There are plenty of things you simply can't control. You can’t control the pandemic, the economy, the weather, or the cost of hangers. But, you CAN control your time! That's the good news. How you make use of your time has the biggest impact on your success, your life, and your happiness. 

If you're wondering "how do I use my time most wisely" SMRT's Founder and CEO Bill Alber is here to share some of his most helpful tips: 

How do you get focused?

I’ve found that blocking times on my calendar is the key to creating a proactive space. I strongly recommend everyone block non-negotiable “power hours” three times a week where you focus solely on being productive. 

Here are the rules I encourage people to follow when setting power hours: 

  • First, despite the name, I recommend scheduling them for 90 minutes, not an hour. 90 minutes is the magical number you can pay attention to any single task, without having to take a break.
  • Choose a time that fits your power zone. 
  • ‘Non-negotiable’ means exactly that: you must do it. Learn to say “no” nicely to requests and interruptions such as meetings, calls from vendors, or last-minute requests.
  • Prepare everything – whatever you need to crush it– ahead of these power hours. This time isn’t about looking busy, it’s about true, nose-to-the-grindstone getting things done.
  • Announce this time and tell everyone about it, to ensure you do not get off-track. Soon, who knows – others might follow suit.

You will see real results quickly if you stick to this at least three times per week.

Do you plan ahead? 

I had a terrible lawyer who had a great quote: “Pick the targets that you can hit and hit the targets that you pick.” He never did that himself, but the saying has proven a good mantra for me over the years. 

That said, hitting your target requires identifying the right targets. That makes strategic planning important. I recommend designing a plan that you revisit and refine often.

What should this strategic plan include?

Things like: 

  • The top 10 things impacting your business. The who, what, where, and why that you need to be successful.
  • A short summary of the things that are affecting your business.
  • Trends and evolving market opportunities. Think about the perfect customers that would be open to your latest product or offer and test it with a call.
  • Competition. What does the competitive landscape look like? Are you prepared to respond to the opportunity?
  • Know yourself: Think about your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, and where you might need help. 

How do you follow through with your plans?

A smaller, more specified tactical plan or list helps keep me on track. It shows what each day looks like, unlike the strategic plan, which focuses on overall goals. It really breaks down the actions required to hit my goals by the end of the week.

Here’s a nuanced example of a tactical plan:

  • Review the lost customer list and reach out to several of them.
  • Walk through your plant and inspect your pressing pads.
  • Ask employees how they are feeling.
  • Look carefully and know the state of your business. Seeing is a powerful thing.

The point is, if you can get really crisp insights, you can begin to be a better boss and owner. Not only will that give you more peace of mind, it’ll also make you much more consistent, which is what leaders need to be steady, kind, and focused.

Any other advice? 

It's all about balance!

I’ve met owners who are real go-getters and never quit. They might not even know what's being hunted, but they hunt so relentlessly, tangible results are reached. Almost like sharks, they are always swimming.

While this is great, not taking the time to forecast results usually hinders the process later. For that reason, plans tend to boom-and-bust.

Conversely, I’ve seen other owners who are master planners. They can tell you everything about their business, the market, and latest trends. They know when to capitalize on something and when to cut their losses, but they don’t know when to pick up the phone and talk with their customers.

In my opinion, the best owners make a commitment to trying something new every day in order to further improve their work ethic. Continuously proving they have the grit it takes to be a great manager, yet also being strategic when it comes to the business and its resources. 

Using SMRT System's business management platform, start taking control of your time today!