How to Master Time Management
Just by the fact that you are reading this blog shows me that you are ready to improve on your time management. This article is transcribe from a podcast I did to help give people some new techniques on time management.
Time management goes hand in hand with Priority Management which is about managing priorities, not about simply managing time. Priority Management is somewhat like a blueprint for your business & life. Your time blocking becomes details of how you live out your life every month, week and day.
While creating your ‘perfect week’s time block’ you will be filtering each activity in your Time Block through your Life Vision, Business Vision, and Goals Map. Through Priority Management, I will help you be certain that how you say you intend to spend your time matches up with your heart values, your passions and your core purpose.
Through coaching you will learn about assessing your activities as high, medium and no-payoff activities.
Do you fall into the following category?: You have complete life balance. You have more than enough money. You’re in great health, and you’re an absolute animal when it comes to working out. Based off my experience that is what most people want but don’t have.
I’d like to address the subject of time management. I think you will all agree that this is a subject that touches all of us every day. The reason that none of us has the balance I just alluded to is that we are all in desperate need of the commodity of time. Time is that one thing we cannot create more of. We can only choose to restructure our day to allocate more time to activities we consider to be more important.
There are only 24 hours in a day, whether we like it our not. Given this, we need to focus on how we budget this time. If we can master the art of time management, some very special things can happen in all aspects of our life. I’ve been fortunate enough to experience this through the guidance of people who have had a great impact on my time-management skills.
I’d like to share with you some specific strategies on how to create more time for yourself. You can do this by managing time at a very high level. Please take note of this sentence. “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result.” How many times do we do this every day?
We want changes to occur. We want to improve. We want to be more successful. Yet, we fail to try new things. We keep trying the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result. How silly is that? With this very important definition in mind, I want you to know that in order to master your time, you must be open-minded about trying new concepts. You need to be open-minded about trying new things. You need to overcome that fear of the unknown.
We’ve been taught to fear the unknown. In reality, we should fear the known. The known is prison. The known is limiting. The known stunts our growth and stifles our development. The unknown is what we should embrace. The more we try new things, the more we grow, develop, and achieve higher levels of success. This is why children grow so rapidly. Children live in the unknown. When you were a kid you tried new things all the time. When you grow older, you often become very protective of what you have.
The key to successful time management is being willing to step into the unknown and try new things.
Here is a simple and effective drill. Starting tomorrow, I want you to take out an 8.5 x 11 note pad. Place it on your desk. For the next three days, make short notes on what you did every half-hour.
As an example: If you arrive at work at 9am, at 9:30am I want you to write down what you did for the last half-hour. At 10am, log what happened between 9:30am and 10am, etc. You need to do this for three days. Don’t cheat. If you cheat, the results won’t be the same. What I mean by cheating is this: Don’t come in at 9am and try to write your first set of notes at 12 noon.
The beauty of this system lies in the little things. The more you capture the little things you do each day, the more effective this drill will be. I have used this drill many times in my work, and it’s amazing how it hones in on the high payoff activities for me.
The next step in this drill is to decide how much money we want to earn in your profession. For argument’s sake, let’s say you want to earn $200,000 next year. How many hours do you want to work? Let’s say 40 hours week. Wouldn’t it be nice to actually work a 40-hour work week? In order to determine the hourly rate that you are seeking, we simply take $200,000 and divide it by 2000. That’s 40 hours over 50 weeks, assuming you take two off for vacation. The result is an hourly rate of pay of $100 per hour. This becomes your benchmark by which all decisions must be made.
Let’s get back to your time log. After the three days are over, I’d like to see you schedule a bit of time by yourself. Leave the office and go to a quiet place for approximately 90 minutes. You’ll need to bring your time sheet and a couple of highlighters (red and green). You will more than likely have ten to twelve sheets of paper filled with your activities over the last three days.
Now is the time to be honest with yourself. Your assignment is to go over these half-hour time blocks one by one. In each case, evaluate the task you performed, and ask yourself this very important question: Would I pay someone $100 an hour to do this task. You’ve just established this as the rate you’d like to earn, so the next question is which one of these tasks warrants that dollar figure. If it doesn’t, you need to ask yourself why are you doing it. If you want to make $100 per hour, and you are doing tasks that you wouldn’t pay someone $100 an hour to do, you are effectively lowering your hourly rate of pay, and moving away from your goals.
Here is where the red and green highlighters come in to play. As you come across items on your list that you would not pay someone $100 per hour to do, highlight them in red. Red indicates that you should stop doing this activity. Every time you come across something you think is a high-payoff activity that you would pay someone $100 per hour to do, highlight it in green. This would likely include prospecting for new business, going to network meetings to build relationships, going to lunch with a potential business partner who could make a significant number of referrals to you, or conducting a charity event for past client to generate referrals. By highlighting these items in green, you associate them with the color of money.
Now your job is to get rid of all the red items, which will probably be about 75% of the list. Your goal should be to replace all of the red activities with green activities. The result will be phenomenal. By eliminating all of these activities that lower your hourly rate of pay and replacing them with activities that improve it, you significantly increase your earning potential. (A good book to read is the 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss) teaches you to delegate & 80/20 rule
In fact, you’ll quickly move beyond the $100 per hour figure to $200 or $300 if you discipline yourself to stop doing all of these red activities. The key, of course, is to find someone to do them for you. Before you do that, the first set of questions you must ask yourself about these red activities is: Do they need to be done at all?
