. What does your intuition say? Evaluate how much more you’ll need to invest before it starts to pay off. Figure out your return on investment at this point.
Whether it’s a client or team member that’s the wrong fit, better to move on sooner rather than later, hard as it is, for both your sakes.
Time drain #5: Social media
How many hours have you spent scrolling through Facebook or checking out Instagram or Pinterest? Hmm, how many hours have I spent? Umm, well… more than I like to admit.
It’s easy to get drawn in under the cover of checking out trends or making connections. It’s so enticing, the ease of apparent connection.
It’s also exhausting trying to stay on top of every social media platform. And they just keep creating new ones!
Time turnaround for social media:
Focus on one platform and go deep. Do what you’re doing well instead of trying to hit every platform out there.
Set limits on the amount of time you’ll spend there. All kinds of apps are now available to help you stay on track. Or go old school and set a timer.
Make your connections count. Flitting in and out of connection isn’t a good way to build trust and a relationship, on social media or anywhere else. Instead, have fewer interactions and make them more substantial.
When it comes to your precious time, figure out what’s important to you, and spend your time that way. Sure, we all spend some time gazing off into the distance or trolling social media. And we need that down time too.
But when you’re actively engaged, make your time count. Use it to have impact in your business and beyond.
About the author
Ursula Jorch, MSc, MEd, mentors entrepreneurs starting their businesses and seasoned entrepreneurs in transition to create the business of their dreams. Her coaching programs provide knowledge, support, clarity, inspiration, and a community of like-minded entrepreneurs to empower you to reach your goals. Start with a free guide and other valuable info at http://www.WorkAlchemy.com.