In Part 1 of this series, I shared the four layers of support in business to give you a big-picture idea of the role you might want to hire for. In this blog, I will share my foolproof method of determining what you should outsource on a very detailed and tangible level: the time and task audit.
A time and task audit allows you to gather firsthand data on how you and your team spend your time. Then, you can take a data-driven approach to hiring.
If you haven’t read Part 1 of this series, just check it out before you start your own time and task audit.
If you’re the only person on your team right now or you’re not sure what you need to outsource at all, you’ll want to do the time and task audit for every person on your team to determine what you can outsource.
If you have a team already and are looking for more support in a particular area, have anyone currently involved in that area track their time. For instance, if you have a VA and a social media manager and think you might need more help with copywriting, all three of you might need to track your time to determine what you’re doing now that a copywriter could take off your plates.
Lastly, if your team is a bit larger and you’re looking for support for your current team, e.g., a VA for your salespeople, then have everyone on the sales team track their time and tasks to determine what a VA could do for them.
As a business owner, your time is your most valuable asset. Regularly tracking and analyzing your time will ensure you don’t slip back into old time-sucking habits and will help you be more mindful about the things on your plate.
Of course, a time and task audit is also the best tool to help you hire the right people to fill in the gaps in your business!
I recommend a two-week period for a comprehensive time and task audit. For most business owners and teams I work with, this is long enough to capture their regular responsibilities and a few surprises that the person didn’t plan for.
There are tons of fancy time-tracking apps, but I don’t recommend using them for this exercise. Apps can be distracting, and the resulting data can be hard to analyze in a way that makes business sense. Instead, I like to use a good old-fashioned pen and paper.
When you track your time, you’ll want to lay out your page with a column for the date, time spent (or start and end time), the task you worked on, and a column that’s left blank for sorting tasks out later. Keep your tracker handy and track all of your work hours for two weeks. Don’t worry about tracking breaks, personal time, etc.
Once you’ve tracked your time and tasks for two weeks, it’s time to look and see where you can make adjustments. This process is the same whether it’s just you doing the time and task audit or your team members are doing it, too.
First, go through each item, and in the blank column, note whether the task:
Next, go through the list of neutral (=) and draining tasks (-) on your list and complete an optimize, outsource, and eliminate exercise.
Lastly, go through the tasks labeled with =, -, T, and H and categorize them according to the layer of support that they coincide with. The four layers are Implementation, Management, Strategy, and Vision.
Now, you can pull out a blank Google Doc or another piece of paper and sort your tasks into the appropriate roles. For instance, some might belong to a VA, and others might belong to an OBM role.
Once you complete this entire exercise, you’ll have a lasered-in list of the responsibilities you need a new team member to take on and the role they need to play in supporting your business. You can use this information in your job description, interview questions, and in evaluating your job candidates!
P.S. I recommend completing this exercise at least once quarterly to ensure you’re staying on top of any changes and shifts that might happen within your business. If your team tags along with you for their own time and task audit, you can use their information to ensure that everyone on your team is also staying in their zone of genius. Sometimes a simple swap of a few responsibilities draining your team members can make all the difference, too.
I’ve got time for you!
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October 25, 2022