1. First, let's start with doing a time audit.
You know how whenever you want to start keeping a budget, you first start with tracking your finances? Or how my nutritionist wanted me to track everything I ate for a week to see just how much sugar I was consuming? You can do the same thing with your time.
By tracking how you spend your time, you’ll get a baseline look on your habits and workflow, so you can honestly evaluate what’s working and not working. No judgment here, just simple reporting! You can do it in a paper planner, in an excel spreadsheet, or an online tool like Toggl.
** Your action step is to jot down the time blocks on everything you do for a whole week, INCLUDING your life activities (because it’s hard to separate). **
2. Categorize them into types of activities:
Did you know that there are different types of activities? Meaning, there are some tasks that only you can do as a CEO/service provider that are worth more than other tasks that you could outsource or even delete.
Here's where you can start to categorize your tasks according to how much this activity is worth your time. For example, "CEO time" spent creating your unique brand position will ultimately help you bring in more money than changing the font on your web site.
So, here's a general category list that I like to use to break down the type of tasks I do. Since I'm nerdy, I like to color code them as well.
Money-Making (green), Customer Service/Client Calls (blue), Planning & Strategy (purple), Admin (red), Personal (pink).
Then, assign each category a $$ amount, generally in terms of what you get paid v. what you can pay someone to do.
For example, Money Making ($1000), Planning & Strategy ($500), Customer Service ($100), and Admin ($15)
3. After a week of time tracking, reflect on how you're spending your time.
There are a few things to notice here:
What are my priorities, and are they scheduled FIRST into my calendar? Your values are important to taking the TIME to express them will make a difference in your fulfillment.
What are activities that you don't enjoy and you're not good at? If it's business related and NOT necessary, then say good-bye! If it's business related and necessary, then this could be a task you automate with a tool, or a team member you hire. For example, let's say you don't enjoy scheduling your social media, but using a tool like Hootsuite will save you time, or hiring a social media manager who helps you to create, post, and engage may be an option for you.
What activities can I batch together?
Sometimes a great time saver is to do "like" activities all together so you don't have to interrupt your brain flow (which can really hurt your productivity and efficiency!) Even things like meal plan and prep for the week or batching your content for the month can all be done in one sitting.
4. If you have team members or support people, delegate those lower-income tasks, or streamline your process to make it a simple process.
After tracking and reflection, you can then begin to implement small changes to your schedule to see it's a more effective use of your time. Of course, don't forget to block off PERSONAL TIME and make it a non-negotiable so you have work/life balance and boundaries in place as well.
Your Action Step:
Track how you currently spend your time by creating a "time audit." What are some insights you have from this? What would you like to change? Join the Authentic Brand Leaders Facebook group, and let us know all about it!
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