A Rant about Time

Posted by Heather Villa, CMA, MBA, MSM on April 08, 2010 in: Business - Plain & Simple, Time Management Strategies


Time is one of those elusive factors that we’re all desperately trying to get more of. We understand we only have 24 hours in a day and can’t actually add more time to it (except for the one day a year when we “fall back” an hour, but that single added hour doesn’t have much of an impact in the big picture).

So we focus on productivity, we talk about efficiency, we desperately search for more time. Blogs like the one by Meryl K Evans called “12 Ways to Find More Time” are widely read and tweeted enthusiastically. And that’s okay. It’s a good list with some great common sense time-finding tips that you can use: Things like “control your phone time”, “review your meetings”, and “save time in your calendar”. There aren’t any surprises on this list. That’s not an indictment against the post’s author. Rather, it’s an indictment against most of us!

There’s a reason why these “time-finding tips” blog posts are so popular. People want to find more time and they actively search for ideas to help them. But all of these ideas (not just Meryl’s great list but also the many productivity tools and resources available) are completely wasted if we don’t act. Action is the key to business success. It’s what separates the winners from the losers.

Many people search for more time but the reality is, they frequently squander the time the have. Rather than taking action to sell their products or services, promote their company, or serve a client, they end up on Facebook, or returning emails, or browsing the web. It feels productive, but at the end of their new-found time they have nothing to show for it. And so they go off in search of more “find more time” tips to help them.

Stop looking for new ways to find more time. Just for a moment. First, master the time that you have already.

  • Eliminate wasted time by only watching specific TV shows (and turning off the TV after) rather than lazing in front of the television and watching whatever is on.
  • Make better use of time at your desk by restricting your own access to sites that aren’t specifically geared to productivity. (For example, pull back a bit on Facebook if it is part of your social life but not part of your business plan).
  • Closely review the work you do on other sites to make sure that it is not work that feels productive but really isn’t. (I’ve got a blog post about this which I’ll be posting in a week or two – stay tuned).
  • Set hourly goals for yourself that stretch your productivity and help you to stay focused against the distractions.
  • Before you invest in another time management system or project management system to replace the one you’ve got, consider what it is that you need to do to be more efficient and to use those current investments better.

Once you’ve done all these things, fine tune your time to do the following work:

1.    Position your company to generate more prospective customers
2.    Sell your services to those customers
3.    Serve all of your customers with great service

That’s it! Spend your time doing that critical work and you’ll have a super-strong, amazingly profitable business.

Then, after you’ve started to efficiently use the time you have, start looking for tips and ideas to help you find more time.

Good luck!

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I love working with coaches, freelancers, and entrepreneurs to help them become more successful. If you'd like to improve your business, find out how I can help.