The other day I was listening to an interview with a lawyer who was talking about the strategies big companies employ when doing large merges and acquisitions. He described an incredibly complicated process which included moving sizable sums of money to off-shore accounts and partnering with and sometimes buying other companies in Europe to avoid tax implications.
I was fascinated by the complexity of the maneuvering he described. As I listened, I just kept thinking, holy-moly this guy is smart. I mean to keep track of all of those moving pieces must take incredible knowledge and organization. How can one person know so much? Where did he get the time to amass so much knowledge? And then it hit me…he made the time.
In order to master anything, you must make time to perfect your craft.
We all have the capacity to be masters, but very few of us have the discipline. This lawyer had obviously worked hard to become an expert in merges and acquisition law. How many hours had he spent at the library? How many law books and case studies did he read? And here’s the biggie. What did he have to give up to in order to do so? Where did he find the TIME?
The fact is, there are twenty-four hours in the day for each of us. What we do with those twenty-four nuggets of gold determines the course of our lives. Look at how someone spends their time and you will know get a very clear picture of what kind of person they are, how healthy they are, how much money they make and what they value.
What you focus on increases. If you want want to improve your health, you must focus on healthy activities. If you want better relationships, you must focus on the people you care about. And if you want to make a lot of money in your business, you must focus on the revenue-generating activities.
Most of us know this already, but the age-old question still remains, how do we find enough time?
There is only so much time, so how we organize and spend our day, each and every day is incredibly important if we want to reach our goals. All of us have good intentions, but life can make lots of demands on us. If we are not judicious about how we spend our time, our dreams may never come to fruition.
Here are a few tips to help you maximize your time:
1. Set your priorities. If you are not clear on what is most important to you, you will not know where to focus your energy. If building your business is a priority, you may skip girls night out to go to a networking event. Set your intentions so you know what actions to take.
2. Delegate. Make a list of everything you need or want to get done. Then look at the list and determine all the things that you and only you can do. These may be things like making sales calls, giving talks or tucking your kids into bed each night. Anything else on the list is something that can be delegated. Start to think about who can take those things off your plate so you can focus on your most important tasks.
3. Schedule everything. This may sound very restrictive, but in fact, it can be incredibly liberating. The more you can schedule, the more you will get done and that includes FUN activities. You must plan when you are going to do your newsletter, listen to the training course you bought online and go for a bike ride with your kids. When we put things on the calendar, they are way more likely to happen then when they swim around in our heads. This will move you closer to your goals much more quickly.
4. Plan to plan. Many of us tend to jam things on our calendar when they come up, but if you can carve out a distinct time to plan, you will be calmer and better able to make decisions about how you need and want to spend your time which will also give you better results.
5. Just do it. There is no clever advice here. You just have to do what needs to get done. There will be plenty of times you don’t feel like doing what you need to do. This is where the wheat separates from the chaff. Who wants to stay up until 1 am re-writing a sales pages? No one, but sometimes it has to get done. Either you want results or you don’t. Most of us squander our time trying to avoid unpleasant tasks when in reality, if we just plowed through and did them, we could spend more time doing the things we enjoy.
6. Value yourself. We tend to love to give, give, give of ourselves. We like to be helpful. As business owners, however, our time is very valuable, not just in terms of what tasks need to get done, but in terms of client access to our expertise. Very often we under value it by giving it away too freely. We stay on the phone an extra 15 minutes to finish up a call. We spend time giving free advice to a colleague. However, if you do not show you value your time, others will under value your expertise.
Time is like sunshine. We can harness it to make our lives run more efficiently and we certainly feel happier when there’s more of it around, but if we don’t respect it, we”ll get burned.
Your feedback is music to my ears!
What do you struggle with in managing your time?
Post your answers below in the comments or find me on Facebook.
If you would like to use this article on your website or ezine, feel free! Just be sure to include the following:Heather Poduska is a brand strategist, business coach and opera singer who helps entrepreneurs and small business owners create client attractive brands, polished brand images and brand communication strategies to increase their visibility and impact in the marketplace and grow their businesses.