Everybody’s busy these days. And CPAs might be even busier than most, especially for some at this time of year. After all, it is what they call “busy season.”
I regularly hear a lot of people say “I don’t have time” or “there’s just not enough time in the day.” I even say it myself sometimes. We all know the feeling. But what if you actually had some extra time? What would you do with it?
We all have that opportunity in a couple weeks. Leap Day is coming up, and it’s an extra 24 hours we don’t normally have. This year it’s a business day, so we can spend it getting caught up, working on projects we don’t normally have time for, spending extra time on important projects, getting organized … you name it. Take advantage of it whatever you choose to do.
In fairness, most of us in Indiana will lose an hour two weeks later with the switch to Daylight Savings. But that’s still a net gain of 23 hours!
While it would be great to have a Leap Day every month, there are other things we can all do to free up some extra time. First by better understanding where your time is spent, and then managing it to allow for the best use of it. Some people are already good at this and some aren’t, but it’s the kind of thing that many of us can lose sight of if we don’t pay attention to it.
Here at INCPAS, we’ve used the book, “The Effective Executive” by Peter Drucker, to improve our efficiencies. Several of us on staff are reading it this month. Chapter two, Know Thy Time, has some valuable thoughts regarding managing time. Drucker talks about the importance of consolidating discretionary time into large time blocks, because to truly be effective, you must spend significant time on things that matter the most.
He goes on to discuss the need to record time so you know where your time goes, identifying and eliminating “time-wasters,” and being able to delegate unproductive and unnecessary tasks. Too many meetings, or even meetings without purpose, are examples of culprits that consume valuable time according to Drucker.
Entrepreneur magazine recently published an article titled “How to Manage Time With 10 Tips That Work.” There’s even a cute video that goes with it. It makes the distinction between clock time (irrelevant) and real time (time you create). We’ve all probably heard most of the tips before, but it’s always good to get a refresher about something as important as how you spend time.
A few tips that jumped out to me: spend at least 50 percent of your time engaged in the thoughts, activities and conversations that lead to most of your results (similar to Drucker); use the first 30 minutes of each day to plan the day; don’t answer the phone just because it’s ringing and don’t open an email just because it pops up in your inbox; and block out social media unless it helps you generate business.
All good tips. But there’s still those 23 extra hours. So get ready to take the Leap on February 29. How will you spend your time that day?