Week 11: 2018 [Spring Cleaning: Time Management Review]

This week will be the first week of Spring for 2018. What does that mean to us as business owners or entrepreneurs. Well, hopefully not much if we planned for it and potentially chaos if we haven’t. Time Management is so critical for personal and business success. This fact combined with Q1 2018 winding down makes for an excellent week of Time Management Review.

Here’s a suggested review process for taking on that very task; Time Management.

  1. Do we even have a time management plan? There were times in my life when I didn’t have one and things were actually just fine. Yet, as I got older and more opportunities came my way not having a time management plan wasn’t a viable option. If I was to continue down that path it was clear that I would lose more than I’d gain. That wasn’t the math I wanted. So, if you don’t have a time management plan – get one – quickly! If you do, then this is the time for reviewing the effectiveness and efficiency of that plan. The rest of the post shares my process that has evolved and continues to evolve with mentors. It’s a bit of a system,  prioritizing, prepping, planning, performing, and processing. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of the system. Feel free to make adjustments for your own personality.
  2. Prioritize time over money – this is the first step. If I’m prioritizing money over time then I’ll never have enough time. Why? Well, my decisions, without realizing it, will focus on chasing the biggest money. That’s what will drive my actions. Sure I might win. Yet, I’ll be missing the bigger picture and that’s really what time management is about. The bigger picture is the simple fact that time is finite and money is fluid. I will and for that matter you will never gain more time. None of us know how much time we have left. As morbid as that can sound its a universal fact for all of us regardless of status or how much money we have in our bank accounts. When we tap into effective use of time by protecting it with a time management system there’s an interesting byproduct. More money and more opportunities come our way.
  3. Prioritize health over money – this is the second step. What? Just a second! I can hear the screams, “Okay, I get the time finite thing but why am I putting health in front of money? I’m in business?” Without health we won’t work. Without functioning we won’t produce. Without producing things (products/services) people won’t pay our businesses.
  4. Prioritize personal over business – this is the third step. If we don’t set a limit where we put our personal life over the business one then we’re setting ourselves up to fail. We will succeed in business, fail at life, and feel empty. The emptiness will turn into loneliness. That is never fun. I’m going to fill you in on a little secret. Many of these people who preach that a business owner never stops working, or that we have to put in sixteen hour days. Is not doing either of those things. On the other side. of the advice curve, those preaching that they’re only working four hours aren’t doing that either. This is a fluid thing because there will be times when a business will steal time from our personal lives. We just can’t let that be every day.
  5. With those three priorities as guides we can now move to Prepping. This is where I see most people drop the ball. It is important for me to take at least thirty minutes and up to an hour to think about the week ahead. It’s even more important to do this when I’m relaxed. For me, I do this on Sunday. That’s why I write these weekly reviews and post them on Sunday. It’s a by-product of my prep for the week. Most important – an output in the form of content gets produced. Finally, it is productive. It’s important to do the prep before the week starts or I’ll set myself up to fail by having to tackle it first thing Monday morning. Most important there’s an actual immediate tangible result to the intangible work of prepping.
  6. Planning. This is really where we have to make personal adjustments. One of my mentors over twenty-years ago helped me by saying, “Make sure you do three major things a day!” That has been so helpful. It means that even on a slow week 21 important things get accomplished. This is no small thing. For a year that’s 1,095 important things done in a year – as a minimum. 1,098 in a leap year. Of course, I tend to get more than three things done. However, on a low energy day or a sick one I still get three major things done. A long walk might change my energy and change my attitude. Taking care of myself will certainly get me to the other side of being sick sooner than later. Remember nothing will ever go as planned. The important part of planning is of course using it as a guide for the day. If something throws us off by simply looking at the plan we can become more grounded and make better decisions.
  7. Performing. We don’t get judged on our intentions. We get judged on our actions and what we produce. That’s really important for a business owner to keep in the forefront of our minds. Making sure that we’re servicing our customer base is a daily priority for all business owners. Those are the people we work for. People that become entrepreneurs because of wanting to work for themselves quickly understand the naiveté of that concept. We always are working for and servicing someone or something.
  8. Processing. For me I enjoy doing this when the week comes to an end. For me my primary work schedule is Sunday through Thursday. The weekends for me fall on Friday and Saturday. I love writing about the week. What got done? What slipped through the cracks? Did I set my priorities for the week properly? Where is my effectiveness level increasing? How do I bump up my game for the next week? What if any bad habits need attention and adjustment? Then, I sit with that for a few days and start the process over again.

There’s certainly not one right or wrong way for time management and I hope sharing mine helps you to either create one, adjust one, or share with me some of your secrets..

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