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10 suggestions for managing time.

Make the best use of your time.

By Harold Taylor

Here are a few of my favorite suggestions for managing time.

  1. Put your goals in writing. Determine where you would like to be in 10 years and 5 years and one year and put those goals in writing. Then each week schedule time to work on those tasks and activities that will lead to those annual and long-term goals. Where you will be in 10 years or 5 years or one year is determined by what you do today, tomorrow and next week.       
  2. Organize your work area.  An organized desk is not the sign of a sick mind; it is the sign of an organized mind.  People do better on exams when neatly dressed, excel in sales when well prepared, and are more productive at work when their materials are arranged in an orderly way. Have frequently used materials within reach, an orderly system of filing, and a work environment that discourages distractions.
  3. Plan your day.  If you have no objectives for the day you will likely have a matching set of results.  Plans are the handrails that guide you through the day’s distractions and keep you on course.  Plan what you will do at the start, evaluate progress during the day, and measure results at the finish.
  4. Schedule your tasks.  Listing jobs on a “to do” list shows your intention to work on them; but scheduling important tasks in your planner reveals a commitment to get them done.  Make appointments with yourself at specific times to work on your priority tasks, complete with start and finish times.  And keep those appointments.
  5. Handle paper only once.  When possible, that is.  Don’t even look at your mail until you have 30 to 60 minutes available to review and dispense with it.  As you pick up each piece of paper, scrap it, delegate it, do it, file it, or schedule a time to do it later. The same thing applies to e-mail.
  6. Don’t procrastinate.  Procrastination is putting off until later what is best done now. If it’s too large a task to complete at one sitting, break it into chunks and do a little at a time.  If it’s distasteful, do it now and get it over with.  Putting things off wastes time, causes stress and frustration, and make life more difficult for others as well as you.
  7. Write it down.  Writing things down does not mean you are circumventing your memory; you are simply helping it to do its job.  We all need reminders to prevent a myriad of essential tasks from dying of neglect.  The pen is mightier than the sword, and it writes better. Never rely on memory alone.
  8. Say “No’ more often.  Some people say, “Yes” to others simply because they’re available or don’t want to offend.  Make sure the request is compatible with your goals before you agree.  Have as much respect for your time as you have for other peoples’ time. Remember, every time you say “yes” to something, you are saying “no” to something a lot more important that could be done instead.
  9. Delegate more. This is one of the greatest time-savers of all because it frees up time for more important tasks. If you have no one to delegate to, ask your suppliers to help or outsource if possible. Be on the lookout for timesaving technology that will help free up your time. And don’t delegate or outsource anything that can be eliminated.
  10. Practice the Pareto Principle. This 80/20 rule suggests that 80% of your results are achieved by 20% of the things you do. Focus on the priorities, and if some tasks don’t get done, let it be those of less importance.

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Interruptions are on the increase

When you leave the office, the interruptions follow

We are ill-equipped to deal with the onslaught of interruptions introduced by technology. Our brain’s natural inclination is to react to them. We coped with this in the old days by isolating ourselves from interruptions by closing our office door, having our calls screened or intercepted or by going to a coffee shop where no one could contact us.

With the advent of the cell phone, e-mail, texting and portable devices, interruptions now follow us wherever we go. We are at the mercy of our own ability or inability to resist the urge to answer our smart phones, check incoming e-mail or respond to text messages. To read articles concerning the use of technology, click here.

The battlefield, where it is determined whether we will lose the quest for personal productivity, has shifted from our office to our brain.

Although technology is evolving exponentially, our brains are not. The allure of e-mail, according to one techno-psychologist, is similar to that of the slot machine: You have intermittent, variable reinforcement. You don’t know when you will be next rewarded so you keep pulling the handle.

There are different theories on willpower. Originally it was thought that willpower was like a muscle that was easily depleted. And research backed this up. But newer research also suggests we have as much willpower as we expect we have. If you believe you have the willpower to resist interruptions, you will have it. Sort of like the placebo effect.

This latter theory also seems to be backed up by research conducted at the University of Rochester as a follow-up to the marshmallow experiments of the 1960s. In the experiments of the 1960s, children were given a marshmallow and told that if they could resist eating it for a few minutes they would get two marshmallows. Those who resisted the longest, showing the greatest self-control, were more successful later in life.

