Do you constantly feel like you’re rushing through your days, jumping between last minute meetings and urgent emails only to realise by the end of the day that you haven’t even started on the work you were meant to be doing?
Maybe, it doesn’t seem to matter how hard you try, you keep finding yourself working on a pitch or order at 10pm for the next day?
Mastering your priorities is a must for busy business owners. Especially when you are juggling so many balls in the air, trying to focus and determine what needs doing first, it can be even harder to figure out the most efficient use of your time.
It’s a common issue for a lot of business owners and entrepreneurs, but there is a tool you can use to help you claim back your time.
The Urgent Vs Important Matrix
The matrix is key to learning what you can and should push back on. It’s probably the most effective time management tool out there and can really help you to understand your business needs.
By following these easy steps, you should be able to master the matrix and gain back some control.
Step 1: Learning where you spend your time
Write down a thorough list of everything that you do over the course of a week. If you can include rough estimates of the amount of time you spend doing this as well that would be beneficial.
Step 2: Gain an understanding of the matrix
The matrix works using four quadrants. You can use these quadrants to classify your daily tasks and activities using the two parameters: level of urgency and level of importance.
Here are some example activities placed into the matrix to give you an idea of how to start.
The four quadrants are:
These are the tasks that you should prioritise first. They are not only urgent but important and will form the core tasks of your business. This quadrant should include crises that need your immediate attention and projects with a deadline looming.
Tasks here include forward planning, building relationships with your customers, exploring new opportunities. These are tasks that will help your business grow and should have your attention and focus. Blocking time out in your diary for these tasks will ensure they are addressed as needed.
These are often your daily tasks such as answering emails, calls, updating your social media for your business. Whilst they need attention, they don’t necessarily have to be done by you. They are often interruptions to other tasks. You can delegate or outsource these tasks if you are finding them difficult to fit in.
Not Important/Not Urgent
These are tasks many of use to procrastinate and actually hold little or no value to our business. They’re great for distraction, but ideally you shouldn’t be spending any of your working day on these… or keep it to an absolute minimum if you do.
Step 3: Optimising the matrix
To optimise this matrix, it’s best to evaluate just how much time you are spending in each quadrant. Many of us spend most of our time on Urgent/Non-Important tasks because we believe we need to deal with these issues as they arise. The reality is that a good business will spend approximately 80% of their time in the Not Urgent/Important quadrant. These are the tasks that will help your business grow and earn you money. They are core to your business, they’re not firefighting tasks but genuine development.
Make a list of tasks that are not contributing to your business priorities but still need to be done, if you can find the most efficient way to do this then you are on to a winner. Outsourcing and or delegation are often the best options.
Many don’t see the value in outsourcing, but there is a really easy way to determine if this is the right approach for you. Sit down and think about how much time you spend doing each task, then look at how much it will cost to outsource. A Virtual Assistant charges between £27 and £35 an hour usually.
If you spend 2 hours a day replying to emails, booking travel, organising meetings, posting to social media, the cost would be approximately £50 per day.
Then think about your charge rates, how much extra income could you gain by having those extra two hours a day? As long as it is more than the cost of outsourcing, you’ve found your answer!
If you’d like to discover more about the services I offer as a Virtual Assistant and how I can support you in taking your business to the next level you can find out what I offer here