As an accountant, you are no doubt aware that time is very much money. Without the right balance of time and efficiency, how can you make the kind of progress needed to run a profitable business?
If you are someone who struggles with the concept of time management, we have some decent but very effective plans that you can follow along with if you need to. Done right, this could make a huge difference to the kind of output that you can produce as a business, and ensure you are more likely to stay on-point with regards to time management.
So, what are some of the most useful tips that you can put in place to stop wasting time and seeing more progress on a day-to-day basis?
First off, it pays to realize that the concept of time management is actually quite an obscure concept. No matter how much you prepare and get things in place, you are still limited by the length of the day and the average time that it takes to complete a task. Rush, and you will make it worse.
Instead, realize that you can only manage yourself as best you can and that there is no real way to simply make everything faster. You cannot find a 25th hour, nor can you make something that should take twenty minutes take just fifteen and not see a small drop-off in quality. Quality takes time.
To correct this problem, you have to pinpoint the problem of where time is being wasted. While certain tasks will always need a certain length of time, some tasks can be made more efficient without damaging the end product. From reducing the time that you spend surfing social media to spending less time in informal calls with customers talking about non-business stuff, you have to find out where the problems stem from in the first place.
Start by tracking all of your daily activities. You should be able to get an idea of how much time you should be spending on each task, and how long you spend on a daily basis not doing what you should be. From combing accounts to overseeing business plans, how much time in the office do you waste doing something that could really have waited until later on tonight? Where do you lose time?
Once you pinpoint where the time management problems begin, you can start to work around the issues. Start by setting short-term, actionable gals for each day. Each day should work towards accomplishing a week-long goal, with every task aimed at making small but significant progress to this end. Then, set monthly-long goals and longer-term goals, with every day built towards slowly making progress on this. Goal-oriented thinking often leads to much better results than beforehand.
Invest in some time management tools, too. These kind of tools often play a significant role in the kind of progress that you can make, and help you to stay more alert as to when and where time could have been better spent. From making sure you have something on you to help you stay more in command of your time spent, the more you can slowly work on and gradually improve the time that it takes.
Don’t try and rush other parts of the day because something took longer than expected. When we get flustered due to something taking too long, we often make some pretty critical mistakes along the way. This is detrimental to your progress, and we recommend that you try and keep in the standard timeframe for all other jobs even when something takes long. If you start skimming over books instead of reading them clearly for clients, for example, the mistakes you make might be much costlier than the 5 minutes you saved.
Build a clear plan for every day that places every task into a hierarchical structure. If you do this, then you are much more likely to get through the day. If you have 5 tasks to handle in the morning, handle the hardest ones first. Smaller problems are easier to fix; when you are about to finish for the morning and your hardest job throws up a new error, it’ll cost you more time. Always start on the big jobs; it’s easier to finish the day on a light task!
Stop seeing the idea of outsourcing a need in your business as money wasted. What is wasted is trying to use your own time to do a job you have no professional basis for taking on. If you want to avoid that issue, then you should look to either delegate to other members of the team or invest in a freelancer to help you out on a temporary basis. This is very useful for helping you to find the time to do another needed task, or to avoid wasting hours taking on a task that you are not suited to.
With this in mind, you should hopefully be more prepared to handle the challenges that lie in wait for you as time goes on. It can be very hard to get this kind of time management done right, but as an accountant you’ll benefit hugely from doing so.
So, if you feel like your working day could do with being a touch smoother, it might be time to invest in the right kind of help, courtesy of the above ideas.