“There just aren’t enough hours in the day”
“I don’t have enough time for lots of the things I’d like to do in my life and business”
“I’m constantly overworked and exhausted”
Do these statements sound like things you’ve ever thought or said before?
Most of the accountants I know have definitely felt this way at some point during their working life.
It’s easy to feel like there just isn’t enough time in each day to get everything you need to do completed.
But, in reality, this isn’t true.
There are more than enough hours in the day to get everything done. Just think about the people in your industry who seem to get everything done and more.
Think about the business moguls of the world who run multi million pound empires.
Everyone has the same amount of time – 24 hours each day – so why is it that some people seemingly manage to get 1000X more done?
The reason for this is that some people are far better than others at managing their time and more importantly, their priorities.
The people who think they don’t have enough time simply don’t realise that they don’t have a time management problem, they have a priority management problem.
So how do you manage your tasks by their priority levels to ensure you can manage your time better?
The following matrix shows how to prioritise tasks into four different categories so that you can get the most important and urgent things done and eliminate things are aren’t urgent and aren’t important.
In the above matrix there are 4 different types of tasks:
- Not urgent and not important
- Urgent and not important
- Not urgent and important
- Urgent and important.
So, let’s take a look at each category and which tasks fit into them:
1. Not urgent and not important tasks
These are the ultimate timewasters and include unnecessary meetings, over-analysis, procrastination, speculation, web browsing, social media, unnecessary phone calls etc.
These are the things that need to be eliminated ASAP in order to provide you with more time. If you’re really serious about freeing up some of your time in order to use it to focus on growing and developing your practice then you need to remove these things by either eliminating them completely or delegating the tasks to others in your team.
2. Urgent and not important tasks
These include phone calls, emails, meetings, any general interruptions, admin and more.
These are all low-level things that don’t need to be completed by you. They can easily be assigned to other members of your team in order to save your own time. Emails can easily be delegated to another team member – read my great guide on how to delegate your emails to your team members here.
3. Not urgent and important tasks
This includes working on both business goals and personal goals, spending more time with clients, chasing new opportunities, spending time with friends and family and more.
These things typically don’t happen often because they’re not considered to be urgent. Instead of these things happening on an ad-hoc basis, you need to make sure you schedule time in your diary for them and a default diary can be a great way to do this. Read more about setting up and using a default diary here and find out about how it can benefit you by helping you prioritise and use your time better.
4. Urgent and important tasks
This includes things like urgent client requests, deadlines, answering certain emails and calls and more.
These tasks are non-negotiable and are necessary to keep your business running and moving forward. These are things that you should block out time in your default diary each day to get completed and ensure they are not forgotten. If these things are overlooked it will be detrimental to your practice.
How much time should you spend in each quadrant?
So, you might be wondering how much time high performing practices and individuals spend on each section of the matrix. See below:
The above image clearly shows the immense differences between how high performing organisations and typical organisations spend their time. Pretty eye-opening, isn’t it?
High performance organisations spend up to 10% more time working on non-urgent/important tasks – i.e. working on their personal and business goals.
The difference between the figures is most drastic in the urgent and not important category. In this area, high performing organisations spend 35% – 45% less time than typical organisations on these tasks. That’s 35% to 45% more time they have to spend on other, more important tasks that can keep their business moving forward.
This means high performing practices are spending far less time on things like phone calls, emails, meetings and admin. This frees them up to spend more time on more important and urgent tasks, as well as not urgent and important tasks.
How could freeing up time allow you to change your business and life? Would you benefit from having more time to spend working ON your business and more time outside of work to spend with your friends and family?