You Might Be Wasting Two Days Every Week

In 1988, Dr. Stephen Covey published his book the 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, and has since sold more than 25 million copies worldwide, and is the best-selling non-fiction audiobook in history. Needless to say, it is one of the most influential management books ever written. These seven habits (if you haven't read them yet, here is a brief overview), have provided millions of business and thought leaders worldwide a clear framework on how to be effective and successful.

In Habit #3 (Put First Things First), Dr. Covey extolls the reader to give priority to tasks in the following order:

  1. Important and Urgent tasks
  2. Important and Not Urgent
  3. Not Important and Urgent
  4. Not Important and Not Urgent (in fact you can even do away with this)

Simple enough and logical, right? The hardest thing to prioritising well is not that we cannot rank these tasks accordingly, but many times we get confused between #2 and #3. 

According to a reecent survey, the average entrepreneur spends 68.1% of their time on day-to-day tasks (emails, admin tasks, putting out fires, etc.), and the remaining 31.9% of their time on important tasks such as business goals and strategy (Ouch!).

Definitely, a shift towards strategic thinking and planning (and conversations with your staff and customers) is needed to put more time towards working ON your business, rather than working IN your business.

Here are just some of the many ways to free up your time:

1. Leverage on Technology.

According to Namely HR systems, their 1,000+ clients worldwide saved an average of 11 hours per week just by using their software on a wide range of HR processes (such as employee record filing, payroll, timekeeping, scheduling, benefits management, onboarding, and performance management).

It has worked so well for them that 75% of Namely's clients reported that their employee engagement increased after they used Namely. As a sample, here are some of the best HR software to help you save time on administrative work:

2. Outsource your tasks.

Many business leaders struggle with delegating or outsourcing their tasks, concerned with the possible drop-off in quality and speed. But in a workshop conducted with executives by the Harvard Business Review authors Julian Birkinshaw and Jordan Cohen, participants who offloaded 2% to 20% of their work found "no decline in their productivity or their team's."

You can either look for your existing staff whom you can delegate to, or hire virtual assistants from offshore recruitment companies like Kinetic. There are also companies such as Optimum Consulting, who provide fully-managed employee surveys for their clients (which normally would take weeks to prepare, run and report). Check out our previous blog on the many other things you can outsource.

3. Do away with non-value adding tasks.

You might be surprised, but according to a survey conducted among 2,000 office workers, up to 30% of their time was spent on reading emails, wasteful meetings, and work interruptions. That's almost two days of work per week. Learn to say no to interruptions and excessive meetings, and make use instead of project/goal monitoring programs such as My EmployeeLife or Namely.

As for emails, schedule certain parts of the day for reading emails, and do not read mail that you are not yet ready to act on. Check out this article from Fast Company that gives great tips on how to manage your inbox.

If you can redeem up to two additional days of your week and spend it solely on growing your business, can you imagine the impact it can make to your company? Yes, I thought so too.

Would you like to know more about how to save more of your time? Feel free to drop us a line. We'd be more than happy to help.


About the author:

Dondi (Yahoo).jpg

Dondi Alentajan is the Principal Consultant for Alentajan Business Consulting and serves as a consultant for Optimum Direct, a web portal for the best HR tools and software for small business. He was recognised as a “Marketing Maverick” by Business World in 2012, and he headed the Marketing Team nominated “Best Marketing Company” by the PMA for two consecutive years (2010 & 2011). His primary work mission is to help companies and their customers be happier together.