Controversial time management strategy
Time is a bitch. It passes no matter what. You can’t control the speed your days go by, but you can control what you do with those days. However, we’re all familiar with the usual time management strategies of yesterday. “Make a to-do list and do the things on the list.” Tale as old as time, as they say. Let’s actually innovate in the realm of time management, shall we?
Drop your to-do list
Yes, I’m ready to be bold here. The to-do list works very well for a lot of people, but for others, it just doesn’t work. And that’s simply because you can’t select what really matters. It’s very easy to add things to a to-do list and make a day more overwhelming than it has to be.
A great to-do list should have as few tasks as possible on it. A good exercise is to categorize your tasks as urgent vs important. And of course, you have to do the important stuff first, not the most urgent. If something has to be done because it’s urgent, you’ll find a way to do it anyway. Things that really matter long term are a different deal though. I think it’s Dan Sullivan who originally came up with this.
And of course, the big mistake people make is to plan the tasks to be done first, before you take care of yourself. However, it’s like putting your car on the road without any fuel. If you are not taken care of, your productivity will suffer. Plan self care first.
Rewards and punishments
Most people will go to the movies, golfing or do any other fun stuff after they’ve completed their tasks of the day. And without fail, the tasks drag on until there is no time left. Fun or self care shouldn’t be seen as a reward. It should be mandatory.
It’s the same with food. Some people will abstain from their favourite foods and then binge on them for a couple of weeks. And how does that approach work? Not that great. Everybody can make temporary sacrifices. A very small portion of these people can actually sustain their behaviours.
If suddenly you decide that your business is the absolute priority and that your life is going to take a back seat, you will burn out in a few weeks. When you plan out a business strategy that demands a lot of work from you, make sure to assign time for the fun stuff as well. Who starts a business for slavery?
Now let’s go the day where jack shit gets done. Boy am I familiar with this one. I can usually trace it back to being pissed off, and not finding meaning for what I do. In the past, I wanted to punish myself to make this kind of experience even worse… If it worked, I’d be a millionaire by now, but I’m not, so I wouldn’t recommend it.
The experience of being unproductive and busy is already terrible. There is absolutely no need to make it worse. Generally, I would say you need something to get you in a different state of mind so why not take a break and come back refreshed?
You can’t really know how effective you are until you measure a few things. You don’t need a fancy software for that by the way. At the end of your day you can actually look at how much you got done, and what you learned.
It’s when we don’t manage our time well that we learn a lot of lessons. Be careful not to make up excuses for being ineffective, but there are probably lessons to learn. Is your work environment ideal? What meaning do you draw from your work? There are plenty of questions to ask yourself at the end of an unproductive day.
The best thing to measure is the number of interruptions you get. There is no higher time waster than an interruption, in my humble opinion at least. When you’re in the zone and productive, you can waste valuable hours if you are interrupted. Make sure to identify the interruptions and find solutions for them.
Talking of interruptions, social media is the worst thing for that. Now what if you actually need to spend time on social media to grow your business? I say plan a couple of half-hour segments on social media to interact with people and do what you’re supposed to do. When it’s done, make an effort not to return on social media before the next half-hour segment.
For some people, social media is actually pleasurable time. I actually enjoy interacting with people there. I’m aware of the number of hours it takes away, but if you have quality interactions, you can build your network or get clients on social media so the return on investment can be big. You just need dedicated time for it. Yes, you can call that work, isn’t that great?
Plan the unplanned
A good time manager will have most of their calendar full, with business and fun stuff, but he’ll have most of his days scripted. However, shit happens. That means you can build in some flexibility in your calendar to make room for shit to happen. That can be a completely free slot to allow you to move things around.
And if shit doesn’t happen? Great, you can do pretty much anything you feel like doing in that slot. That helps you feel free.
A highly underrated skill as an entrepreneur is the ability to forgive yourself. You’re no longer a child. There is no need for a reward and punishment system in order to help you manage your time. Instead you should create a great environment, and make sure your business is a process of growing more of what you already have, not sacrificing what you love most.
And if you actually want a business that sets you free and allows you to take care of your body and loved ones, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/breakthebonds/