Time is money. Wasted time means wasted money means trouble.
The original quote of “Time is Money” came from Benjamin Franklin back in 1748. He wrote it in a manual for young men entering the business world — sound business advice 271 years ago and sound advice today.
Discovering the balance between satisfying each client but in the most time-sensitive way can be tricky. We don’t want to miss anything important or make the client feel like they are not vital to you or your business. Spending too much time on one client costs you money, especially if you are running on a value billing system. Spending too much time doing nothing costs you money as well.
Let’s break this down into three management sections; Client time, office time, and personal time.
1. Client Time management
Client time is the time you spend explicitly working on one client. This includes but not limited to any time spent;
- Accounts Payable and Receivable
- Generating Reports
- Anything else you provide for your clients
If you are working on an hourly billing system, the first and most important is to keep track of your billable hours. Sometimes we think “I will just do this quick.” and suddenly 90 minutes later you are still working on that client.
If you have switched to value billing, where you provide certain services for a fixed monthly cost, make sure you are providing the exact services promised. If your client asks more of you, be sure your clients understand there will be an “a la carte” charge for those extras. Those extras can add up quickly if you are not careful.
Regardless of how you bill your clients, finding time savings ways to provide the expected is a sure-fire way to use your time effectively. Turn to technology to find ways to save time and work more efficiently;
- Use cloud accounting software, so the numbers are always updated. Work with the numbers in real-time.
- Learn key stoke cheats for excel and google sheets. It may seem like saving just a few seconds here, and it is silly, but it adds up quickly and makes work more efficient.
- Use an app to track your time; it runs behind the scene on your computer and keeps a clock on how long you spend doing what work.
How Reach Reporting can help
Of course, we suggest using Reach Reporting 🙂 Our mission is to save you, the accountant or bookkeeper or CFO, TIME. We do that by making report generation possible in only a few mouse clicks. Those monthly, quarterly, or annual reports you spend hours building? Consider them done in a fraction of the time.
Also, we help your clients understand their finances with amazing dashboards filled with the KPI’s of their choice. They can see and understand what’s happening; therefore, they don’t need to call or email you to ask questions. They feel more in the driver’s seat instead of a back seat driver just along for the ride.
2. Office Time Management
Office time is the time you spend working in general, not on a specific client. It can include but is not limited to;
- Office meetings
- Emails and phone calls (not client-specific)
- General office/business tasks
This type of time, I believe, is the easiest to lose track of and waste.
Work with a staff in an office atmosphere
It is never our intention to chat with Kate for 30 minutes about recent events or have a meeting take three times longer than it needed too. Sometimes it just happens. Here are a few tips to get back that wasted time and turn it into savings.
- Reduce the number of meetings you hold. Send the same information by email or memo instead of a meeting. If you decide a meeting is necessary, create an agenda and STICK TO IT.
- Set an example that socializing should be reserved for lunchtime or after work. Some chatting is important for office morale, so don’t go all prison warden on the staff!
- Limit social media and time spent online. As mentioned earlier, there are apps to track your time online. If this is a problem for you or your staff, maybe check out your options.
If you are a one-man-band office, this using your time inefficiently can still be a problem. While meetings and socializing are not issues, how you plan and use your work time is critical.
- Use a calendar and block out time for specific tasks. Establish “work hours.” Within those hours set aside blocks of time for emails, phone calls, and meeting with clients. Then stick to it as close as possible.
- If possible work away from home or somewhere separated from the comings and goings of home. Where you are not going to be distracted by household things; i.e., door knocking, kids, chores, or anything else you can imagine.
- Get up from your desk and take a quick walk every 2 hours. It is beneficial for both your physical and mental health.
3. Personal Time Management
I am not one to tell others how to spend their time; the activities and hobbies make me happy and productive are not what will work for others. There are, however, things across the board we can all do to have better more productive days!
- Set aside time each day for the people you are close to and love. Just like you set reminders and follow-ups for clients, do the same for your family and friends. Send a text, call them or stop by and say hi.
- Live with a balance in all things. Refrain from overdoing anything; work, exercise, food, drink, free time, caffeine, you get the idea.
- Take time for rest. The phrase “I will sleep when I am dead” will, ironically, lead you to the grave sooner than expected. Your body and mind need time to rest and recuperate. Studies have shown that a relaxed person is more productive, happier, and healthier.
Improving efficiency and increasing productivity with clients, in the office, and in your personal life, can and will make your business run more smoothly. Implementing just a few of the above practices will make a positive difference in your workday. When you are spending less time working, yet your numbers are increasing is the exact definition of Time is Money.
Leave me a comment below with what you do to save time and be more efficient in your workday!