Time management is actually quite simple. It is all about doing what is most important, most of the time.  To know what matters most you need to have a clear goal in mind. You need to know that the time you spend working at any given point actually relates to your goals and is the most important action you should be taking right now. So lets get clear about your goals first and then design a schedule that ensures you are spending your time effectively.

Start with the goal in mind.

  1. Goal setting. Begin by setting the goal. E.g. To be earning $100,000 per year teaching guitar less than 20 hours per week.
  2. How will it look? Write down how its going to look when you are earning $100k per year. E.g. 100 students each week in groups of 4 for 30 mins over 3 days a week paying $1000 per year. The more detailed you can make it the better but it can be developed over time. For now just start with a simple vision but develop it daily.
  3. Planning. The next step is to plan the journey. Write down the steps and milestones. E.g. 1st month 10 students. 2nd month 20 students. etc. Again this should be developed daily. Planning any journey takes time.
  4. Fill in the details. Now you need to look at where the students are going to come from. This will require marketing and sales. I suggest following the Marketing and Sales sections on this site.

Organising ‘your’ time

Watch the video below to see the new G4 Teacher Application which is due to be released early 2016. This will help you to easily organise your todo list and stay on top of things.

Features
  • Each column can be sorted depending on priority, category and due date by clicking on the heading.
  • By un-checking the boxes you can hide certain categories. This is good when you want to focus on one category.
  • You can add links which could link to a Gmail email or a website etc.
  • You can click on the form icon to see a more detailed window. This is good for projects where more detail is required.
  • In the detailed view you can even add a pic. 
A to E priorities
  • A. Urgent. Clear these items off as a matter of urgency.
  • B. Today. Complete by the end of the day.
  • C. Week. Review all C’s at the end of the week.
  • D. Month.  Not urgent but this list should be be reviewed at the end of every month.
  • E. Ideas. Not important but should be reviewed once a month and either move up the list or delete.

Plan each day

My typical day consists of the following;

  • I start the day by planning my day. I allow 30 minutes but it rarely takes more than 15 mins.
  • 1 hour on a project. Its good to get in early on a project before the distractions take over.
  • 1 hour on email and Facebook messages including our group. The aim is to clear off all emails either by taking action or adding them to my ToDo list.
  • I then spend the rest of the day working from my ToDo list.
  • I have scheduled appointments on my Calendar which I know will be between certain times and days. My aim is to keep a few days a week free of appointments so I can catch up or dig into projects.
  • In the evenings I spend some time reviewing my day.

Working on your business

When ever I am presented with a question from a client my aim is to not have to answer that question again. In other words every problem should have a permanent solution. For example I was ask by a client about time management so I created this page and am working on the application mentioned above. That way when another client asks me the same question (which they will) I can simply refer them to this page. Avoid writing lengthy emails and instead turn every question into a webpage where you can direct your clients to.

Systems and Outsourcing

Prioritising is a never ending game. A common problem for small business owners is they just continue to work through their todo list without considering the two magic words in business. ’Systems’ and ‘Outsourcing’. I look at everything I do and decide whether it can be systemised or outsourced. Let’s look at some examples.

Systems. The G4 Guitar Method was the result of systemising my teaching.  Aweber is a system of communicating with people automatically on who and what G4 is all about. PayPal is a system that automatically collects payments. Before G4 I was constantly rewriting notes and coming up with new lessons plans. Before Aweber I was replying to every single inquiry. Before PayPal I had a full time employee invoicing and collecting chasing payments.

Outsourcing. Quickbooks automatically uploads my bank statements, sorts payments and does 80% of the work I used to do leaving me to reconcile once a month (about one hours work a month and one full day a year at tax time). I also have Emma Payne taking care of the sales training and Saizza Escueta taking care of websites and admin. G4 is also an example of outsourcing for franchisees because we take care of a lot of the work you would do like brand building, business planning, testing and research, website management, lesson planning, marketing plans, design and resources and general support.

Exercise. In business we grow to the size of our current available resources. Once you reach your limit you will either stop growing (or retract due to burnout ) or we systemise and outsource. Growth can only ever be achieved through the later. What I recommend is writing a list and sorting the list in to 3 categories.

1. Things only you can and should be doing. E.g. Teaching.
2. Things that can be systemised.
3. Things that can be outsourced.

Keep adding to this list on the fly and each day dedicate an hour or two to taking action on your list. You may not end up any less busy but you are leveraging your time therefore your business will surely grow.

Weekly schedule

Setting a weekly schedule will help you to stay focused. I recommend having a basic plan for when you will be working on your todo list, when you will be marketing and when you will be teaching.

Too many balls

When you learn to juggle you start with just one ball. When you can move the one ball from one hand to the other and up in to the air catching with the other automatically you can add a second ball. Once you able to integrate the second ball you can add a third ball. If you are really good you may even be able to add a fourth ball. This is the same approach you use towards time management. Start with one thing. I believe the one thing should be earning an income or doing a course that teaches you how to earn an income. This is because our basic instinct is survival. If our survival is under threat we are unable to focus on anything else. In today’s world our survival is linked to earning money. If you do not have a reliable income stream you will not be able to focus on anything else. I strongly recommend to anyone that they study business while building a business. The two can go hand in hand. Study while you put what you learn into practice.  If you have other goals you want to pursue they can come once you have secured your income through a business. The reason I advise a business over a job is because a job requires you forever more. The aim of a business is to replace yourself eventually so you are free to pursue whatever you like. When you leave a job the income stops. When you step out of your business the income keeps on coming.

Recommended reading

Here are a few books I recommend you check out.

  1. The E-myth by Michael Gerber
  2. Getting things done by David Allen  http://www.getitdone.org/
  3. The Lean Startup – Eric Ries
  4. Great by Choice – Jim Collins
  5. Change Anything – Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillian.

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Guitar Teacher and Entrepreneur with more than 25 years experience

David Hart

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