The reality is that there are many things we do on a daily basis that are completely unnecessary. The first thing to do is eliminate the ones that don’t contribute to your business. Removing these items will leave you with things that need to be done but that you shouldn’t be doing. You need to hire an assistant to take care of those things for you. I know what you’re thinking: “But I can’t afford a personal assistant!” The reality is that you can’t afford not to have one. The simple fact is by saving the money you would spend to hire an assistant, you’re actually costing yourself ten times that amount in lost productivity. Your time management schedule is thrown completely out of whack. You can hire a personal assistant for around $10 per hour, they can do your scheduling, social media, accounting, whatever is a low payoff activity for you. You can find these people on craigslist, facebook or even twitter.
I’d like to give you a few additional time management tips:
Tip #1: To eliminate reactivity in your day, become more proactive in what you do.
Think about this for a minute: There are things we react to all day long that cause us to lose momentum. I like to call them “stop-starts.” You get your momentum going, you’re concentration kicks in, you’re dialing for dollars, you’re calling on prospects, you really get your pitch and your presentation down, then all of a sudden you start answering phone calls.
You start answering emails. Your cell phone rings. You get a Twitter message. These interruptions break the continuity of your work. This is a “stop-start.” They prohibit you from reaching your full work potential. As an example, let’s say that a client or team member calls you with questions that you hear all the time. So every day you get at least one call from your clients or someone on your team. You know these questions are coming, so why not answer all of the typical questions you receive at once, before they can be asked of you. Create a clean FAQ page, and send it along with in a email or letter.
This way, when they get going in the process, they also get a list of questions and answers compiled by you. You can even sit behind a microphone record for 10 to 15 minutes a CD or video of some frequently asked questions about the processes. Give it to your client or team when they first start to work with you in which you forge a better business relationship. This is being proactive to avoid reactivity. There will be at least one less phone call, 1 less email, 1 less text for you to return from each person wanting your valuable time. Do this for everything you react to. Whenever you react to something, I want you to stop and think about how you can be more proactive to eliminate the reactivity in your day. The more you do this, the more you’ll achieve during the day, and the more time you’ll have to spend with your family.
Tip #2: Cut the umbilical cord on your cell phone, on your computer. All day, every day, it rings, messages pop up. You are there each and every time to react to it. This kills your time-management ventures, and you are a slave to it.
We assume that one of our clients desperately needs us this minute, and if we aren’t available they are going to blow us off and work with our competitor. This is simply wrong. I’ve found that the most important thing to a client is that they know when they are going to hear back from you. You see, if they get your voice mail and they don’t have a clue as to when you will get back to them, they will determine for you what an acceptable turn-around time is. This is the problem. If you change your voice mail every day, and lay out your calendar on the voice mail, including a time that you’ll be returning messages, your client will know when they are going to hear back from you.
I find that all they really want to know is that they are going to hear back from you, and that it will be in one of a few time blocks. Here’s an example of what your outbound phone message might sound like: “Hi, you’ve reached the desk of Mickey O’Brien. Today is Wednesday, the 19th of August, and I’ll be in and out of meetings all day today. Between the hours of nine and eleven I’ll be in a meeting, but I’ll be returning phone calls between eleven and twelve. I’ll then be in another meeting until two, but I’ll be returning calls between two to four, and then again between five-thirty and six. Hopefully I’ll be able to get back to you at a time that is convenient for you. Please leave a message as to when you’d like me to return your call during these various time frames.”You can do the same thing for your emails. Thanks for sending your email. “We are proudly the premiere Business & Entrepreneur Coaching Company in the world and are EXCITED to be your Business Coaching Resource.”
If you are interested in getting a free 1 on 1 coaching session with a Certified Business Coach, please contact me directly. Please note: I check my emails once a day in the late afternoon. If you have an urgent need, please call my office and ask for Jennifer (916) 241-9506.
Mickey O’Brien, President
It’s that simple. People will then be very respectful of your time. They will understand that you need to manage your time every bit as much as they do. This is an excellent way to conduct your business. You are being proactive by disseminating information about what your day looks like to eliminate having to constantly react to everybody else’s demands on your time. If you find yourself questioning this exercise, ask yourself how the heck people did business ten years ago, before we had cell phones? People waited for you to return their call. They will wait today as well.
The final suggestion for today is this: Set proper expectations for your clients and team. Don’t let them define your service platform for you. This is a critical mistake, so start avoiding it immediately.
I hope you have enjoyed my presentation today, and have found my suggestions to be of value. My goal as your coach is to bring value to any relationship I have with business owners & entrepreneurs.
~ If you’d like to schedule an FREE coaching session with me to discuss any of these items in further detail, or discuss strategies that will help you produce greater results in your business –
Feel free to contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, subject “Hungry For Coaching” or call my cell phone at 916-224-5626, but don’t be surprised if it’s turned off! For your free coaching session email or call (916)224-5626
Here is a link to the AUDIO RECORDING: http://www.box.net/shared/cpv92at9ip