Article - Wake Up to New Ways of Time-ManagementJul 21, 2022
READ: 2 mins
AUTHOR: Janusz Stabik
DO NOT start as you mean to go on!
What do we mean?
Start your day with a different intent, pace and tone to what you know the rest will bring and finish the week having taken at least one BIG STEP FORWARD.
If you’re busy ‘all the time’ it might seem like you’re using your working hours wisely, not wastefully. But if you want to make every second count, what counts is the task-type - particularly as an agency owner.
Read on for how precision planning your time ensures this precious resource quickly pays dividends in impactful change within your business.
The concept of time-boxing is something we’ve covered before and is the surest way to protect space in our week to address non-urgent, but important, tasks: those which will ultimately make the business more efficient, sleeker or drive it forward.
If you’ve scrapped the ‘to-do’ list and instead are calendaring time to work on a specific goal or task, you’re using time-boxes.
However, almost more important than embracing the concept, is considering where you ‘stack’ these boxes.
With all the best intentions, agency owners we work with frequently demarcate time to a Friday afternoon.
But by the week’s end, the house-keeping has piled up and the flotsam and jetsam of the team’s challenges are likely to come washing past your door.
That protected space will almost certainly be encroached upon by well-meaning staff, the email you forgot to respond to or even the pivot towards the weekend.
Whilst every second counts in the working day, not all are to be treated equally. For a time-box to help you step up, the work you do within it has to be specific…with an outcome against which you can hold yourself to account.
And the time of day you box out for your goal has to be conducive to this end.
So, when is that?
Sunrise and Shine
Our advice is simple: flip the day, time-box at its start.
Agency owners are likely in the office before their employees, and before the client incoming commences. We see an awesome opportunity here, at the very beginning of the day, to attack the most important strategic tasks: the ones that help you make bigger strides forward, rather than feeling you’re running to stand still.
Between the hours of 08.00-10.00 (or 07.00-09.00), forego the inbox clear-up, or other minutiae tasks which keep your house in order, but not expanding or improving. Although these tasks get us ‘battle-ready’ to respond and react to the week’s events, in attack-mode we’re not thinking strategically and we’re barely thinking beyond the present moment. More, Gallup reports that multi-tasking can lower productivity rates by 40%.
Time-boxes that are fulfilling their optimum function, demand a slower, yet more focused, form of work. Curiously, in a sense they warp time - allowing us a clearer and more precise view of the path ahead, even as we’ll soon return to the frenetic pace the rest of the day will demand.
Instead of the fire-fight, forcing focus on important tasks around strategy, systems or processes at the start of the day when the business can survive without you, is THE WAY you become better, smarter and more productive as an agency.
A Sprint Not a Marathon
We like to advise working in ‘micro-sprints’: goal-orientated chunks of time, with measurable success criteria.
The key to these micro-sprints is the things that ‘Get Done’ within them are process or system-based items, or strategy planning, that will make running the business easier, or evolve it further.
X2 micro sprints in your morning time-box might look like this:
Sprint 1: 08:00-08:50
Sprint 2: 09:00-09:50
Key command words can define tasks suited for highly effective time-boxes: create, adapt, find, research, review, investigate, amend, produce.
Ideally these micro-sprints all point to / coalesce in one large goal by the end of the week: one which will notably move the business one step forward.
Why do we call these ‘sprints’? Well, they’re quick and you’re gunning for that defined finish-line, but there’s more to it than this.
Imagine the analogy of a marathon: sustenance, drink-stations, even music might keep you motoring…the things you don’t need in a sprint! Keeping that laser-shape focus on the finish-line means no interruptions, no WhatsApp pings and no Slack drops. Obsessively protect your window of time from the work-place comms that usually take precedence or attention within your usual practice to see maximum benefit of them.
Time After Time
The time adds up quickly into demonstrable achievements.
If you time-box:
- Every single day
- Between 08:00-10:00
- 2x micro sprints
= 1 big goal every week
= 46 BIG GOALS EACH YEAR!
Imagine how much further forward your business will be after a year if you take these steps, run these sprints.
We’ve seen this work for so many clients, and it’s a strategy our team uses and advocates for our Mastermind Members. Our Peer-to-Peer groups share knowledge and tools like this every month, read about the benefits of joining here.