The Rochester experiments involved giving one group of children old used crayons and telling them if they resisted playing with them, they would be given new ones. But they never received the new ones. Another group was told the same thing but the researchers made good on their promise of new crayons. When they all took the marshmallow test afterwards, the group with a good experience behind them resisted eating the marshmallow for 12 minutes. The other group, who obviously had lower expectations, lasted only 2 minutes.

Although our brain hasn’t evolved recently, perhaps it doesn’t have to. We already have a brain capable of resisting temptation – although it may need strengthening – and we can still do a lot to remove the source of the temptation.

Removing the source of temptation could involve turning off your handheld devices while you work on priority projects, keeping the paperwork, to do lists and other distractions out of sight while working on a specific task, and leaving your cell phone at home if you decide to work in a coffee shop. You could also do all your priority work in the same place — one devoid of distracting scenery, pictures or paraphernalia so your brain gets to associate that space with work.

Resisting temptation might involve not going online or checking e-mail before 10 AM, ignoring a ringing telephone when you’re talking with family and friends, and resisting any urge to buy electronic devices that you really don’t need. (After all, who really needs a smart watch when they already have a smart phone? It’s much more important to have a smart brain.)

Self-discipline or self-control, focus, attention, prioritizing and planning are essential if we are to remain effective in this digital age of speed. These are functions of our executive centre in the prefrontal cortex area of our brain. That’s why I say that the battlefield has shifted from the office to the brain.

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Be proactive, not reactive.

7 examples of a proactive person

Proactive people are always looking ahead at future activities, projects and events and anticipating needs, problems and possible outcomes. For example, if they are attending a conference in a different city, they go beyond actually booking air travel, arranging ground transportation and booking a hotel room. They mentally walk through the three-day event, deciding in advance what they will wear at the various functions, which presentations they will attend, and who they will seek out in order to maximize their networking opportunities. In the process, they might decide that they will need business cards, writing materials, an empty carry-on bag to house the information that they will be collecting at the exhibits and casual clothes for the Saturday night barbecue.

It’s no accident that a few people always seem to have a spare pen to loan, a safety pin to offer, a Band-Aid or pain killer when someone’s in distress and shampoo when there’s none in the hotel room. These are the people you turn to when you need a hair dryer or a list of meeting rooms or change for the hotel vending machine. They are also the people who are frequently selected as project managers, management trainees and group leaders. They are organized, punctual and productive – and respected by their managers and peers alike.

What is their secret? How are they able to be prepared for almost any situation? Here are a few of the tools, strategies and mindset that form an example of a proactive person.

  1. Set goals. Proactive people hold planning sessions with themselves as well as with others, and set specific goals for the future. They not only put them in writing, along with deadline dates, they schedule time in their planners to actually work on them. By doing this, they are helping to create their own future as opposed to reacting to unplanned events.
  2. Block off time for important tasks and activities. Proactive people use planning calendars as they are supposed to use them – to reserve time in the future for priority tasks and activities. By being able to visualize the future, they are able to anticipate possible problems and act before they can occur. Just looking at an event such as a scheduled meeting in writing, sets your mind thinking about things you will need for that meeting. Proactive people normally schedule their priority activities about a week ahead, leaving unscheduled time each day for those important and urgent tasks and activities that inevitably pop up throughout the week. They may have to do some juggling in order to fit them all in; but they never allow a priority task or activity be replaced without first rescheduling it to another time slot. And they never replace a scheduled activity with a less important one. They realize that the good is the enemy of the best.
  3. Use checklists. Proactive people make up checklists for all repetitive events or activities, such as meetings, travel, conferences, sales calls, workshops and interviews. These checklists are updated if necessary after each event. If anything was missed, it is added to the list so that it won’t be forgotten the next time. Checklists save time and money and prevent errors.
  4. Review results. Proactive people don’t just follow through with planned tasks and events, they follow up as well, and make sure the value received was worth the time and effort expended. This ensures that they are indeed completing the 20% of the tasks that yield 80% of the results. They always question whether they are making the best possible use of their time. 
  5. Plan long range. Proactive people recognize that it’s never too early to plan, and that planning too late causes crises and time problems. If the Titanic had started turning sooner, it never would have hit the iceberg. Small adjustments made earlier avoid large adjustments having to be made at the last minute.
  6. Set deadlines. Proactive people set deadlines on every planned activity. They are aware of Parkinson’s Law, which indicates activities will consume as much time as you have available for them. Setting deadlines both increases efficiency and prevents procrastination. Proactive people realize that deadlines don’t cause stress; only unrealistic deadlines cause stress. So they always allow more time than they think the task or activity will actually take. This allows for those unpredictable interruptions.
  7. Maintain the right attitudeAlthough there are certain tools and techniques that proactive people use, a big part of it is their attitude or state of mind. In fact, it could be called a way of life. Proactive people wouldn’t think of making a telephone call without first jotting down the items for discussion or going to the supermarket without first making a list of the items they need. They don’t resent looking at a map before taking a trip or googling a prospect’s website before meeting making a cold sales call or reading the instructions before assembling a swing set.

