Time is one of those elusive ideals that we spend a lifetime striving to get more of but never quite get there. Time is talked about in literature, movies, in all aspects of life and is often a master of most. What if you got the balance right, everything aligned and you were able to find more time? Do you think that’s achievable?

Finding time is about being smart with your own planning, preparation and execution of your life. It’s not about wasting time as much as maximising your time. If you have children you are balancing not only your own time but that of your family. If you’re in business you’re balancing your own time as well as your team, your clients and the business itself.  We could keep going with how your time is affected, but there is only so much time you can control. There is no magic formula for finding more time but let’s discuss what you can control.

There is no magic formula for finding time. Blue Ninja Business Support Click To Tweet

“Time and tide waits for no one [sic]Geoffrey Chaucer

This is as true now as it was in Chaucer’s time when he wrote about time and tide wait for no man. Do you sit around waiting for opportunities, or do you get out there and make your own? Your time is invaluable. Your time is a commodity. How much is your time worth? Everyone’s time is worth something, either to themselves or to others. Let’s focus on the business aspect of time. Have you ever measured what your time is worth per minute? Per hour? I have, I’ve had to as in order to do business I’ve had to quantify my ability to give my time to others. What are you worth? If you say not much then go to a mirror and have a stern word with yourself right now because you are worth a lot.

You are an asset to yourself. You have actively participated in your life, making choices and defining who you are. How do you evaluate your time, and as a business owner do you schedule in time off? What is time off? It’s more ‘you time’ – it’s a chance to recharge and refresh to get yourself ready for prioritising your time once again. You have the same amount of time as everyone else – it’s about prioritising the time you have and focussing on what’s most important to you.

If you’ve spent so many more hours working on something that is not your strength because it needed to be done, and you recognised at the start that it would take you so long to do, then how much is that time worth? Did you get stressed about it? That’s another chunk of time. I wouldn’t be surprised that you put off something else to give yourself more time to prepare for the task that you know will take you longer. A SWOT analysis and a business plan are useful tools to evaluate where your priorities should lie. If you have not conducted a SWOT analysis for your business before then schedule some time to do it. It will be time well spent in order to help you find out what you should be spending your time on, what should be prioritised, what you should give your attention and precious time to.

There’s only one thing more precious than our time and that’s who we spend it on.” Leo Christopher

Time is a construct of humans – we value time. How often do you check what time it is? As a business owner, you will set your times of business. I am open from x am to x pm, however many days per week. Do you stick to this without fail? Your time isn’t honoured by others so it’s almost impossible to regulate your business like this. Do you sneak a look at your emails in the evening? Do you answer that call on Saturday because your phone rang and you can’t help yourself? By appreciating what time you have, it may help you to find time because you’re not allowing others to take your time away from you.

The only person who can give your time away is you. Blue Ninja Business Support Click To Tweet

Take ownership of your time and set up rules and permissions for it. Have you ever waited for someone to show and thought “this is ridiculous, what a waste of my time” and waited for them anyway? How important is this person to you, to your business? If they are really important you will most likely wait. If they are not important at all, do you still wait? It’s a call only you can make as it’s your time. Don’t let time rule your life or dictate your actions. If it starts to, can you change your rules and permissions to take control again? Read my post on scheduling

“You will never find time for anything. If you want time, you must make it.” Charles Brixton

Google ‘Time Quotes‘ and I guarantee you there will be an overwhelming number of returns. Check out a few quote sites – are they inspiring you? Motivating you? Did you get distracted? How much time have you now spent reading time quotes, or moved onto something else because you thought of something else to look at? Procrastination, time wasting and distractions are all a product of not optimising your time, but they can help you to refocus when you are aware of them and acknowledge they happen. I recognise when I need to use my time effectively. I have responsibilities and whether I like it or not those dictate the best use my time. I will always try to help someone if they ask me for my time, but I balance that out in terms of what time I have to give…what are my business time needs, and how do I schedule other things around those priorities.

If you look at some of the most successful business people today, they will most probably say they worked flat out for years to build their business. For many people, it’s extremely difficult to switch off. In a lot of industries these days in order to succeed you’ve got to be working long hours. Does your work make you happy? For some yes, for others probably not. If you’re working in a job you enjoy, then you’re probably going to appreciate your time more than someone who loathes their job. Do you count the seconds before work finishes to leave the office? Remember your time is your own to give away, so be selective about what you do with it.

“Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time,’ is like saying, ‘I don’t want to.” Lao Tzu

As a Virtual Assistant (VA), I am one of many who talks about giving back time. VAs don’t really do that, what we do is allow business owners to make a decision on how to prioritise their time. VAs spent our lives working out the optimal way to do the basics in business. For business owners who do everything, you’re most likely to know how to send emails, write letters, prepare your financials, sort out your website, do your social media etc. Whether it’s a good use of your time is a whole other story. If you’ve thought about what your time is worth, then I ask you to consider what it’s also worth to give the non-essential work away to someone who knows how to do it quickly and efficiently? You probably don’t even want to do a lot of the work you have in front of you and may spend more of your time stalling in order to prepare yourself to do it.

It takes you 5 hours to put together some research but takes someone only 2 hours because they know how to effectively research, then you’ve gained 3 hours. You may pay for the time, but by weighing up the importance of your time then isn’t that worth considering how you can bring in people to help you find time? Once you do your SWOT analysis (or if you have already) look at your ‘weaknesses’ column. You do not have to become an expert in all those points, but you can get others to assist you to strengthen them. By using your time effectively you may be able to find time you haven’t considered, optimise your time to run your business and prioritise your time for you.

I leave you with this quote from Steve Jobs:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” Steve Jobs

 

 

35 things no one ever told you about becoming successful: https://medium.com/the-mission/35-things-no-one-ever-told-you-about-becoming-successful-387f91d36611

35 inspirational time quotes: http://awakenthegreatnesswithin.com/35-inspirational-quotes-time/

Steve Jobs Quote: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/steve_jobs_416854?src=t_time