Though I only recently began using the term, “audit your time,” I’ve been encouraging my clients to do just that for several years. A few years ago, a CPA client told me it led to the biggest improvement she’d made to her practice in many years. Here are the steps I recommend:
1. Monitor your time for 1-2 weeks, recording everything you do.
2. Sort your activities as follows:
- Which of these activities can or should you and you alone do?
- Which of these activities do you love to do?
- What can you delegate to others?
- What activities can you simply stop doing?
3. Keep the activities you can/should do yourself and the activities you love to do. In this way, you’ll be making the best use of your time. You’ll also be making your best contributions and maximizing your work satisfaction, because you’ll be using your Highest Talents™.
4. Plan and prioritize the work you keep:
- Prioritize your current work,
- Identify the frequency of your recurring activities, i.e. daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly,
- Plan your current and recurring work,
- Implement your plan.
5. Delegate the activities that can be delegated. For more information about how to delegate masterfully, go to Successful Delegation: Why it Matters and How to do it.
- Delegate to get the work done,
- Delegate to utilize the talent and knowledge on your team,
- Delegate to develop the talent and knowledge on your team,
- Effectively supervise, but don’t micro-manage, the work you delegate, to help your team grow, make their best contributions and maximize their work satisfaction, using their Highest Talents™.
6. Stop doing things, whether in your professional or personal life, that simply don’t need to be done and you don’t enjoy doing. Or do some things less. You might think there are none, but I assure you, there are. I recently committed to limiting my time watching the news. I don’t want to stop watching, but I don’t need to watch more than 30-60 minutes a day, because it’s repetitive and too often dismal. I only need to watch enough to stay informed. That leaves extra time for work, family, hiking or all of the above. What can you stop doing? Or do less of?
Auditing your time is the first step to using your time more effectively. First, it will help you become aware of how you’re using your time. Then it will help you become more productive and enjoy your work and life more, both professionally and personally. If you help and encourage your staff to audit their time as well, your team will increase its productivity, satisfaction and profitability.