Time. As crucial as many things are to the successful operation of your business, TIME may just be one of the most valuable resources you have. How often have you heard that “Time is money”? Like it or not, this statement rings true to just about any kind of business you are running. If you don’t think so, just try delaying that large order to your top client by a day and see what happens to your bottom line.
Unfortunately, time has a way of working against us instead of working FOR us. Most things that happen in the course of a usual workday do not add time to our day or our project, they usually take it away. Think about it; we even have multiple ways of phrasing how time works against us: We “lose track of time”. Time “gets away from us”. We “run out of time”. However we phrase it, time will always win. It never stops moving, but we have to. So how can we turn time to our advantage in business?
Three ways to make time work for us:
- Don’t self impose crushing deadlines. Just because your standard turn-around time is five business days, your customer may not necessarily need the order completed that fast. Ask the question: “What is the latest date acceptable for delivery?” You may be surprised to find out they are not in as much of a rush as you imagined. If this is the case, then you now have more TIME to devote to those customers who actually needed their order completed “YESTERDAY”.
- Don’t over-promise, over-DELIVER! Would you rather someone tell you they can complete a job in 3 days, and then take 5 days to complete it… or would you rather them tell you they can have it done in 5 days but come back with it complete in 3? YOU know how long your work takes (or you should!) Over- promising is the act of voluntarily placing a time constraint on yourself. When possible, UNDER-promise and OVER-deliver. It will take time pressure off of you, and impress your customer with how you beat your own deadline!
- Stay Sharp! Everyone needs to take time to organize, plan, strategize and compile their work. Just because you are “working hard” or “staying busy” does not mean you are being effective. Take a few minutes each morning to “sharpen” your mind for the day ahead. Take those few minutes to plan out details, think of new ways of doing things, or just to charge-up mentally for the day. Abraham Lincoln in a famous quote once said “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Wise words!