3 Ways to Take Back Control of Your Time
There are many things that are frustrating in our day to day management of our businesses.
Constant interruptions, simple decisions that seemingly require common sense are not made in a timely manner because of some sort of road block.
You are forced to focus on what is urgent instead of what is important and then you never get to the important tasks which causes your company often times to stall from lack of attention to the very things that you documented on your to do list but never make it to your got done list.
I am actually shocked when I hear owners deal with mundane issues like customer communication or product clarifications when these could and should be easily handled by others and can be through simple processes that we don’t create because we are too busy solving problems instead of creating solutions.
I hear this frustration often when I am consulting and coaching small business owners and the truth is we do have a say in how we handle the disruptions and what we choose to spend our time on.
It simply requires a process to make these problems handle themselves in the future.
My name is Scott Lollar and I’m a DYB Coach.
I’m going to share with you 3 things that you can implement to better manage your time and a process to solve disruptions.
I think most of us have been exposed to the simple 4-quadrant time management tool.
I like the “Covey Quadrant” by Stephen Covey.
The quadrants are Urgent and Important, Not Urgent Not Important, Urgent and Not Important, and finally Not Important and Not Urgent.
The reality is although we should be existing in the Not Urgent/Important quadrant, we way too often spend much of our time in the Urgent/Not Important quadrant and much of this waste of time is imposed on us by others if we allow it.
Document your interruptions.
Keep an app open on your phone or a legal pad handy.
The first step is to document everything that you do in a day.
This will include things you intended and did not intend.
Now this will not be easy because we have many forms of interaction:
In person, cell Phone, text, email, etc…
But do your best to document everything.
I think it is helpful to find common interruptions:
Field, customer, admin, vendor, etc…
Where are the disruptions coming from?
Bundling the interruptions into categories will be helpful in eliminating them.
I would suggest doing this for a least one week.
Determine which interruptions are not tasks in your job description.
What are the things that are yours to own?
You should be looking at tasks that should have been done by you versus done by others.
You will want to develop responses and actions to both of these issues.
You may have never thought about your job description, or you might have thought everything is your job!
Well, everything is your job if you let it be…
We think it is helpful or nice to rescue people when they have an issue when in fact it creates a habit that will be difficult to break.
In addition, many supervisors find it difficult to push back or ask questions without feeling confrontational.
Confrontation is an emotional response to a non-emotional issue.
Possibly the best tool I have ever learned to deal with these interruptions is the concept of Key Frustrations taught in the E-Myth books and courses.
The E-Myth defines a Key Frustration as an undesirable pattern of events that can be eliminated by installing a system.
The concept here is instead of solving issues one at a time, create a system to solve the problem consistently and permanently.
You can find more information by googling “Key Frustration E-Myth”.
You can also find a Key Frustration worksheet at e-myth.com under free resources as well.
By bundling your distractions with similar issues, you can begin to identify the sources or root of the deficiencies in your processes.
Once you have identified an issue, determine the top of the funnel.
It is oversimplified to say the painter should not need to call you for a product specification.
The real issue is the field document that is available to the painter with clear product, color, sheen and location for each area.
So the process to solve this is not complicated but may require more than a document.
This also may require some technology to deliver the information.
But spending the time to solve each point in the deficiency, you will have solved this issue for ever.
The next time the individual calls for the same issue, you can point to the process that if followed would help them solve their issue.
Simply request they return to the process and move on. No emotion needed.
Now if the response is they were never trained on that process, then you need another process that addresses the training and onboarding of new employees.
You continue with additional systems until the frustration is solved.
When you take the time to do this for every frustration, you will start with many, maybe dozens and over time reduce them down to a few or revisions of existing processes.
A couple of tips here…
If you are wired for a more emotional response including an animated vocal or visual reaction, work on a process to change this response.
You are the source of the problem because you are the leader of the organization.
People are looking to please you so understand this before getting aggravated with your people.
Think about taking a deep breath and then say, “I’m sorry. This is my fault.”
Sometimes personal accountability can diffuse a frustrating moment.
You might invite the employee into the solution process so they buy into the concept.
Teach your entire organization this process and let them take the initiative to use the Key Frustration tool in their day to day work life.
I hope this simple exercise helps you create the business that handles disruption as a process creates more freedom for your entire team.
And always, if I can serve you in any way, you can reach me at Scott@DYBCoach.com.