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Hi there, John Peterson from Best Practice again. Today, I’m going to talk about time management.

 (Time Management)

One of the things I believe is the biggest issue in business for business owners, including the accounting profession, in general is time management. The topic of time management has been an issue for all time, but the reality is this. We don’t take seriously enough or value nearly enough our own time. Now practitioners, accountants tell me one of their greatest frustrations and, by the way, this is from working with hundreds of you right around the country in our Best Practice Program. What you tell me is that you feel like your clients don’t actually value your time as they should.

They’ll milk you for your time. They’ll get you on the phone, they’ll ask you questions, and then you’ll regret trying to work out how to raise an invoice later. Some of these issues are fundamental to whether or not you’re going to master your own business and get above it so one day, you can turn it into investment. I want you to think about this. Think a bit differently about your time.

You’ve got to have some white space in your head every single day, preferably at the start of the day or late at night or the end of the afternoon in your office. You’ve got to have some quiet time, without the disruption of your employees or e-mail or Internet or phone, clients, where you can actually focus on what your primary objectives are for the following day. Now if you do it early in the morning, that’s a really good time, getting in 20 minutes, 30 minutes early before your team get to the office, having some quiet time, maybe a coffee shop right near your office before you get started. When you do that, you actually can reprioritize your entire day because you shut the noise out. I remember a great sporting movie where Kevin Costner, I think it was, was playing a baseball pitcher and he’s getting up to pitch and he would just say “Shut it out”.

The screaming fans everywhere and he just shut out the noise. It’s a sporting metaphor, but the reality is we need to do that as practice owners and professional services game. Because you’re always taking care of everybody else’s needs, you don’t take the discipline of shutting out the noise for yourselves. The firms that I’ve worked with, when they get this into their daily ritual, they get a really successful daily ritual of shutting out the noise, focusing on their objectives before they start the day. Then typically, you’ll get a lot more effectiveness.

You get a lot more change management into your day, more progress. What I mean by that is there’s never enough time to do everything, is there? There’s never enough time to do everything on your master list or wish list of the things you’d want to do in a day. But there is always enough time for the critical few things if you can shut out the noise and actually take the time to prioritize. That’s all for today.


I’ll see you soon.

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