How to stop the faff

How to stop the faff

and make more money

So often I hear women complain they don’t have enough time to get everything done. They blame this lack of time for why they’re not making the big bucks.

Well, believe me sisters, I understand how you feel.

Often, life feels like one giant rush from one household task to another. In truth, sitting down at my desk is the most relaxing part of my day.

But, as family and personal commitments erode our working time, how can we be sure we’re getting the most out of the few short hours we have in the office? And how can we make those hours as profitable as possible.

Here are a few simple time management tips that have helped me squeeze a little more juice from my day:

Tip 1: Ask yourself tough questions

As a business owner, you need to know the answers to the following questions:

  • How many hours do you have to work a week?
  • What percentage of your time is actually billable?
  • What is your hourly rate?
  • Based on your billable hours what are you making each week?

If you’re struggling to answer these questions, you have a problem.

Most likely, you’re in business to make money, and to make money you must keep track of your time.

Tip 2: Set firm working hours

Make a clear division between your working and non-working time and stick to it. Yes, we all envisaged working for ourselves would mean days in coffee shops, flicking through magazines. But the truth is, if you want to make money, you need your bum on your office seat for a set number of hours each week.

Tip 3: Decide an hourly rate

Set a value on each hour of your time. There are lots of tools online that will help you work out how much you need to earn, based on outgoings, etc. (Of course, you can ignore these and decide to charge what you want.) Divide the weekly amount by your hours and, voila, that’s your hourly rate – or is it?

Tip 4: Track your billable time

Let’s be clear: all working time is not billable time. In my experience, very few business owners keep track of their time, perhaps because timesheets remind us of working for ‘the man’. But timesheets are your friend. Tools like Toggl help you track individual projects and see billable versus non-billable time.

After a few weeks of tracking, I was shocked to discover that only 50% of my time was actually earning me money.
Now I’ve pushed this up to 70% by setting myself some simple rules.

Tip 5: Stop marketing for the heck of it

Yes, it’s fun to chat on forums and Facebook groups, but are these people your potential customers? It’s enjoyable to write blogs and create memes, but are you marketing for profit or just for the heck of it?

As an SEO type, people often ask me how much time they need each week to tackle SEO. My answer is always that they’re probably spending enough time already; they’re just spending it on the wrong thing.

It’s simple – every marketing action needs a goal.

Tip 6: Set up processes

Take a day out to look at your business and identify tasks that happen repeatedly. Then set up document templates and email templates, and write up your process from client contact to project completion.

Not only does this help you manage your clients (and avoid confusion/issues), it means you’ll know what you need to do at each step of the way.

Tip 7: Stop the chat

Try to have any client meetings via Skype or on the phone, and if you do have a face-to-face chat, bill your client for the travel time. Limit Skypes and phone calls to fifteen minutes when you can. Endless client chats are one of the biggest time and profit killers I know.

Of course, there are heaps of other ways to save time and stop the faff. But the longer I make this article, the more time you’ll spend reading.

So stop reading now – and go and make some serious moolah!!

Did you like this post?

You might like my book ‘Confessions of a Misfit Entrepreneur | How to succeed despite yourself’ – buy it online here.




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  • Kevin Peter

    They tend to identify things that truly matters, are always prepared to make some sacrifices anf fundamental changes. The best part I admire is, they learn to understand themselves, handle distractions, and figure out what they want in life.

  • Cathy Topping

    But without all the faffing…when would the dishes get done?? I ebb and flow with being firm about my productivity and hours, and you’ve definitely hit the mark with these. I’ve heard of Toggl before, but haven’t actually tried it…so I might give it a go.

    • Yes I’m in a non firm period at the moment. You can only drive yourself so hard for so long. And as creative people – faffing time can often be excused as thinking time:-)

  • Notje Faried Tuasikal

    well, we are always stuck in doing our job, not even a painting artist. I am also faffing when preparing what to present in my classroom. I found it difficult coping with it very often but then I get used to it. In my opinion is that the more we are troubled the smarter we get, and let’s enjoy it.

    • ‘The more we are troubled the smarter we get’ love that @notjefariedtuasikal:disqus!! Thanks for reading

  • John Stericker

    Agreed a thorough timesheet is a really good way to keep track. I’ve been using a timesheet for 5 years, and amazing how much time is spent on “meetings” and “emails” 🙂 Setting aside dedicated times to check emails, “faff” etc is great as well.

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