And Why It’s Important
As a business owner, it’s all about the bottom line, and that means effectively managing your business. No one wants to waste money or resources needlessly. But what about your time?
Time is arguably the most undervalued resource you have. And, if you’re like most of us, you likely wonder where it all goes. One survey revealed that more than two-thirds of respondents (69%) did not track their time. And that can be bad news for you and your operations, especially if you're not spending your time effectively, i.e. where it best benefits you and your business.
Something we rarely do is to put a dollar figure on the unit value of our time. But it is arguably the most precious resource your company has. If you haven’t already, determine what you think an hour of your time is worth. You can do this in several ways including considering your company’s annual revenue, your salary, or what you bring to the company in terms of services and their equivalent value. In a Google survey of entrepreneurs, 74% of respondents said their time was worth at least $100/hr with 12% estimating that hour was worth more than $500.
So, just where does your valuable time go? Just as with any resource management exercise, you need starting data for an accurate picture of your work week. The key is not to institute any productivity changes at first but simply record what you’re doing. The method doesn’t have to be complicated – a simple spreadsheet to capture start and end times and activity works well. Or, a small notebook works. The key is to record activities in real time. Once you’ve gathered a weeks’ worth of data (don’t forget the weekends if you find yourself doing work-related tasks), try the “traffic light” method to categorize your time expenditures:
Green is for work that you deem essential to your role. It’s the work that typically you wouldn’t delegate and that makes the largest impact.
Use yellow for tasks that you feel are important, but could be delegated to able employees if needed.
Orange is reserved for work that needs to be done but really is not part of your leadership role. It may be work you enjoy, but it isn’t you working at your highest and best use.
Red light work is simply work no one should be doing. It may be reports you’ve been running forever that serve no purpose, redundant activities, or anything else that would not be missed if it weren’t accomplished.
If you’re like most business leaders, you’ll probably find that a significant percentage of your time is spent outside the green on activities you could delegate or delete altogether.
That same Google survey revealed another interesting insight. Respondents were asked what they might do with an extra hour. Not surprisingly, the number one answer was engaging with potential new customers, followed closely by marketing and other business growing activities. Now, how many hours could you potentially free up in a week to actively grow your business rather than just maintain it?
Engaging professional support can be one of the smartest ways to liberate yourself from the work that is weighing you down. If some of your “yellow” or “orange” work is related to bookkeeping, payroll, and other accounting tasks, we’d be happy to help you work better and smarter.