Editors Note: This is a guest post written by Rosie Aiello – Founder of ClearVista Consulting. Her opinions are her own.
If your tap was leaking … drip, drip, drip … you would find a way to seal that leak, right?
First of all, that dripping sound is incredibly annoying. You can hear it now, can’t you? You’d want to fix that leak just so you don’t go crazy from the noise.
Secondly, water is being wasted and you are paying for it whether you are using it or not. You don’t like to waste water and you surely don’t like to waste your money.
Now let me ask you this: How long would would it take for you to fix that water leak? An hour? A day? Until the water overflowed the sink? Until the water was so deep, that you needed a row boat to move through your home? My instinct tells me you would act rather quickly because you realize the value of acting quickly and appropriately.
By acting quickly, you save water—a precious resource, you save the cost of the water, and you save your sanity so you are not going crazy with that incessant dripping sound.
What if I told you that you are leaking, too. But as opposed to dripping water, your leaks are time leaks. Precious time is being wasted and that is costing you.
Do you get sucked into what I call the Internet Black Hole? You know how it goes. You start with good intentions to research something, but then you end up clicking another link and then another link. And then you are sidetracked by those awesome headlines, which lead you to read an article that adds absolutely no value to your day.
Before you know it, an hour or more has escaped.
Do you open an email every time one appears in your inbox? Then you may as well just read another email. And before you know it another hour has slipped by.
Or what about that piece of paper you’re sure was right there on your desk the other day? You waste time digging among piles of papers, getting sidetracked as you notice other documents or notices you’d forgotten to action from weeks earlier …
Are you getting the picture here?
A little leak here and a little leak there.
For any business owner, we’re not talking about just a single dripping tap. You may well be leaking more like a roof with lots of massive holes in it.
Just imagine your office covered with buckets everywhere to capture those leaks. Except in your case the buckets are not collecting water, they are collecting your leaking time. And unless you know how to seal those time leaks, profits are literally draining out of your business.
Here are 7 ways to seal those time leaks:
- Become aware of how you are using your time. Awareness is the first key before you can implement change.
- Be intentional how you use your time. Your actions should be purposeful. Avoid knee-jerk reactions or being reactive to situations.
- Create systems and processes to manage yourself and your business.
- Have an easy and effective filing system for paper, email and electronic documents. You should be able to find a paper within seconds or an e-file in two or three clicks.
- Use a timer to control the amount of time you are on the Internet.
- Set blocks of time on your calendar for specific tasks.
- Control interruptions and distractions by saying politely to others and to yourself, “No, not right now.”
These time leaks add up quickly.
A study performed by Brother, Inc. found that people waste on average nine minutes a day looking for paper. Nine minutes a day is almost an hour a week. An hour a week is more than one working week a year. If your average billable rate is $100 per hour, that’s $5,000 you have wasted. And that is only for one of your time leaks.
Do you want to spend a whole week a year looking for misplaced papers? Or, would you rather spend that time and money on a vacation? Or use it to focus on more revenue generating activities?
You have value. Your time is your money. Reflect on the value of one hour of your time.
Are you ready to seal your time leaks and stop profits going down the drain? Your business depends upon it.
Being productive is not about being busy. It’s about doing the right things effectively.
If you have any other productivity tips, we’d love to hear from you.
Rosie Aiello is a Productivity Consultant, Small Business Mentor, Speaker and Author. She is the founder of ClearVista Consulting International Inc., which specializes in improving productivity and profits for entrepreneurs, small businesses, and other professionals.