We’re almost approaching the end of 2014. What have you got done this year, and what will you get done during 2015?
I must confess, I used to be terrible at managing my time. And even now, whilst I manage my time fiercely, I still have to work at it. There’s no short cut. It takes real discipline to ruthlessly manage your time. However, what I do know is that there is a VERY high correlation between success and how well a business owner manages their time. Ultimately, the more you get done, the more successful you’ll be. Of course, you can be a busy fool. But the more time you give yourself to improve your business, your own development and the people around you—the more successful you’ll be.
But time is ALWAYS against you. Don’t you feel that the older you get, the quicker time passes? I’m not sure why this is, but each year seems to pass more quickly than the previous one. The days, weeks and months seem to roll into one, and before you know it 6 months have passed. You’re left wondering, ‘Where did thetime go?’
Now that’s okay as long as you plan your year out AND manage your time ruthlessly. However, most people spend more time planning their holidays than planning THEIR YEAR AHEAD.
If you plan - you get more done, much more done. If you fail to plan and set goals, it’s surprising how little you’ll accomplish.
All the high achievers and successful people in this world identify planning and goal-setting as a major contributor to their success.
Why? Because in addition to giving them a clear roadmap, it also helps them plan their daily/weekly/monthly schedules, and effective management of time enables them to get more work done in a week than most other people get done in a month.
Now, I’m not going to spend any time talking about goal-setting (I’ve covered this before), but what I’d like to talk about are a few proven tips and strategies I’ve learned along the way, which have made me “one of the most prolific ‘work machines’ on the planet” (not my own words!). I promise you, getting stuff done is a crucial skill you can learn—but one that will ensure you reach your goals and dreams quicker than you ever thought possible. But mark my words…
None of this is easy. You have to be selfish with your time. People around you will NOT like it (until you’ve ‘trained’ them in your new ways). You’ll find it easy to slip back into your bad habits, but you must fight, and fight hard, to stay the course. Of all the main attributes surrounding success, managing your time effectively, whilst not easy to do, is certainly one of the easiest to acquire and develop.
It’s also something that isn’t often associated with growing a business, but effective
management of your time is a very potent weapon (and, conversely, poor management of time can be a real business growth inhibitor).
The good news is that you can significantly improve your output if you follow my simple ‘5 Key Time-Management Tips For High Performers’.
So here are my key Time-Management Tips:
Planning: Plan each month and then each week and then each day based on your goals.
The key here is to establish what you need to do each month to accomplish your goals.
Then break these tasks down to weekly and then daily tasks. You must always prioritise these ‘goal-orientated tasks’ before ‘general tasks’.
You’re probably thinking—this will take a lot of thought and time to plan out. You’re right. It does. That’s why so few people do it. That’s why so few people succeed in life.
Do not underestimate the power of carrying out this first step—it is the key to your success.
Work During Your High-Performance Times: You’ll get much more done in times when your body is alert and active.
For me, this time is 5.30am-1pm and 8pm-11pm (but you’ll know when you’re at your best). The worst times are generally after eating! My performance drops significantly after lunch. So I do all my writing in the mornings and other less important work in the afternoons.
It’s during these high-performance times that you should carry out your ‘Goal-Orientated Tasks’. This one step alone will improve your output significantly—so make sure you only allocate this time to the important tasks!
Use the less productive times for ‘general tasks’ and meetings.
Here’s why using your high-performance time is so important…
1. Since our minds are more active and fresh, we can get more done.
2. Concentrating on the task at hand is much easier.
3. Our creative juices are flowing when our minds are more active and alert.
Block Out Your High-Performance Times: Next, make sure you block out your high-performance times and under no circumstances let other things get in the way.
Again, this is key to your success. Treat your high-performance times as compulsory appointments (in other words, you can’t cancel them).
If you have a secretary or PA, make sure they understand these ‘appointments’ are never to be broken and replaced with anything else.
Resist All Distractions: During your high-performance times, turn off your mobile, take your office phone off the hook and don’t open your e-mail programme.
Even one interruption can set you back an extra 15-30 minutes, not including the time of the interruption.
This does take a high level of discipline. In the early days you’ll find the temptation of leaving your phone or e-mail programme on hard to resist, but I promise you, if you cave in, this will slash your effectiveness by at least 50%.
Once you force yourself to reduce your distractions to zero, you’ll find it very liberating!
For example, as I’m writing this newsletter, it’s 8.52am. My phone is turned off. My e-mail is turned off. I am NOT contactable by anyone (not even my wife, no matter how hard she tries! - although now ‘she gets it’ so doesn’t bother).
Seriously, this one discipline will make a massive difference to how much work you get done. Not one in 100,000 people have the mindset to do this, so mastering it will put you on a productivity level way above 98% of people around the globe.
Tell Staff (and Family): You must explain to staff and family that, unless it’s an emergency, you are not to be disturbed during your high-performance times.
If your wife (or husband) is anything like mine, it will take time for them to realize you’re serious about this. Helen didn’t even think she used to interrupt me, so every time she did, I made a note of it. That did the trick!!
By adhering to these 5 key time-management tips, I guarantee you’ll get so much more done. This translates to greater income and more success.
The important thing is to discipline yourself. If it was easy to do these things, everyone would be doing them. The fact is, most people lack real discipline. And getting a high volume of stuff done requires real discipline. You can do it if you put your mind to it. But you have to work hard at it!