Hacking your way to success…
It’s all about the magic of releasing hidden time.
Do you ever hit overwhelm on the time front?
You know, when there is just not one single minute left in the day to fit anything else in?
You’re already ducking and diving and hoping that that they don’t all ask for things at once?
You rush to your next activity, trying to listen to voicemails, eat a sandwich and reply to a text??
Your head doesn’t save your legs, as my Nan used to say, because you rushed out so quickly, that you forgot to take something you needed with you.
Then you have to debate in your head, whether you go back and pick it up (making yourself late) or you wing it without it?
Whichever one you choose, you always wish you’d chosen the other one!
I do really feel for you, I’ve done all of these things myself and more.
So I know – that when some bright spark like me pops up and starts talking about the fact that to grow, you need to work on your business, not in your business – your inner voice automatically says, “yeah, I know, and I would love to do exactly that, but can you not see that I’m absolutely stacked out with work already?
What are you going to do, magic me some extra hours in the day or something!!??
Well, actually, I can see you’re really busy and, yes, I AM going to magic you some extra hours…
And the fact is that they’re already there, hiding in plain sight…
It’s using a time hacking system that I came up with years and years ago, and I put it into action every single time I’m going through any sort of transition.
We all know that doing something differently takes more time than what you’re already doing because you need to develop, test and implement the new stuff.
And implementing new ideas, alongside existing excellence is necessary or your business will quickly become stagnant.
So if the ideas person is head down in the detail, and not doing their forward looking role, you’re at great risk of losing business momentum in the long term.
So for the purposes of this blog, let’s assume that you know what your future direction is and what you’re meant to be doing, you’re just not freeing up enough time to get on and do anything about it.
The ADD Time Method
So, let’s get down to brass tacks, I’d like to introduce you to the ADD time method I use.
There are lots of “manage time more efficiently” methods out there and if this one doesn’t suit you, hit google and take a look at some others until you find something that works for you.
The key thing that you need to remember is that your job is to always manage yourself out of a job, because when you do that you open up the space to do things that move the business forward.
So you need to be ruthless and you need to do this regularly.
When an important new project is being implemented, it’s very likely that you’ll be involved – transitioning the idea from theoretical to up and running.
It’s also very likely that you will miss the cue to back out and let other people get on with it and that’s part of the reason that you end up bogged down in the detail. The team become reliant on you for answers.
So look out for that cue – when the special starts becoming every day and operational, it’s time to make sure that it’s all in safe hands and then make your excuses and leave.
You need to move on and dream up the next development…
But how do you actually free up that time?
To start, monitor what you’re actually doing for a few weeks, jot down the jobs, jot down what you end up getting involved in and then run the ADD review over it.
ADD stands for Automate, Delegate, Delete and you need to review everything you’re doing against these three criteria.
Step 1 – Delete
The first one to do is Delete – as if you can delete it, you should do so, as there is absolutely no point in delegating a task that is no longer needed.
Now bear in mind, that sometimes you have to invest a little time in the short term to actually delete things so that you get the longer term gain.
Examples of things you can delete are email subscriptions that you no longer look at (they just clutter up your inbox), a meeting that you don’t actually need to be in because your team can take care of it and if you can bear to, doom scrolling on instagram.
If you have reports that are prepared for you to review, consider how that information could be presented in a summary format with areas of concern highlighted, so it’s really simple to review and action.
Each time you delete something, keep a note of how much time you’ve just freed up.
Step 2 – Automate
Then review which tasks you can Automate, so the tasks get done but with far less input.
Examples of things you can automate are auto responders on email and social messages, auto posting social posts using something like Later or Plann.
You, or your team, can also automate deliveries of stationery, milk, and things that you use regularly.
Again, you may have to invest a little time setting up systems to actually get the time back, but it will be worth it in the long run.
Don’t forget, keep a note of how much time you’ve saved on this element.
Step 3 – Delegate
Then we have Delegate – what can you delegate to existing team members, new hires or to outside agencies/producers.
Again, do you need to be in all the meetings you go to? Can you delegate a budget to your team so they can spend without needing authorisation from you for everything.
Now, your team are not going to appreciate you just dumping a load of work from your desk to theirs, so again you need to spend some time discussing and preparing.
The ideal scenario is that they too use the ADD review process and free up time so that they have time to learn new skills, absorb the delegated work and move forward in their role.
Look in your personal life too – can you delegate things like cleaning, lawn mowing (or maybe don’t mow at all for a few weeks, maybe join in with No mow May)
Again, write down the time you save – you’ll be surprised how 5 minutes here and 10 minutes there add up.
Then total up your overall time saving. Come back and let me know in the comments below how you get on.
Finally, Expand your horizons
Then you get to do the next stage – you get to EXPAND your horizons…
There is no point at all you doing this exercise if you just fill the time you freed up with similar jobs and tasks.
So look at the overall time you saved and decide how you are going to ADD value with it:-
What will you elevate out of the pile of things you would like to do, but never have time to do?
Will you use it to make new connections and work on the growth plans you’ve not had the time to implement?
Will you use it to book time with a mentor to work through what the next stage looks like for you?
Will you spend some time at home instead of working all the time?
Will you spend time doing hobbies or learning a new skill?
Will you mentor employees so that they grow in their role more?
Or something else entirely?
The choice is yours…
So, your last tasks are to book time into your diary to do those things and also to consciously stop yourself dropping back into doing what you have just freed yourself up from.
It will be difficult, but persevere and you will get there.
It’s within your power…
You can be the entrepreneur who works on, not in, their business.
You can be the entrepreneur who manages to get to School Sports Day.
You can regain the time to rediscover the creative you who started a business full of boundless ideas and enthusiasm.
You can ADD time to your day, expand your horizons and grow your business.