Comment: Time to do things differently

25 January 2017

Time is the one essential commodity we can never store, own or retrieve, but this shouldn’t be seen as a negative, least of all by a professional.

One of the most common excuses we hear in business is “I haven’t got time”. Nobody has time in truth, yet some people seem to get more done in less time. Can it really just be a question of prioritising?

Prioritise your emails

We can always be more efficient I suspect. Many of us are often side-tracked; I know I am. But think about the modern bug bare of the number of email a business person gets each day and it’s amazing how just a few time-saving steps can make an inbox so much easier to deal with.

Delete or ‘junk’ the advertising emails. Scan the rest, and set about responding to those which need a quick response. Don’t just respond so to be part of the stream. By all means send a note confirming receipt if appropriate but otherwise file them in well-labelled folders.

Prioritise your life

The same idea applies to your personal life. Prioritise the people that matter to you and don’t neglect them. Their support will ensure a better business life too.

Managing time isn’t merely a question of prioritisation, however. It’s also about being prepared to do things differently and this is where so-called Millennials excel. They want a good work life balance immediately, not the 9 to 5 rat race with a regular pay check and the ‘gold-watch’ at 60 or 65. They give a damn about what they do today, because they know it affects their tomorrow. They are, in general, much more savvy about a whole raft of things, including multitasking and being flexible and transparent, not just modern technology, and they thrive on change.

Be open to change

Those of us who are of the Baby boomer generation should take note. I was asked yesterday, what my pet peeve in business was, specifically relating to business development. A lot of issues came to mind, then I realised it boiled down to the tendency of many people to refuse to consider alternative options because “we’ve always done it this way”.

Don’t get me wrong. I do believe a tried and tested model should not change just because there is another option. But there is too often a reluctance to even consider alternatives, because they’re different or a potential change from the present method.

No person and no business progressed by standing still, doing the same thing every day, week and year. This is true of any industry. If a farmer worked today the way they did 50 years ago, they would not be sustainable. Even modern industries, like software, evolve and adapt and prioritise their processes to continue to be successful. If they don’t, they flounder.

So how can we make the most of our time and open ourselves up to change? The answer, I believe, lies in considering how best to prioritise the precious moments we have each day. Always listen to others, regardless of their experience or age. If you are receptive, you will not only learn things to assist you in your daily tasks, you will be enriched too.

Graeme Gordon is Executive Director of Praxity Global Alliance, the world’s largest alliance of independent accounting firms. This article was first published on his blog on the Praxity website