Professionals like accountants know about time management and things like utilisation. But really, how effective are you at managing yourself and your time? How good are you at making the time to network and generate new client opportunities?
Being too busy is a popular reason accountants give for not doing business development and winning work. The answer is better time management or productivity. This is making things happen and getting stuff done. The word productivity comes from the medieval Latin productīvus – the capacity or ability to produce.
But how to get on top of your ‘to do’ list, overcome distractions and deal with interruptions? This productivity and prioritising stuff is coachable, but the answers may not be what you think.
In this video, I try to shed some light and offer you 4 strategies, tips, call them what you like, to free up time to win work and generate new business. Choose one try. Then execute. All the ideas, insights and knowledge in the world means nothing if you don’t take action.
Here is an overview of each tip:
1. BLOCK OUT CALENDAR TIME. Too many accountants say ‘I’ll go networking or do some BD if I have the time.’ It’s not going to happen. Your activities will always fill the time available. Instead, block out some time for phone calls, reachouts or other work winning activity. Then keep them sacred – build all of your other work, appointments and chargeable time around those blocks.
2. CUT DOWN ON MEETINGS. This goes for both the number of your meetings and their length. Meetings take up a lot of calendar time, so could your 45 min meeting be done in 30? Meetings can scheduled for hours though they contain 30 minutes of content. Time shaved off meetings can be allocated to more productive tasks.
3. USE SOFTWARE AND APPS. There are some great calendar apps and productivity software tools out there. You don’t have to be a gadget freak or totally techy to use them. But they are weapons in your productivity arsenal. Whether it’s on your desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile device, you’re crazy if you don’t use just some of the great tools out there to save you time and make you more efficient.
4. MAKE TIME FOR ‘DEEP WORK. make time for ‘deep work’ – those most valuable projects and tasks that really make a difference. read ‘Deep Work’ by Cal Newport, which is all about rules for success in a distracted world. In the book he says that the two core abilities for thriving in the new economy are (1) the ability to quickly master hard things and (2) the ability to produce at an elite level, in terms of both quality and speed. Both of these require focus, which is what this book is all about. Newport says ‘Who you are, what you think, feel, and do, what you love is the sum of what you focus on.’
In our workshops and training courses with the Business Development Academy, we help busy accountants perform better and win more work. Winning new work and generating business is not natural for may accounting and finance types. It’s not part of your qualifications nor formal training, and it can be quite intimidating when you find you’re expected to sell as all the other technical aspects of your role.
In many ways, this isn’t your fault. But you can’t blame it on having too few hours in your week. One of the biggest obstacles to generating new business is not having the time to do it. When the average UK adult watches 26 hours of TV a week and is on social media/mobile apps/games a further 16 hours a week, it’s not that you don’t have the time.
By the way, these figures are even higher in some countries. They tell us that it’s more a question of priorities. Prospecting, building relationships and generating leads requires some sustained effort.
We can help – fix up a 30 min Possibility Chat here with BD Academy founder Rob Brown here to explore further.