Do you really know how you spend your time? You might think you’re super strategic and only focused on the highest ROI activities, but my guess is that that’s not always the case. The only way to find out, though, is to track it.
Just like reviewing your numbers provides greater insight into your business, so does a time study. Are you investing your resources (time, in this case) to the highest leveraged tasks or is there a better way to spend those resources? What is helping to grow your business, your revenue, your authority, compared to what is just occupying space on your packed calendar?
This whole time study project started for two reasons.
First, I wanted to see how much time I was spending every week on authority building activities like networking, podcast guesting, writing guest posts or speaking proposals, preparing for and presenting webinars, etc. In the course of three weeks, I found myself presenting three different webinars to three different audiences. I genuinely feel like each opportunity was totally worth it, but I wanted to do the math (always a CFO at heart!).
Second, I was feeling the crunch of a full calendar. I had little open space to work on bigger projects or do deeper brain work because my calendar was overtaken by meetings. And with a reduced workweek (I have childcare about 24 hours a week), I was feeling especially crunched.
So I looked back at my calendar for the previous six weeks to categorize and assess exactly where my time was going.
Here’s the breakdown.
I spend about 40% of my time on 1:1 phone calls with CFO and coaching clients, another 40% on actually doing work like emails and client projects, and 20% on everything else, including leading my team and building authority.
Frankly, I wasn’t surprised by the outcome, but this analysis meant instant clarity on why I was feeling crunched. Spending about 10 hours a week attached to a headset is a lot.
Just like analyzing your financials is worthless unless you’re going to use the information to make informed, strategic decisions, this time study was pointless unless I’m actually going to do something about it.
One hurdle that I have is that I don’t have full control over timing of client meetings. If I’m presenting the financials at a client’s board meeting, I can’t exactly ask them to switch a meeting date that was meticulously planned back in January by 15 people with wildly different schedules. I need to be flexible.
(Some of you might jump in and tell me that this is why service-businesses suck and you might be right. However, I love my business model and my clients so I’m willing to be flexible!)
Here’s what I’m going to do to adjust my calendar and provide myself more space:
- I will batch all of my non-CFO client calls – coaching clients, prospects, and networking meetings – into one day a week. It will require a bit of fancy footwork in Acuity to ensure that all of my scheduling links are set up properly, but this will hopefully give me the space I’ve been needing.
- I will block one day a week and never (or at least almost never!) schedule anything for that day (Wednesday, I’m looking at you!). I’ll have an entire 8-9 hours to deep dive into a client or marketing project and make real headway, rather than breaking up tasks into 30-60 minute chunks throughout the week.
- I will stick to my non-negotiable: no meetings before 12pm. The morning is my most productive time and if I fill up every minute with meetings, I know that the rest of my day is shot in terms of productivity. I’ll bounce from email to email, task to task, without focus, and end my day feeling completely unproductive and drained. Been there, done that.
- I will schedule fun and rest into my calendar. I am an Enneagram 3, The Achiever, which means that I constantly feel the pull to be checking things off the list or accomplishing something, even as small as switching the laundry around. I feel this most intensely during downtime with my daughter at home. After a while of coloring, playing, or reading books, I feel the pull to be doing something “productive” and multitasking while she plays independently. Sometimes this is necessary (e.g. cooking dinner) but other times there’s nothing I desperately need to be doing during that time, AND having all that time with her is exactly WHY I own a business! What will help me is blocking off Mama/Kyla time into my calendar so that being present with her IS my accomplishment.
What do you think? How do you spend your workweek? Do you feel like you’re getting the highest ROI on your most precious resource, time? Or are there more effective ways that you can use your time?
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