Lock-downs and other restrictions have complicated our working life even more. Many professionals now find themselves having to juggle activities that require their full attention—ranging from homeschooling to updating their practice’s operations to keep up with the digital world. You probably know many of your colleagues who feel the same way and wish they had more time!
With so many accounting professionals struggling to balance their commitments, we decided to share our top four time management tips to help you focus and increase productivity.
"If you don't pay appropriate attention to what has your attention, it will take more of your attention than it deserves." - David Allen.
Tip 1 - Setting expectations
Managing your time bank requires you to set expectations to master your minutes. Micah Pratt's ‘5 tips to setting expectations’ are:
- Know your limits.
- Don't over-promise.
- Explain potential obstacles.
- Choose flexible deadlines.
- Maintain open communication.
At this point, some of you might be giving this blog an eye roll. Maybe you think it's impossible to set realistic expectations because so many individuals expect so much of you.
Here's the secret. You can learn to say No to protect your time bank.
Tip 2 - How to say no
Saying a flat out No can feel awkward. But here's the trick, it's all in the delivery of your response and your ability to be confident and compassionate. These scripted responses have worked proven effective for many professionals over the years:
Five Effective ways to say No:
1- That's a great idea, but not a fit for our organisation
2- Your idea sounds interesting. It would be better suited for…
3- Thanks for connecting with me with your offer. At present we don't' have a need for such but will keep you in mind
4- I really admire your cause. Right now, I'm already committed to another initiative
5- Have you thought about using this approach to solve your problem?
Tip 3 - Effective Time Blocking
Time isn't a renewable resource. Once time is spent, it is gone! You can always make more money, but you can't create more time!
Treat time like money, and with a time bank of only 24 hours a day, you are on a budget! Consciously exchange time for moments that matter. Your power to choose is how you will accomplish your goals, feel productive and discover peace and happiness.
“If you focus on one thing at the one time, you could be achieving the exact same output but leave the office at about 2.30pm in the afternoon,” - Amantha Imber, Inventium.
How are you going to use your time budget today?
Before you start spending, it helps to have a time strategy in place. One strategy is goal setting; it can help determine your focus and who gets part of your time budget.
If you are new to goal setting, you can establish three short term SMART goals to get started.
Some examples of SMART goals are:
- Acquire 10 new clients in the next six months with recurring revenue of $500 per month
- Block four hours in my calendar to implement Practice Ignition by March 31st
- Develop a client workflow template by April 30th to implement Xero Practice Management by May 31st
>> If you need assistance implementing Practice Ignition, talk to our experts, we are here to help. Book a 1:1 meeting today.
Now that your SMART goals are set, the next step is to block time in your calendar using a proactive rather than reactive approach. Here are our suggested five steps to book time in your calendar:
- Create short term goals every three months.
- Create actionable tasks to work towards accomplishing your goals and workflow tasks in your practice management system.
- Document, train and delegate work to employees when a task doesn't align with your goal or workflow.
- Block non-negotiable time in your calendar to focus on your goals. Create a calendar meeting with yourself for workflow items and big thinking projects such as software conversions or onboarding a new client.
- Celebrate your wins! For example, book a self-care day in your calendar and let your team, clients and family know in advance so you can sit back and enjoy your accomplishment.
Tip 4 - Make the most of technology
Learn to leverage technology to manage your time with these effective tips from NCVO/Knowhow, a knowledge bank dedicated to sharing good advice:
- Use a meeting scheduler to magically book your meetings like Calendly.
- Keep everyone on the same page by using a communication tool like Slack
- Use a project management app that is easy to use. For us we love Xero Practice Manager!
- Leverage your mobile device to finalise tasks and effectively communicate.
Technology should play an essential role in every practice. However, many do not make it part of their strategic planning, even when it is used every day to collaborate with employees and clients.
A well-thought technology implementation should help the practice focus on data flow instead of paper. As well as eliminate chaos and deliver a pleasant experience for customers.
As you embark on your journey to mastery of time management, know that perfection is unattainable. Working on your time management skills each day will support your efforts to achieve your life goals. The results of effective time management will leave you with a sense of accomplishment and purpose in life while allowing you to spend your most valuable asset on the moments that matter to you.
How Practice Ignition can help you better manage your time
91% of our customers spend less time creating proposals and chasing signatures and payments.
Start your 14-day free trial today to start your journey to efficient time management.