These practices can be developed and nurtured until they become habits. Practice with little things, such as deciding before going to bed what clothes you will be wearing the next morning. You may discover that something needs pressing. In the morning, mentally walk through the day. What time will you leave the house, where will you park, what jobs will you do first etc. The more times you think ahead, the more comfortable you will become with planning. As you see your days running smoother, with fewer crises and problems, the more you will be encouraged to become proactive in everything you do.

Proactive means “acting beforehand.” Taking action in the present will influence things in the future – perhaps even the future itself. So practice those habits exhibited by proactive people. Set goals. Schedule time for priority tasks and activities. Use checklists. Review results. Plan long range. Set deadlines. And continually make adjustments to improve future outcomes.

There is power in being proactive.

Note: Being proactive is one of the keys to increasing personal productivity. For other ways to do so, attend Harold’s three hour workshop on “Increase your Personal Productivity” in Sussex, New Brunswick, on Saturday, June 15, 2019. Click here for details or select workshops from the “Shop” drop-down menu on the Home page.

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How to handle rush jobs.

Tyranny of the urgent

Defeating the tyranny of the urgent.

Based on hundreds of surveys of time management seminar participants over a thirty year period, “rush jobs” are among the top ten time problems faced by managers and staff alike. It seems that they are on the receiving end of tasks and projects that have to be done “right away” or “ASAP.” A bevy of urgent tasks requiring immediate attention on a daily basis produces a breeding ground for stress. And stress is the enemy of both physical and mental health as personal productivity.

Here are a few suggestions for handling the rush jobs that you must face during the course of your day.

1. Question the importance of all rush jobs. They may be urgent but not important. Important jobs have intrinsic value. They can impact your personal goals or your company’s bottom line. Urgent jobs simply have a short time frame. If you don’t do them right away it’s too late. But too late for what? The consequence of not doing them may be negligible. Some of them may be best left undone.

2. As soon as you receive a rush job to do, whether from your boss or someone else, question the deadline. It may have been chosen arbitrarily. The time to negotiate a different deadline is at the time you receive the assignment, not when you find that you are unable to meet it.

3. For each rush job, ask yourself the question, “What’s the impact on my job, my career or this company if this task is not completed on time?”

Recognize that you can’t do two things in the same time frame. Do one thing at a time, starting with those that are the most important. Stress only aggravates the situation.

4. Get into the habit of scheduling time to work on the priority tasks in your planning calendar right away to avoid procrastination. Many jobs become urgent simply because of a delay in starting them. Immediately upon receiving a priority assignment, break it into smaller segments if necessary and schedule times in your planner to work on them. This also creates both a commitment to do them, and a visual display of your workload and the time still available for other tasks.

These tasks can only be displaced by more important tasks, regardless of their urgency. Any less important tasks can be added to a “To Do” list and worked on when and if there is time left over or delegated to others.

Remember that it’s not how many things you do but what you accomplish that counts. Don’t lose sight of your goals. Concentrate on the 20% of the activities that produce 80% of the results.

5. Say “no” more often. Be assertive. Realize that by saying yes to a rush job, you may be saying no to something more important. If you have entered previous tasks in your planner, you will know when you have to say no. If you struggle with how to actually say no, refer to my e-Book, “How to say no when you want to say yes,” published by Bookboon.com.

6. Don’t hesitate to ask for help. You can’t be all things to all people nor do two things in the same time frame. If you’re in a position to delegate, do so. But don’t waste time on trivial tasks that would produce little reward for the company.

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5 simple ways to save time

Time management doesn’t need to be complicated…

There are many ways to maximize the effective utilization of time, such as set goals, plan your day, schedule your tasks, delegate and organize your work area. But there are many other simple ways that you should not overlook. Here are five of them.

