illustration by Olga Nesnova from Icons8
‘Time’ is the most undervalued currency
The article title is more than just a philosophical statement.
Unlike most variables in your personal and professional life, time is a commodity that is continuously within your grasp yet slipping away and zapping your energy reserves one hour at a time.
This makes us a slave to the clock rather than trying to master it.
From a new accountant to a practice manager, everyone has the same amount of time on their hands each day.
Wouldn't you like to be able to find “more time in the day” to get things done?….and that's where the premise of Ukus’ time management for accountants system can make a difference for accountants and their time. Creating time for accountants.
The differentiator for success in a world where excellent time management resources are available, one can be hard pushed to find one that's better for accountants than Uku.
Time management is a skill that will enable everyone to achieve more each day.
It aims to not only give you more time for yourself but to attain a high-level performance, build relationships with others, achieve better job satisfaction and improve your holistic wellbeing.
Assessing your time management
Altering your lifestyle to support your goals and aspirations is not easy. Still, our time-management tips may be easier to adopt than you would initially believe.
1# Face the challenge
Before you delve into time management, it's vital to evaluate your current time-related challenges prior to starting. The aim here is to identify what you are trying to achieve in the first place.
Successful businesses of all sizes are exemplary for examining what resources they have and how best to utilise them.
It's the same with your minutes - how many do you have and where do you spend them?
2# Remember it will be beneficial in the long-term
Tracking and counting your minutes may feel like a dull task now, but you'll be surprised how much time is spent on different tasks.
Plus, even ten minutes a day, you would have thought a minor amount of time can lead to hours and even days over a longer period.
When you look at the bigger picture, you realise that you could have better spent them elsewhere with these lost little minutes.
3# Track what you do
Set yourself up for a one-week mini-project. It should include a typical working week and use a time-tracking tool (like Uku’s built-in time-tracking tool).
Now begin to track your time yourself, and remember not to track any activities you would not normally do. The aim here is to measure a 'typical working week.'
Record the minute level it takes to complete each activity as you function throughout a typical day. For example (numbers are estimates):
- Showering and dressing for work: 45 minutes
- Looking for keys and packing for work: 12 minutes
- Trip to a coffee shop: 20 minutes
- Morning commute: 25+ minutes
- Lunch 60 minutes
- Checking and answering non-work email: 50 minutes
- Gym 90 minutes
- Evening commute: 25+ minutes
- Dinner: 60+ minutes
- Evening TV and social media: ?
Continue making your time management notes. Although this seems tedious, the information derived will be invaluable, and you'll be shocked once you see where your time is spent.
4# Be accurate and don't leave anything out
Don't estimate, be precise. We always estimate in our favour, and typically this means we are wide of the margin.
Remember, your goal is to accurately record where your minutes are going each day, not to make you appear like a time management wizard... if you were, you'd not be reading this article in the first place!
It is a chance for you to begin conceptualising the amount of time you have and how you choose to use it.
5# Analyse your results
Once you are confident you have enough data and categorised them, now is the time to analyse your results.
Identify your most wasteful minutes.
You will probably notice that you work less than you initially believe. You'll probably see that your typical day is full of doing routine tasks like showering and commuting.
6# Use what time you have wisely
When confronted with the notion that we don't have enough time, most of us believe it is because we are too busy. It is because we use the time we have unwisely.
Add up the minutes of the day you spend on non-essential tasks and multiply that by seven and calculate if you had that time - what could you accomplish over a month?
For example, did you say you'd like to read one book a month?
Do you promise you would see your parents more? With the time you have analysed, could either of those tasks be factored into your new schedule?
Usually, those who calculate their minutes see that they spend so much time watching TV or browsing social media. We're not saying they are not necessary. They are a great way of winding down, but if you halved that time you spent on these media channels, could you take up a new hobby or plan to take a short trip somewhere?
7# Act on your new choices
Undoubtedly by now, you have begun to realise that it is not "enough time" in your day but not using that time wisely is at fault.
When you think you don't have time to do an activity, it is because you have decided to spend that time doing something else.
Rather than multitask or attempt to work faster, the key to unlocking more time for yourself is prioritising and acting on your new choices.
A few tips the Uku team use for minimising minute loss
- Confine our use of social media to 2-3 times per day. We set a limit on those sessions.
- Disable Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter updates on our phones. Use these channels only at work and on desktop.
- Set up email schedules. We log in for 2-3 sessions per day and blaze through them. Then stop, and return to complete other tasks.
- Assess our TV watching habits and compare it to how many leisure activities we do, whether time with friends, gym, running or time with children.
- Reward ourselves for completing tasks like cleaning or completing our client tasks. Keep the rewards relevant and proportional. A day off playing video games is not a reward for mowing the lawn!
Read more about how we start our day here at Uku.
Creating more time for you
Time is your most underrated currency. What you do with it impacts not only your personal life but your business too.
When we conceived our company, we knew that a significant issue for our client base of accountants was not saving time with automation and streamlining task management. It was about creating more time and living a happier life.
We sought to raise the bar on how we work, and to do that, we wanted to find more time for ourselves and our community.
How you choose to allocate your most precious resource is a decision you make.