I know that I’m not the only one who deals with this.
How many times have you started work early — and the next thing you knew it was 4PM … and your instant reaction was: I haven’t made any progress today on my most important stuff?
If you’re like the rest of us: quite a few times — and maybe “most of the time”.
Well, a few weeks ago I put out some advice about handling phone calls, and other such interruptions during our work day as a business owner. Basically, the productivity vampires and how to kill them.
Got some nice response — because I believe that we “know” this stuff … but oh, how easy it is to forget it.
You see, I’d like to be more than just a tax saving strategist for you. No, I’m not pitching you on tax planning, consulting, or some such … but I do know that running a business in a tax-advantaged way is only one part of a much bigger puzzle.
But if we don’t get the “time” thing handled, well, we’re all up a creek. So here are some more thoughts on this for you… these, in particular, relate to if you are a part of a team, or ever work alongside other people. So listen up.
Sherry Tolbert’s Three Keys To Avoiding Unproductive Meetings
“Don’t watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going.” -Sam Levenson
Anyone can see there’s a huge difference between activity and progress. But this is one of those topics that many of us *think* we have handled pretty well, when in reality, we might be fooling ourselves.
So consider this: How much time do you (and your staff) waste in meetings?
A recent survey of Fortune 500 CEOs showed they averaged only 28 MINUTES of actual productive time during a day, primarily due to useless meetings.
You’re probably doing considerably better than that in your small business because of less bureaucracy, but still … eye-opening, yes?
So I have three cautions for you — and inherent to each of them, I believe, you’ll see the kind of “opposite” behavior you need, to win the time-management game for business owners:
1) Unless you have an agenda and specific goal for every meeting, you’re probably wasting your time. Which leaves even less time that day for you to concentrate on the really important things.
Create a (short) agenda for every meeting, and send to all participants. Include the time allocated for each item, and be ruthless about it.
2) Unless you have a time limit for each meeting, you are most certainly wasting your time. You already know this is true: the meeting will last as long as the
longest-winded person makes it, and this is independent of whether anything useful gets done or not.
So again, mind the clock. It’s your job as your business’ LEADER to lead even in these small ways. If you are worried about hurting the feelings of someone on your staff related to cutting them off from speaking, you need some deeper soul-searching related to that particular staff member, I’d say.
3) Unless you have an action plan or to-do list that comes out of every meeting, you’re definitely wasting your time. How many times have you gone into a meeting to discover the same junk you discussed last week is back on the table?
Assign tasks, with deadlines — and apply a carrot or stick to each “large” item on the list. Do not allow repeat items to creep back in, unless there is significantly new information to bring to the larger group.
While all of this might be a behavior change for you and your staff, it’s easy to implement and your staff will quickly understand and accommodate you.
They’d better, right? There are big things brewing for the small business owner in today’s environment … and you can’t be saddled by poor habits if you are going to win.
So I’m simply grateful for our chance to serve you and your business — and we are dedicated to every part of its success.
Feel very free forward this article to a San Antonio business associate or client you know who could benefit from our assistance — or simply send them our way? While these particular articles usually relate to business strategy, as you know, we specialize in tax preparation and planning for San Antonio families and business owners. And we always make room for referrals from trusted sources like you.
Tolbert CPA LLC