Take The Activity Audit Challenge!
By Amber De La Garza
If you often find yourself thinking, ‘I don’t have enough time!’ it’s time to do an activity audit! It’s just a simple exercise to determine where your time and energy are being spent so you can reinvest your time wisely. If you execute on your findings, you’ll reap the benefit of reclaiming precious hours of your life. Challenge accepted? Here’s how to get started:
Set aside one hour to look back at your last 30 days to see where you’re investing your time. Use your calendar, task list, appointment book, receipts, and notes to figure out what meetings, appointments, and events you went to, what tasks you juggled, and what projects you worked on. For each activity you did on a recurring basis or foresee yourself doing again soon, ask yourself the following three questions:
#1 Should This Activity Be Done?
If you’re in the habit of saying yes to every opportunity that comes your way and idea you dream up, you might find a gold mine of activities you can eliminate. Just because an activity served you well in the past, doesn’t mean it’s serving you well now. Consider whether each activity is providing you a return on your time and energy investment. Your goals may have changed and along with them, your products, services, revenue streams, and mindset. If the answer to whether you should keep doing an activity is no, simply commit to stop doing it. Stop attending that networking event that hasn’t provided a referral in six months. Stop sending your monthly newsletter that gets zero clicks. Reclaim that time for activities with greater potential to grow your business. If the answer is yes, ask yourself the next question:
#2 Is This Activity Being Completed As Efficiently As Possible?
Look at whether you’re doing each recurring activity you deemed necessary with utmost efficiency. Perhaps you created a spectacular system years ago but failed to periodically reevaluate it. Examine the following possibilities to determine if the activity could be completed more efficiently:
If your system involves a series of steps you do weekly, whether your system is for writing a blog article, posting to social media, or bookkeeping, eliminate the steps that are no longer needed or provide minimal payoff and you’ll save time. Every. Week.
Use technology wherever you can to reduce the time it takes to do repetitive tasks, even for activities like touching base. If you’re always on your phone and so are your past clients, text them to stay in touch. Don’t waste time with snail mail or sending emails they may never see.
Does the activity really need to be done that frequently? Would it provide the same results if done less frequently? You may find that a daily activity need only be done twice weekly and a weekly activity need only be done monthly. Reclaim those hours and minutes!
It’s 2019 which means you can automate everything from social media to email responders, and so many other tasks and processes your business depends on. Take advantage of automation technology and templates whenever it makes sense. Don’t waste time, energy, and thinking power rewriting from scratch the same email response to your clients’ questions repeatedly.
Create A Checklist
Checklists save you time because they help you not forget or lose tasks and steps, and they tell you what to do next so you don’t have to waste time figuring it out.
Once you’ve determined an activity needs to be done and you’re doing it as efficiently as possible, decide if you’re the right person to be doing it.
#3 Can This Activity Be Delegated?
If you’re doing an activity that can be done by someone else simply because you think you do it best, it would take time to teach someone else, you don’t have the funds to hire out, you’re used to doing it, or you just feel safer with your hands on everything in your business, get over yourself. Your unreasonable excuses are only hurting your potential to grow your business. To invest in your business, you must invest in others and trust them to accomplish certain tasks. When you spend an hour training someone on a task that takes you 30 minutes, you’ll never have to do that task again so you’re not wasting 30 minutes. You’ll have reclaimed those 30 minutes to work on higher-value tasks only YOU can do time and again.
So, whom should you delegate to? Your assistant, virtual assistant, associate, significant other, independent contractor such as a graphic designer, accountant, video editor, content writer, website builder, or photographer are all great choices depending on the scope of the work. Even your eight-year-old can stuff envelopes.
You’ll never have enough time to accomplish everything you want to do but you can have enough time to accomplish the high-priority activities that will grow your business and have a personal life. You just need to create more time for them by reclaiming the time you’re wasting on recurring activities that should be eliminated. Be more intentional with your time and you’ll have the time you so desperately crave for what matters most!
Find out how to STOP Screwing Your Productivity to increase your profits by downloading Top 10 Ways You’re Screwing Your Productivity
About the Contributor
Amber De La Garza is The Productivity Specialist! Amber is a sought-after coach, trainer, speaker, writer, host of the Productivity Straight Talk podcast, and creator of S.T.O.P.! The Entrepreneur’s Success Solution. She helps driven real estate professionals execute actionable solutions to maximize profits, reduce stress, and make time for what matters most!