4 Steps to Leverage Time and Increase Productivity
Put time back into your calendar by learning how to use leverage.
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.
What is time leverage?
Time leverage is achieving the biggest result with the least amount of effort. There are multiple strategies you can use to leverage time to increase productivity and create bigger results.
Time leverage allows you to multiply the rate at which 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.
In this post, we’ll 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 4 step process you can use to start leveraging your time so that you can maximize your productivity and focus on more high impact items each week.
1) Layout the plan.
Successful time leverage starts with giving yourself time and space to plan. Planning helps you generate a progressive mindset and provides direction and guidance to help you avoid spending time on the wrong tasks.
Start by planning out each week in advance. At the end of each week, sit down with a list of objectives you need to accomplish for the year. For this, you should be pulling from your long-term vision. Identify the big rock items you must achieve by the end of this quarter or this month to hit your year-end goals. Those goals will act as guidelines to keep you on track week by week. Then, write down a plan for what needs to get done this week.
By creating a plan, you enter your week with direction and purpose, keeping your long term goals top of mind while simultaneously identifying time leveraging opportunities.
2) 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 to use block scheduling to group similar tasks into one single 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 start to 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 that you intended to talk to them about. 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.
3) Identify who can take on additional tasks.
While delegating can be important 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 recurring tasks that happen each day or each week. Routine tasks are an excellent opportunity 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 in your list, you have to be considerate of who you would be delegating to. If a task takes a lot of time, look for ways to improve the task’s 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. At the end of the day, it’s still your name behind the task.
4) Identify a follow up or management plan.
Most people dump; they don’t delegate. If you delegate, you need to ensure the receiver of the task is 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. 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 to dig into your business, and develop a plan.