Tuesday, October 4, 2011

How to Find Time to Work On Your Business

As I've written before, there are (at least) 3 small ways to boost your business in only 15 minutes a day:

1) Pick up the phone and call your #1 client. Ask how they're doing and what they're working on. Then ask if you can be of service somehow. They will tell you how to help or say, "No, thanks." Either way, they will be blown away by your generosity.

2) Mail a copy of a helpful article (magazine or newspaper) to your top 3 clients. Include a handwritten message with each that says, "Saw this and thought of you." Sign it.

3) Call to interview your last happy client. Ask how are they using your product or service, exactly? What has changed for the better, exactly? How much more time or money do they have as a result, exactly? Then ask if you can transcribe their comments to use in a "mini case study" on your web site or newsletter.

But, incredible as it may seem, some people just can't find time to work on their business instead of in it.

So, here's a proven way to recover at least 15 minutes of "lost" time in your daily schedule: Cut back on email.

And here's my story to illustrate ...

Back in 2004, I tracked how I spent each day, logging my time in 15-min. increments, as an attorney does.

What I found was shocking: I spent 6 hours per week reading and responding to email.

Not so much, you say?

Six hours add up -- to 24 hours per month ... 288 hours in a 50-week year ... 36 FULL WORKING DAYS per year.


So I resolved to check email once an hour instead of every 15 minutes (or anytime I got bored).

Yes, withdrawal was painful (there's no methadone equivalent for this). But my productivity soared.

So I took it a step further: I limited checking email to only 4 times a day. Then I cut back again. And again.

Now, I check email only twice a day, most days: at about 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM.

As a result, I spend only about 3 hours a week on email.

That's a 50% productivity gain -- an extra 18 working days recovered every year.

How do I handle urgent problems by email? There are none. Anyone with a "hair on fire" emergency that I must solve also knows my cell phone number and calls it.

How do I handle regular problems by email? They wait until 10:00 AM or 4:00 PM.

Yes, it really is that simple. Do this:

1) Block off time on your calendar to read and respond to email. I suggest 3-4 blocks of 20-30 minutes at first, so you can wean yourself and stay sane. You will still save at least 15 minutes per day in "transition time" shuttling back and forth from email to other activities.

2) Delay checking email until late morning, if possible. This closes the door to letting other people hijack your morning, which is the rudder for the rest of the day (according to my mentor, Brian Tracy).

Do these two things each day and you will save enough time to make small, profitable improvements in your business.

Bio: Kevin Donlin can help you grow your business and enjoy the breakthrough results your hard work deserves. If you're interested in boosting your revenues and profits, please click here.

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