For several years now, I have shared some of my favorite growth and leadership tools with our Inc. readers. Things like the 1-page action plan. Tools that can help you gain focus and clarity on the things that make the most difference in your business and help you grow even faster. Today, I wanted to share with you something that I did just this week with my own executive team. And I encourage all my business coaching clients to do it at least every quarter.
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The concept is a simple but powerful one. Everything that you do within your business falls into one of four categories:
D Time: Otherwise known as DON’T DO and DELEGATE
This is the stuff that you generally don’t want to do and it doesn’t create much value for your business. Things like paying bills, sorting mail, 99 percent of the email in your inbox, filing documents, and setting up your calendar or meetings. Sure, it needs to be done, but there is no reason that it needs to be done by you, the business owner.
Anything that is identified as a D activity should be delegated to your assistant or someone else on your team whenever possible. What had formerly been your D time will now become your assistant’s A time.
C Time: The leveraged 20 percent that produces 80 percent of your results.
There is value in the C time. It could be actual billable work, holding team or group meetings, updating your master to-do list, or sending out emails and updates to your executive team. These tasks are important and fuel your growth, but can often take up a fair amount of your time.
B Time: The highly focused 4 percent “sweet spot” that generates 64 percent of your results. Otherwise known as a BETTER use of your time.
These tasks are usually a great use of your time and something that you should dedicate time to do each week. They could include meeting with key clients, coaching your management team, reviewing your quarterly action plan to see how you are progressing, and putting together systems and controls to make a task or process easier or more efficient.
A Time: The magic 1 percent that generates more than 50 percent of your total results.
This is where the magic happens. Many business owners know what constitutes an A level activity instinctively. Things like making executive-level hiring decisions, setting up key joint venture partners, and making strategic decisions that set the direction of the business. But many are so caught up in their D, C, and B-level activities that they rarely have time for the A tasks.
After you have identified the tasks that fill your week, be they A, B, C, or D, you should have a clear idea of how much time is spent in each area. The key to pulling it all together lies in the execution. Start by delegating the D tasks to your assistant or another team member. Did you free up 30 minutes a day? An hour? More? Now take that time and spend it on A level tasks. Every quarter, do the exercise again. If you are like most business owners, you will begin to realize that some of your C-level tasks may have become D-level tasks over time. So delegate those out, and reallocate that time to the A block that you established in the previous quarter…and rinse and repeat.
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