We all have the same number of hours in a week, so why do some people seem to get more done?
It’s easy to assume that productive people work harder, but that’s not necessarily true. The most productive leaders have learned to work smarter. Being productive while managing your time and priorities is key to running a successful business, department, or team. But there is only so much you can do on your own. The secret to accomplishing more throughout the week is by learning how to leverage your time.
Leverage allows you to multiply your time by simply adding a little force. Getting better at using leverage will allow you to expand past your current capacity without being stressed or overworked.
You can also always take advantage of productivity advising to streamline your processes.
What Is Time Leverage?
Time leverage achieves the most significant result with the least effort. There are multiple strategies you can use to leverage time to increase productivity and create more prominent results.
Time leverage allows you to multiply the rate you can get things done. A key component of time leverage is delegation. You can also leverage time by hiring a new employee, building a system or process, automating a process with technology, outsourcing, and utilizing downtime.
This post will primarily focus on how you can leverage your time through delegation. Delegation is the art of asking for help. By empowering others to help you pursue your goals, you will realize the greatest return on leverage. No matter how great you are, having others help you will get you to the results. Think about rowing a boat; can you do it on your own? Sure, but if you had a few others rowing as a team, you could get much further. If you can’t delegate effectively, you can never expand work beyond your capabilities.
Mastering time leverage will allow you to be exponentially productive. Here is a 5-step process you can use to start leveraging your time to maximize your productivity and focus on more high-impact items each week.
How to Use Time Leverage to Increase Productivity
As long as you keep the following time leverage tips into consideration, you’ll be able to excel at time management and reduce unnecessary activities.
1) Set Goals with Specific Deadlines
There are only so many hours in a day, and setting goals can help you leverage your time to the fullest. But be mindful that there’s a right and wrong way to set goals. In order to cut back on wasted time, you’ll want to ensure that your goals are measurable and are accompanied by a deadline. Measurable results that are held against specific deadlines allow you to work more effectively and efficiently. This will help your brain focus on the direct path toward success.
2) Determine Clear Results
Determining exactly what your results will be is a fundamental strategy in leveraging your time to help you stay focused. Be as specific as possible about the results you want to achieve and clearly define the steps you need to achieve and track your progress. Being clear about the results that you want to achieve helps to drive productivity. This tactic also helps you focus on your main priorities so you don’t spend time procrastinating and using your time in other areas.
3) Identify Opportunities to Leverage
As you plot out your week, look for opportunities to save time. Here are a few examples of ways you can save time every week without delegation.
- Work on similar tasks in blocks. A simple trick to staying productive is using block scheduling to group similar tasks into one batch throughout the week. For example, instead of emailing prospects randomly throughout the week, schedule a 2-hour block twice a week to focus on business development. By grouping similar tasks together, you can develop a groove and work faster and more efficiently.
- Take advantage of your commute. Leverage time on your commute by scheduling calls to be completed during that time.
- Use meetings to address multiple topics. If you are meeting with someone, use that time to cover additional topics you intended to discuss. This will help you save time by eliminating the need to schedule another meeting or going back and forth over email.
- Utilize technology. There are several apps or software you can use to save time. For example, you can use a calendar app that sends reminders for upcoming events to eliminate the time needed for follow-up. Or you can use project management software to keep track of where your team is on a project.
4) Identify Who Can Take on Additional Tasks
While delegating can be significant and save you time and productivity, it’s important to recognize the “why” behind what you want to delegate. Think about the tasks you’ve identified. Is there anyone on your team who would be better suited for the task?
Here are some tasks you can delegate to save time.
- Recurring Tasks: Look for frequent tasks. Routine tasks are an excellent opportunity to delegate.
- Tasks that don’t benefit you: This one can be tricky as sometimes you have to work on tasks that don’t directly benefit you. However, this is an excellent place to start looking. Think through the task and ask yourself, “Is this task my responsibility”? If the answer is “no,” you may want to consider delegating this to someone that receives the benefit of the task being done as motivation can be higher.
- Tasks you’re not great at: Practice makes perfect, but at the end of the day, we all know our strengths and weaknesses. If you aren’t great at a particular task, look to see if someone might be better at dealing with it. This may even be an opportunity to swap tasks for something you excel at. This will still save you time as the better we are at something, the quicker we tend to work through it.
- Tasks that take too much time: Before you start trying to delegate everything on your list, you must consider who you would be delegating to. If a task takes a lot of time, look for ways to improve its efficiency and speed before delegating it.
Here are some tasks you should not delegate.
- Tasks requiring your expertise: If you are the resident expert on the task, it will be a hard sell to delegate that task. If the job requires your specific expertise, that is a task you should hang onto. Look for other opportunities to delegate.
- Tasks you don’t understand: If you don’t understand a task, you need to take the time to understand it before delegating properly. It’s still your name behind the task.
5) Identify a Follow-Up or Management Plan
Here’s another time leverage concept to increase productivity. Make sure to stay focused on establishing a follow-up plan if you’re going to delegate. Most people dump, they don’t delegate. If you delegate, you need to ensure they are set up for success. There is a common disconnect between delegation and success.
When you delegate, you must set clear expectations and offer support, coaching, and follow-up. Although it is nice to have external resources and people around you who are willing to assist, you’ll need to ensure that you aren’t overwhelming them with time-consuming tasks without the right guidance and support. Holding regular check-ins or accountability meetings can help with time optimization and allow you to assess how the task is going or if additional support is needed. This will ensure effective delegation and further success.
Leveraging can allow you to work less and accomplish more, but if you’re unsure where to start, try the 26-hour challenge. Look into your calendar and find 30 minutes that you can leverage every week. If you do that all year, you’ll get 26 hours back in the next year.
If you want to learn how to save even more time to focus on higher-impact items in your business, schedule a free two-hour session with Cultivate Advisors to dig into your business and develop a plan.