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How To Spend More Time On What Matters For Your Business

Make your own schedule before someone does it for you.

Nir Bashan headshot
Insider
Nir Bashan
A hand inserts a clock into a piggy bank like a coin – spending time.

I have been in business my whole life. I started working when I was 9 years old, going door to door offering car wash services in Los Angeles during the 80s. It was rough to say the least. I got stiffed a few times, got paid in a handful of quarters once and got plenty of doors shut in my face. Yet I never forgot one of the most important things I have ever learned in those formative years:

How much of your day to day actually goes into making money, and how much is spent wasting time?

It’s simply a staggering fact: Most businesses today spend far more time on things that do not directly bring in revenue than on things that do. Isn’t that amazing? Most companies spend far more time on internal issues, payroll, managing vendors and all the other things that do not directly amount to making more money. Sure, these things are important. But business that know how to spend more time on the things that matter tend to be the businesses and careers that are the most successful. 

When we get creative and innovative, spending time on what matters becomes far easier. Here are three things that you can do today to quit spending so much time on stuff that doesn’t matter, and more time on stuff that brings in money:

1. Take Back Your Time

Perhaps you are like me. You start your day with plenty of good intentions. You open your computer, get your cup of coffee, and then check your emails. While you wonder why most emails are sent in the first place, and how much better the world was before email, you check you stock portfolio and then read the news and then check on your Walmart order and then text a friend. Over 20 or 40 or 60 minutes later you have accomplished nothing. 

If you know you are the kind of person who gets distracted, like me, then stop allowing someone else or something else to dictate your time. You cannot get distracted unless you allow yourself to do so. So don’t allow yourself to get distracted and you wont. Remember, you must schedule your own time or someone else will do it for you.

So instead, plan out 10 minutes max for emails in the morning. Then spend an hour following up with clients so that you can maximize your revenue time. Your schedule may be different than mine, but that’s just it: make your own schedule before someone or something else does it for you.

2. Extract, Then Extract Some More

It’s amazing to me how many people in sales (spoiler alert: we are all in sales) tell me that they cannot generate enough quality leads. If your LinkedIn is like mine, you probably get daily annoyances from people promising to get you 100 qualified leads by the end of the day! But you know that is all rubbish. Instead of wasting precious time with those snake oil salesman on LinkedIn, instead extract revenue potential from your existing clients.

When was the last time you picked up the phone and called a former client? Just because you don’t have current business with them doesn’t mean that you can’t reach out and say hello from time to time. You will be amazed at how this generates not only warm and fuzzy feelings, but best of all it just may generate a new lead. 

For instance, my legal team reaches out every half year or so, no matter if I have recently done work with them or not. And I may not need their services at the time, but inevitably I have a friend who has some legal needs and so on. Bingo: they create a new revenue stream making opportunity. It’s a simple yet very effective way to spend more time on revenue generating activities and less time on junk.

3. Look at the Details

Biblical scholars have spent millennia looking at the same thing over and over again. Yet in every generation, they have found new meaning, interpretations, and sources of life within our sacred texts. It turns out that you can do the same thing with your business or career, no matter what it is that you do. Take a look at the details even if you think you already intimately know them.

Pay some attention to the details. Is there a client that you lost for some reason? Now is the time to look and try and figure out why. Is it a particular case that you had that took forever to close or to move forward? Now is the time to look and see why that was. 

When we spend time looking at the details, we open up opportunities to generate new revenue. It is almost as if there is a roadmap to success that appears in the errors of our past ways. Taking time to look at our errors and learning from them is one of the most effective ways we can spend generating new sources of revenue instead of wasting time.

I hope that the three above tools give you a wealth of new revenue opportunities. It’s so easy to get distracted these days. There are plenty of things battling for our attention. From staff with perpetual problems and lack of self-starting all the way to social media and our insatiable appetite for 24 hours news, the distractions are out there. 

And the worst part? They are costly. Because they cut into time that is better spent chasing potential revenue. The three tools above will help you focus and spend more time making money and less time on things that don’t matter as much. Again, we are in business to continually generate revenue, which we then pull with all our might out as much profit humanly possible. And that is a worthwhile and noble goal that takes time.

This article was originally published in the Mortgage Banker Magazine September 2022 issue.
Nir Bashan headshot
Nir Bashan

Nir Bashan is a Top 100 nonfiction book of all time author and speaker. He helps folks become more innovative and creative at work.

Published on
Sep 20, 2022
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