Probably the most common issue that small business owners and would be entrepreneurs raise with me is a lack of time. Too little time to develop new projects; too little time for administration; too little time for marketing. This is an excuse. A genuine excuse but an excuse none the less.
I know that my clients work hard. I know they don’t waste time (often). I know that they are often overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work they have to do and that can lead to a type of paralysis. When we feel overwhelmed we tend to flit from job to job achieving little so the problem just gets worse.
What’s the solution?
Well there are numerous books on time management out there and I’m not about to write another one but here’s a technique that I find really effective: the Power Hour. I was introduced to the concept by Carrie Wilkerson, AKA The Barefoot Executive.
In essence it is one hour of complete focus, no distractions allowed. Ideally your Power Hour should be your first hour of the day before you get distracted with all the other things you have to do. It is an hour where you work on your key priorities with no interruptions.
If you can create a power hour five days a week for 48 weeks of the year you will have found 240 hours, that is the equivalent of at least six weeks of time to work on your business’ development. Six weeks! What if I said you have six weeks to work on nothing but your business’ future? What could you achieve? A lot. I know that because it is a technique I use especially when I have a big project to get off the ground.
I know you are busy so here are some ideas for finding your hour:
- stop watching television
- stop playing Candy Crush, Solitaire or other addictive games
- get up earlier
- go to bed later
- do an online supermarket order and get the family to help you to put it away
- batch cook and freeze portions for another day to reduce your time in the kitchen
- swap childcare with a friend to give each of you an hour’s peace from time to time
- limit the time you spend chatting to friends (note I said limit, not give up!)
- sort out the clutter so it isn’t constantly sapping your time
Using your Power Hour
So now to make the best use of your hour:
- Block the time out in your diary, it is an appointment with yourself and just as important as any other appointment you make
- Put the phone on to answerphone, switch off your emails and the Internet (unless it is essential for the task you want to achieve)
- Go to the loo (toilet).
- Make a cup of coffee or your drink of choice.
- Close the door and tell people you don’t want to be disturbed for an hour.
- Clear your working space of any other tasks or distractions
- Decide what you want to achieve
- Keep a Power Hour folder so you can start work where you left off easily.
- Set a timer (this is the only use for your Smartphone in the next hour so make sure it is on silent!)
- Start work, stay focussed and stick at it until the timer goes off.
- When you have finished your hour make a note of where you are up to or what you need to do next so that when you get another hour you don’t waste time working out what you have to do.
If you are anything like me you’ll find that you don’t want to give up when your hour is up! Fine if there is nothing else pressing in your diary but all too often life gets in the way.
This article is adapted from my 21 Day Make Money Challenge, where there are plenty more tips. We have new groups starting the challenge on October 21st and November 21st. Why not join us?