Practice Mgt newsletter issue 1: Time Management

I’ve been promising a practice management newsletter for quite some time now and it’s finally happening!

I’ve got a whole list of interesting things to talk to you about, but if there’s anything that you would particularly like to read about, just let me know and I’ll add it to the list (or just write about that next if I get inspired!).

For my first newsletter, I thought I’d talk about time management. Because all the “rah rah I’m going to change the world” won’t help if you don’t spend the time required to make the changes in your business and set new habits in place.

I’ve seen quite a bit of commentary lately around goals versus habits, and attitude versus action. I think we are all realising that lofty goals are easy to talk about and hard to achieve, whereas habits, the things you do every day, can really add up and make a big difference in the long run. Likewise, having a great attitude and saying all the right things doesn’t count for anything unless you act. Repeatedly. Which can be hard for us entrepreneur types because we love new things and… look a bird! (See what I did there?)

So, how do you develop new habits? How do you turn words into actions? It’s pretty simple, you have to SCHEDULE THEM IN. Here’s a fantastic TED talk explaining why we look at time management the wrong way around, and why trying to save 5 minutes here and 3 minutes there won’t help anything.

I once coached a guy who told me that he was going to ‘get on to the strategy side of things, just as soon as he had the day-to-day stuff under control’. Sounds reasonable right? The problem was, the day-to-day tasks are never ending. The worst part? He was starting to hate his job, and was feeling like a failure. In the end, by simply scheduling in some time every day for the strategic work, he was able to completely change his personal efficacy, and that of his team as well. Nice.

If you manage a team, it’s not only your time management that’s important, but also that of your team members. The lure of email and “easy but pointless” tasks is great regardless of where you sit in the pecking order! Sometimes it can be difficult to get everyone on the same page, so here’s a short article I wrote that you might like to share with your team. It explains the big rock, little rock idea of time management (aka schedule time for the big rocks or you’ll never get to them). I’m a big believer, even if I’m not always that good a disciple!

What has also been working for me lately is to block out entire days for different parts of my role. I have to say, it’s making a huge difference. In fact, there is no way that I would have got this newsletter going without it. The reason I’m doing this is because I like to write from my desk at home, but with meetings every day, I would generally be in the CBD most days and somehow every time I did get a break I would start answering emails and checking social media. Which would then eat up all my spare time. Oops.

So now, I try to see clients/have meetings on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Which leaves Mondays and Thursdays to work ON my business. It doesn’t always work out perfectly but it’s definitely a major improvement. In fact, I have got more done in the last few weeks than I thought possible. And my main projects are all moving forward.

I got the idea from this podcast episode, where Michael Kitces interviews Dana Anspach, a US adviser who’s business is entirely virtual. The Michael Kitces series is fantastic, each interview is really in-depth so you get to hear more than just the surface level answers. Definitely worth a listen in my opinion.

Anyway, I’m on a time management roll at the moment and looking for even more improvements. I’d love to hear what you are doing in your business to get more done. It’s a constant battle I know!