My 'thing' is saving time through process and, possibly more importantly, automation.
Once you decide on a particular way to do something that will be the same each time, you can record that process so that everyone knows what to do and how to do it. This will in itself save time because you don't need to think about how to do a task each time you come to it and also because you can delegate more easily when you have a set process.
However, the real time saving comes if you can automate things.
It's often the case that you will be using a number of different systems in your business so you'll argue that things can't be automated because a person has to manage the integration of the systems - but that is not necessarily the case any longer.
Zappier is a cool piece of software that will talk to lots of different software and "zap" information from one to the other on an "if X then Y" basis.
This makes process automation between different systems that you're probably already using in your business a real possibility and you'll be amazed how much time you'll save when things just happen "by magic".
I have talked before about planning the tasks you need to get done, not just having them in a To Do list. That means thinking about which day you're going to do them on and how long they might take (ie. how many can you fit into a day).
You may already have a tool which you can use to do this, there are numerous To Do List apps available - Toodledo, Don't Forget the Milk, Outlook Tasks, etc - or project management tools - Trello, Asana, Teamwork, etc.
However, if you want something more straight forward, or you are a pen and paper type person, you might want to download my Daily Planner - click here.
I have used my learnings from several good business books to create this planner, so let me briefly take you through it ...
- Spending 90 minutes a day working ON your business not IN it is the consistent message given by Nigel Botterill of The Entrepreneurs Circle and is the reason that I have 2 distinct sections on the planner - the tasks you need to do for your customers but also the tasks you need to do to grow your business.
- Pareto's 80/20 Principle says that we get 80% of our results from 20% of what we do. The Daily Planner will force you to think about the few things that you are doing that create most of your successes as there is only space for your top 3 tasks.
- "Will it make the boat go faster?" was the simple question that Olympic Gold Medalist Ben Hunt-Davies and his team asked themselves every day for 2 years in the run up to their Gold medal win. Checking that the things you're putting on your To Do list are the things that are going to 'make your boat go faster', ie. move your business forwards towards your goals, ensures that you're spending your time on the right things.
Ben is now a successful Business Coach and he talks about how to apply his Olympic Gold winning techniques to your business in his book Will It Make The Boat Go Faster?
- The last book I have drawn from is The One Thing by Gary Keller. This suggests that you should only ever be focusing on the ONE thing that will move you forward.
So at the bottom of my planner I have put the emergency rope - if things don't got to plan and you only get one thing done today, what should it be?
- The last thing I want to point out doesn't relate to a book but rather a 'good practice' that I have learnt - "Today isn't finished until Tomorrow is planned" - that's why I've added the last action onto the planner.
It is much better to complete your planner for tomorrow before you finish today. so that when you get to your desk in the morning you know exactly what you're doing and can get straight into it, no procrastination!
I hope you find the planner useful and it helps you to focus on the key tasks you need to get done. Click here to download it.
Having a memory like a sieve, I find that once an email has slipped off the bottom of the screen, I am likely to forget about it and any action I needed to take on it will also be forgotten. That's why I like to turn my emails into tasks and add a reminder date to them. This is dead easy to do in Outlook and can also be done in Gmail - take a look at this short video and find out how.