Take control of time
Time pressure is a beast you can tame, says Mark Lee
Whenever I ask accountants about their biggest practical challenge, most tell me it’s time pressure. Too much to do, too many interruptions and far too many emails. There isn’t even time to think about how to reduce time pressures – unless you count reading this article of course!
If that’s how you feel then the good news is that you’re not alone. And the even better news is that you can take back control and reduce that feeling of being overwhelmed.
I’ve learned that everyone is different and it’s fascinating to see how each and every sole practitioner organises their practice in different ways. Yes, of course software developments in recent years have helped some sole practitioners to become better organised and even to have tidier offices. Beyond this though, everyone develops their own ways of working.
A key opening question
How often do you take time out to consider how efficient you are? You’re probably aware that you have some ‘bad’ habits but you’re not sure how to change things, so you carry on doing things the way you have always done them.
And yet still you struggle with time pressures. You know some of the theory about time management, such as that you cannot ‘manage time’, you can only manage yourself. But client work, emails and interruptions stymie even your best efforts – and other times you know you are simply procrastinating and putting off the stuff you don’t really want to do.
Six big time secrets
Last year, I summarised the key time management tips that make the most difference into a report that explains six big secrets that enable accountants to take control of their time.
I know these make a difference because accountants I have worked with before have told me so. They made one or two simple changes and now feel that life is easier, less stressed and that they are now more productive and on top of things.
I have summarised the first of the six time secrets below and invite you to get your free copy of the short report. This explains the rationale for each one and contains many tips on what you can do to change things around.
Top three things
This idea is quite simple and it works! Before leaving your office each evening, make a list of the top three things you want to do the next morning. Then, when you come in to start work, do the first item on your list BEFORE you start looking at your emails and allowing yourself to be distracted by something that may not be as important.
Adopting this idea and the other five time secrets in my report will mean the difference between you continuing to struggle month to month, with not enough to show for all the time and effort you put into your practice; and enjoying your work and increasing your profits and freeing up unproductive time.
- Mark Lee is a speaker, mentor and debunker. ICPA members can access his
‘6 time secrets’ report, for no charge, at www.bookmarklee.co.uk/time
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