We should probably start with the burning question “I’m busy, how will I find 90 minutes every day?” Our answer to that is simple. How many hours are you wasting if you don’t?
Now, don’t worry we’re certainly not going to tell you how to run your business or preach to you that we’ve got it spot on. We haven’t. We have the usual ups and downs of running and managing a business.
Some days we feel ‘on top of it’ others require a beer or G&T when we get home! But what we can tell you is we’ve learned a lot on our business journey. And one of the best tips we’ve been given – by a friend who also happens to be a business coach is: spend time on your business, not in it.
Finding time to do that can seem like a luxury, we know. But finding those 90 minutes (we do it three times a week) is something we’ve put into practice and can tell you first hand, it works. Here’s why…
- It allows you to think without interruptions. A much-underrated activity!
- You can use the time to improve your knowledge of running or managing a business – podcasts/books/blogs etc. And let’s be honest, what other time of the day could you imagine picking up a book and reading without the phone ringing or a customer/member of your team needing you?
- You get to – legitimately – postpone your ‘open door policy’ for 90 minutes. This bit’s vital to the success of taking these 90 minutes. You need uninterrupted time. Your team will understand and quickly learn the ground rules.
- You can plan your next marketing campaign and stay ahead of the game – no more last minute, rushed decisions which will undoubtedly save you money and will benefit your business by helping to fill future slots in the appointment diary. It’s often seen as an unnecessary expense, but that could be more wrong. Look out for our next blog on ‘Effective ways to market your MOT Station’.
- Brainstorm an idea that’s been lurking on a post-it note for too long. You can enlist the help of a trusted employee, the business owner if you’re the manager, your business partner – anyone whose opinion you value. But give yourselves 90 minutes only. Then act on what you decide are the better actions.
- Look at ideas and plans from your ‘fridge’. What?! Your fridge is really a notebook where you jot down ideas you may have during the day. They can be stored there, keeping fresh for as long as you like – (which is why it’s called a fridge!) – then keep checking it to see if the time is right to progress an idea.
- Use this time to see what your competitors are doing. BUT don’t go on Facebook. You’ll see the 90 minutes disappear all too quickly once you do! Check their website; their online listings on industry-specific directories; even call them to check their telephone manner and customer service. From this research decide what they’re doing well and how you can do it even better.
- If you write news articles or blogs for your website yourself, early morning is a great time to do this. It’s quiet, focussed and creative time. If you prefer to take longer than 90 minutes for an article (most of us do!), then use one session a month to plan your content for the following month, one session to research the content and then plan however many sessions you need to write them.
- Use a session to consider how you can ‘upsell’ to your existing customers. One idea, one letter or email = increased sales. It’s often the single most effective form of marketing you could ever do. You have the customer already. They trust you and like you. If you recommend another service or product to them, there’s an increased chance they’ll take you up on it. We’ll cover this more in the blog we mentioned ‘Effective ways to market your MOT Station’.
We could probably list many more ways to get the most from your 90 minutes. But these are intended as triggers for you. No doubt you’ll be able to draw up your own list of how you can make the most of this time. What’s important is that you give yourself that time.
When you don’t dedicate time to at the start of the day
Why 90 minutes and why in the morning? We asked that too when we started. It seems that’s the ‘the sweet spot’. Research has proven that mornings are when we have the most energy and willpower to get things done. Being productive relies on us being in step with our body’s natural rhythm because, throughout each day, there will be peaks and troughs of energy.
The morning is when most people feel the highest energy levels and can tackle tasks like the ones we’ve listed. If you use that 90 minutes at the start of the day to do menial or repetitious tasks, you’re wasting the power your brain has at that time.
However, you may know for sure that you’re at your best at a different time. That’s okay! Just take your 90 minutes then. But research has shown that even when we think we prefer to be night owls, the morning is when our mind is most alert and active. So maybe conduct your own research and try both for a month each. See when you’re really doing your best work!
Remember too that it doesn’t have to be every day. Start by trying it three days a week. We reckon you’ll quickly see the difference it makes and stretch that to five when you can.
Can this system actually save me time?
So, are you still thinking “How has that saved me time?” That answer’s simple too. If you look objectively at the list above we’re willing to bet that if you tried tackling any one of those during the day, it would take you twice, three – even four times as long. And each of the activities we’ve listed will drive your business forward. You’ll be taking actions that will ensure the future success of your business.
And one last piece of advice that we’ve found works – never go home without deciding how you will spend your 90 minutes the next day. These 90 minutes must be planned and structured. Have a clear idea about what you want to achieve.
Give it a try; we think you’ll be surprised at how effective this can be at driving your business forward. We were!