  1. Don’t rush.  People who don’t have the time to do something right always seem to have the time to do it over again.  Mistakes occur more frequently when a job is done in a hurry.  Take the time to do it right in the first place.  If you can’t get everything done, at least get the most important things done right.
  2. If in doubt, ask. Inadequate communications is a sinkhole for time.  Don’t bluff, ask.  Get your pride from a job well done, not from being able to guess what’s required. Asking is faster than trying to piece together fractured communications.  You are respected for your accomplishments, not your silence.
  3. Write it down.  Writing things down does not mean you are circumventing your memory — you are simply helping it to do its job.  We all need reminders to prevent a myriad of essential tasks from dying of neglect.  The pen is mightier than the sword — and it writes better.
  4. Avoid stress. Recognize you can’t do everything or be all things to all people. Be organized, effective and efficient; but don’t go on a guilt trip just because you can’t do the impossible. It’s not the stressful environment, but your reaction to it, that does the damage. Your health should be your number one priority. Without it you’re of little use to anyone.
  5. Respect the time of others.  If everyone treated others as they themselves would like to be treated, there wouldn’t be the unnecessary personal interruptions, telephone calls, electronic messages and correspondence that most people are experiencing.  Accumulate your questions, concerns and assignments and interrupt others less frequently.
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Be an active listener.

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The most important thing you can do when facing a customer, or anyone for that matter, is to engage in active listening. There is no greater way of displaying respect than listening attentively to what people have to say.  Lean forward to show interest. Establish eye contact. Resist the temptation to glance at your watch. Devote full attention to the speaker.

The onus is on the listener to avoid prejudging, daydreaming, interrupting, criticizing the speaker’s delivery, reacting to emotional words and being distracted by the environment.

Focused listening can save time as well as improve communication and personal relationships.  Show interest by giving the person your full attention. Listen for the ideas and don’t be distracted by the way the ideas are expressed. Half listening can waste time, cause stress because you lose track of what has been said, strain the speaker-listener relationship and result in costly misunderstandings.

People talk at roughly 125 words a minute while we listen at speeds over four times that fast. Since our minds must be busy doing something, we go on little mental excursions. We find ourselves thinking about other things. To prevent this from happening, let your “extracurricular thinking” revolve around the speaker’s comments. Think about the conclusions that he or she will probably arrive at, the evidence that supports claims being made, how the opinions stack up against those of other people you’ve listened to. Mentally review the points covered to date. In other words, keep focusing on what is being said at the time.

Limit your own talking, except to ask questions, and don’t let your mind wander. When you do speak, gain the respect of your clients more quickly by speaking more slowly. Since most people listen at only 25 percent of their capacity, you can improve communications by actually using the word “listen” in your conversation.  This periodic reminder will stimulate their listening.  Example: “Listen John, if I were to…..” The use of the word “listen” has been shown to have a positive impact on their listening.

There’s more to effective listening than meets the ear. It’s hard work. It requires an active participation in the communication process. It takes effort, practice. And it requires that we break habits that have been forming since childhood. One such habit is interrupting the speaker. We want to finish the speaker’s sentence for him or her either aloud or to ourselves. We’re impatient. Sometimes we can’t even tolerate pauses in the conversation. We want to rush in with our own words or thoughts. Even when we are not speaking, we’re frequently not listening. We are rehearsing what we are going to say in turn.

Effective listening can be learned. It requires greater mental application because it is an active skill. But like anything else, the right kind of practice makes perfect. So slow down, be patient, and lend an ear – maybe two.

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7 habits of proactive people


Proactive means acting beforehand. Taking action in the present will influence things in the future, perhaps even the future itself. So always think ahead. Practice those habits exhibited by proactive people. Set goals. Schedule time for important activities. Plan daily. Use checklists. Review results, continually make adjustments to improve future outcomes. Plan long range. And maintain the right attitude. There is power in being proactive.

Proactive people are always looking ahead at future activities, projects and events and anticipating needs, problems and possible outcomes. Here are seven habits they have acquired that enable them to tackle almost any situation.

