One of the most common questions ever asked is, “How are you today?” When you interact with people throughout the day, that question comes up quite a bit. And some of the most common answers include, “I’m good” or “I’m fine.” However, there’s another increasingly common answer that’s crept up in the last 5-10 years. That answer is, “I’m busy.” The responder might go on to say how overwhelmed and slammed they are, and how much they despise their hectic schedule.
What we’re going to talk about today is more specific to people involved in business development, although it can apply to anyone. We’ll be looking at the top 8 ways to free up time. Here they are, in no particular order:
1. Fire bad clients – fire prospects/clients that just suck the life and time out of you. This isn’t always true, but in a lot of cases, those who take up the most of your time are the ones resulting in the least amount of profit.
2. Hire a part-time or full-time assist – people who work in business development don’t always think like this. They believe that to hire their own assistant, they’d have to be the owner of the company. This is simply not true. Anyone can have an assistant that takes care of those menial tasks you don’t want to do or don’t have time to do. You can then spend your own valuable time developing more business, especially if you’re on a commission-based pay plan.
3. Spend 15 minutes in the morning (or the night before) pre-planning your day – and don’t just list a bunch of tasks. Try to focus on at least one higher-level strategic thing throughout the day. People who spend the few minutes planning daily end up saving a lot of time in the long run.
4. Eliminate gaps in your schedule – do you have an appointment from 10-11AM, but your next appointment is not until 11:30? Gaps like this suck up your time. If you can combine your schedule to have back-to-back meetings, then you can free up a large chunk of time at the end of the day. For example, if you have 5 meetings planned, with a 30-minute gaps between them, then if you cut out those breaks, you’d save an extra two hours, which is long enough to do something productive with.
5. Let people know your timeframe for chitchats – oftentimes, friends and family will talk your ear off if you let them. It’s okay to say, “Hey, great to talk to you today. I have about five minutes to chat. What’s up?” Have some restrictions when talking to people, so your time doesn’t just slip away from you.
6. Meet in groups – generally speaking, if you have a few people you want to talk to or meet with, it’s great to meet in groups as opposed to one-on-one. I’m not saying that one-on-one’s are bad, but if you want to leverage some time, groups can be very beneficial.
7. Have short, consistent meetings as opposed to endless emails back-and-forth – if you can talk to someone every day for 5-10 minutes instead of spending 30 minutes typing up emails to them and reading their responses, then consider switching to meetings as your primary method of communication.
8. Set personal boundaries – take off work for 24 hours straight if possible. During that time, don’t type up reports, check emails, or call clients. Basically, nothing work-related. If you can’t commit to this, set smaller boundaries, such as twelve hours. Setting personal boundaries really gives you that feeling of freeing up more time.
In closing, if someone asks you how you are today, the answer, if you follow some of these items above, should be something like, “Oh, I’m feeling relaxed and balanced.”
Have a better than amazing day!