Ease the stress of time management with KISS!

Terry Sage of Trades Coaching New Zealand

Well, did you do it? Did you say no to anybody? I hope not. What I hope you said was “yes we can do that, but . . .” So if you managed this approach your month should have been a little less stress-filled. But keeping 60 minutes of work to 60 minutes of time and not trying to cram in 80 minutes of work for every 60 minutes is only part of the solution.

There are dozens of books on the shelves that cover the subject of time management, and how to live a stress-free life. And in those pages are hundreds, probably thousands, of first-class tips, and they will all work, guaranteed. So why don’t I just read a couple, cut and paste some of the good ones, make myself look oh so clever and not have to think of any more words to write?

Well, the truth is you don’t need thousands of world class tips. You don’t even need 10 because the more you try, the more confused your life will become. Business should be simple not complicated — think about the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) principle in every aspect of your business and this, in itself, will ease the stress of time.

Let’s start with a basic but great one.

Stop. Take a breath. Now take a look at your life. Over the course of a week or two write down everything you do. “Yeah rite!” I know it sounds like I want to turn you into J K Rowling and you have probably not written anything more significant than a cheque or a shopping list for a very long time, but hang on a minute. All you need to do is shorthand — “quoted Mrs Buckets for 45 minutes”, for example.

When you have a couple of weeks’ worth you can then identify what takes up most of your time. Now note next to each one if you enjoy them or not — put a tick or a cross. Then put a dollar sign next to the ones that make you money.

Normally the ones you don’t like or the ones that don’t make you money take the longest because you don’t want to do them or, worse still, you don’t do them.

A prime example of this is invoicing. I met a young lad the other day who was on stop credit with his supplier. He had been so busy he had not invoiced for three months, so had no cash in the bank to pay the bills.

When asked why he had not invoiced, he said, “I can’t stand it, all that writing and adding up — I would rather be on the job earning money”.
Hello! There are no more jobs because there are no more materials. Note to you — there should be a dollar sign next to your “invoicing people” section.

The point of all this is that everything is important to keep the wheels of your business turning. Nothing can be missed, especially the boring parts.

By working out what you have to do, how long it takes and if it produces a dollar, we can start to prioritise when each item gets done and how long we are going to spend on it.

Some quick tips

Perhaps we are getting ahead too much here — first do the lists I mentioned earlier.

Next time I will go into the tips and the philosophy behind them, and we can analyse the results of the list. Good luck with your writing, and don’t lose the bits of paper!