  1. Set goals. Proactive people hold planning sessions with themselves as well as with others, and set specific goals for the future. They not only put them in writing, along with deadline dates, they schedule time in their planners to actually work on them. By doing this, they are helping to create their own future as opposed to reacting to unplanned events.
  • Schedule time for important activities. Proactive people use planners as they are supposed to use them – to record future events and to schedule time for priority tasks and activities. By being able to view the future, they are able to anticipate possible problems and act before they can occur. Just looking at an event such as a scheduled meeting in writing, sets your mind thinking about things you will need for that meeting.
  • Plan daily. Ideally you will have scheduled your priority activities a week ahead, leaving unscheduled time each day for those important and urgent tasks and activities that inevitably pop up throughout the week. But you may have to do some juggling in order to fit them all in. Don’t let a priority activity be replaced without first rescheduling it to another time slot. And never replace a scheduled activity with a less important one. Remember that the good is the enemy of the best.
  • Use checklists. Proactive people make up checklists for all repetitive events or activities, such as meetings, travel, conferences, sales calls, workshops and interviews. These checklists are updated if necessary after every event. If anything was missed, it is added to the list so that it won’t be forgotten the next time. Checklists save time and money and prevent errors.
  • Review results. Proactive people don’t just follow through with planned tasks and events, they follow up as well, and make sure the value received was worth the time and effort expended. This ensures that they are indeed completing the 20% of the tasks that yield 80% of the results. Always question whether you are making the best possible use of your time.
  •  Plan long range. Proactive people recognize that it’s never too early to plan, and that planning too late causes crises and time problems. If the Titanic had started turning sooner, it never would have hit the iceberg. Small adjustments made earlier avoid large adjustments having to be made at the last minute.
  • Maintain the right attitude. The most important weapon that proactive people have at their disposal is their attitude or state of mind. In fact, it could be called a way of life. Proactive people wouldn’t think of making a telephone call without first jotting down the items for discussion or going to the supermarket without first making a list of the items they need. They don’t resent looking at a map before taking a trip or reading the instructions before assembling a swing set.

Proactive people maintain their cool, avoid stress, and never let other people’s lack of planning become their crises. They don’t accept assignments without realistic deadlines, and never accept ASAP in place of an actual date. They are organized, efficient, and respect other people’s time as well as their own.

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Communicating via e-mail messages.

Email, because of its speed, convenience and low cost, is now one of the most frequently used forms of business communication.

A 2018 statistic revealed that the average office worker receives 121 e-mails per day. The volume of e-mail has increased by 2000 percent between 1998 and 2003 and has been increasing ever since. The average working professional spends roughly 23% of the workday on email, and glances at the inbox about 36 times an hour, according to Mike Byster, in his book, The Power of Forgetting.

The April, 2016 issue of Scientific American Mind described a study of 16 billion emails sent by more than 2 million people that revealed the most likely length of reply is just five words. Also more than 90% of replies are sent within one day, and the younger you are the faster and shorter your reply. The study also revealed that messages sent on weekday mornings got the fastest responses and emails with attachments took twice as long to get a reply.

About 12 percent of executives spend 3 hours or more on e-mail. 41% of small businesses are using email to market to customers, a nearly 25% increase over 2012, according to AT&T Small Business Technology.

According to Debra Black, writing in the Toronto Star, some people are so overwhelmed, they routinely delete everything rather than cope with the growing pile of e-mail and scores of messages left on their voice mail. So if you want your e-mail message to be read, you had better capture the reader’s interest quickly. And keep your email messages brief while still communicating clearly.

Use a heading that reveals the purpose of the message and grabs the reader’s attention. One survey showed that 35 percent of the people open e-mail based on the header or subject line. Yet some people don’t even bother writing a subject line. An e-mail without a subject line could very well be deleted unread. A good idea might be to identify yourself in the subject line as well as indicate the topic of the e-mail. Personalizing a subject line has been shown to increase the open rate by 17%.

Put the most important information in the first paragraph. This is particularly important now that people are receiving so many e-mails. They tend to start reading based on the subject line, and continue only if they find the text of specific interest to them. Managers simply don’t have time to read all their email.

So after grabbing the reader’s attention with the header and quickly telling them the purpose of your e-mail you might take the necessary time to reread your e-mail before sending it. Just because e-mail is less formal than business letters doesn’t mean it should not be written with care.

Sloppy, poorly worded messages filled with typos and spelling mistakes reflect on your organization, as well as on your reputation. Take a minute or two to reread and edit every message you write. You will save time for the reader, clarify the communication, and create a good impression in the process.

 

 

 

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Print books are still alive and well.

Not only did I buy a Kindle for e-books, I downloaded the app for my PC, iPad, iPhone and android. I thought for sure we were heading for a world of digital when it came to books, magazines and newspapers.

I didn’t like the idea since I loved my hardcover books that I revisited frequently whenever I wrote an article, newsletter, report or book. I found it so easy to highlight passages, scribble notes in the margins – mainly ideas generated by the author’s remarks – and I used print books as references for the 20 odd e-books I authored for Bookboon.com.

