Whether you are a manager, business leader, self-employed or even retired, time is undoubtedly your most precious resource.  None of us know how much we are going to have, but on a day to day basis, time is the one thing we all have exactly the same amount of; some of us just choose to use it differently…

I’ve been thinking a lot time management over the past few weeks.  This was prompted by a big change in my business as I moved on from a long-term relationship with one of the leading providers of software for the offshore wealth management industry.  After 4 years, I am now back full-time as an independent, which has given me space to focus on developing my consulting and non-executive management services.

Switching back to your business, I’m sure you always have far too much to do than you have available hours in the week.  So how do you ensure you make best use of your limited time?  For me, this is all about applying the thinking of the great management guru, Peter Drucker, by making sure you are ‘doing the right things’ and ‘doing them right’.

In a previous post I touched on the subject of prioritisation in terms of managing multiple projects or initiatives, but what other techniques can you use to manage your time wisely?  I’ve come up with three, but I’d be interested to get feedback on any other time management techniques you use.

Delegation
This has got to be the best way of freeing up your time.  Delegate the activities to someone more junior in your organisation.  Not only does this give you more time to focus on other things, but it will be more cost effective to have the work done by a lower cost resource.   Look critically at what you do on a day to day basis.

  • How much of it needs to be done by someone with your skills and experience? 
  • Could your time be spent doing activities that will provide more value to your clients?

Automation
Whilst it may be that many of today’s jobs are likely to be replaced by robots in future generations, this isn’t going to help you today.  However, what will help is looking at all the manual processes that take place in your  business or department.

  • How much paper is physically moved about the office?
  • How many routine tasks are repeated regularly that could be a good case for automation?

Outsourcing
Another way of creating more time is to outsource non-core functions.  Yes, there is a cost involved, but this cost can be less than you are paying to carry out the functions in-house, particularly when you outsource functions to a lower cost jurisdiction.  More importantly there is the opportunity cost of your time.  This is very relevant to the small or entrepreneurial business.  Many small businesses struggle to do everything themselves.  Outsourcing functions like bookkeeping or marketing to a specialist will free up your time and will ensure the job is done properly and probably more quickly than you can do yourself.

  • When was the last time you looked at your business to assess the pros and cons of outsourcing?
  • How much time would you release by outsourcing tasks to a professional?

I regularly carry out process reviews and help businesses identify and prioritise the changes that will help them deliver their strategy more efficiently and effectively.  These reviews are linked to best practice and provide easy to implement and pragmatic solutions.

If you feel constrained by not having enough hours in the day, I am continuing to offer a free 60 minute consultation (face to face or by Skype) to help you manage your time more effectively.  I can only do a couple of these sessions a month, so if you need help contact me now to schedule in your appointment.