But I didn’t want to be left behind in the oncoming digital age of speed. I was committed to at least keep my brain up to date even while my aging body advertised otherwise.

So I have hundreds of e-books on my various devices, which I still refer to when I travel – and in waiting rooms, airports and buses. Many of them, however, are simply duplicates of the print books I’m reading at the time.

You can imagine my surprise and sheer joy when I started reading reports of the recent decline in electronic book sales, and in spite of all the bookstore closures, print book sales had stopped declining.

I noticed it first in an Inc. article written by Glenn Leibowitz titled “7 reasons why e-book sales are falling – and print book sales are rising again.” According to the Wall Street Journal, sales of traditional print books rose by 5% in the U.S. the previous year, while sales of e-books plunged by 17%.

Another article posted by Dave Schumacher on June 20, 2017 reported that during the first nine months of 2016, e-book sales in the US declined by a dramatic 18.7% compared to the same period in 2015. Dollar sales fell to about $877 million while print books grew slightly to more than $1.6 billion.

Publishers weekly showed that hardcover print unit sales had held steady over the past five years while e-books declined – and that hardcover books outsold e-books in 2016 for the first time since 2011.

Of course an actual trend is not yet conclusive. One writer mentioned the popular adult colouring books that can’t be replicated in digital format, for example.

And what about the young people? Are they firmly committed to e-books – especially with their use by schools, and their ease of access and low cost? Well, I found a student report that surveyed other college students using SurveyMonkey. The sample size was only 300, but half the respondents said they buy in both formats, and a surprising 40% said they prefer reading print books.

Like me they like the convenience of having 1000 books at their fingertips. But also like me, they made remarks such as “I spend enough time on computers; I need a break; I like the feel of the pages” and so on.

Of course, as mentioned in last week’s blog, there are plenty of other advantages of the good old-fashioned, reliable, durable print books as well.

I don’t think e-books will keep declining. But neither will print books. Rather than one format taking over a bigger share of the market, I feel the two formats will both share in a bigger market as more people discover the joy – and wisdom – of reading.

At least I like to think so.

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Cut costs to improve your bottom line.

Back in 2005, Angie Mohr, in her book, Managing Business Growth, claimed that 96% of all small businesses fail within 10 years. Today it isn’t much different. Brian Martucci, in an article posted in Small Business, states that according to Bloomberg, 8 out of 10 businesses fail within the first 18 months. Richard Legg, in his 2017 book, Hidden Profits, claims that business owners get so caught up in their business that they’re unable to work “on” their business.

As business owners, we must be able to step back from the business and keep tabs on what’s going on. We must spend more time managing the business and spending less time doing what the business does. Most business writers and consultants claim the major cause of business failure is “poor management. “ But according to Dun and Bradstreet, more than 85% of business failures are preventable.

I don’t think it’s so much poor management as it is a lack of management.

For example, if we can’t afford to take the time to learn and apply new ideas, attend workshops, read the latest books and keep up with the times – because we are so busy doing what we are in business to do – our business will soon be in trouble.

A major purpose of a Chamber of Commerce, for example, is to provide its members with information essential to growing strong businesses.  It would be wise for the members to take advantage of the learning opportunities, and to suggest other topics if the information does not meet their specific needs.

I know that one of my problems in running a business was my tendency to spend like crazy when times were good, and then try to cut corners and skimp when business was slow. It took a while to learn that cutting costs, not quality or service, was an ongoing activity that maintained a healthy bottom line, and avoided any cash flow problems when sales dipped.

Checking bank charges to ensure the best plan for your level of activity, switching to fluorescent light bulbs , which are said to use as much as 22% energy, printing on both sides of computer paper, hiring virtual freelancers from websites such as “Upwork,” finding a use for your by-products – there is no end to the possibilities for reducing costs.

It only requires a questioning attitude and the odd brainstorming session with yourself or others, and a commitment to not get so involved in doing the work that you don’t have time to manage the work.

Some of the ideas from my 30-page special “Promotion on a shoestring” report also reduce costs, such as using classified ads instead of display ads, sending out news releases to the media, trimming your product line, including sales pitches with product shipments, and offering downloadable products. In fact anything that increases sales indirectly reduces costs.

This Promotion on a Shoestring report is available for download for $4.95 CDN at our website. Click here for a detailed description of the report.