“Nine-tenths of wisdom consists in being wise with time.” Theodore Roosevelt
- 80% of the outputs result from 20% of the inputs
- 80% of the results come from 20% of the effort and time
- Which 20% of sources are resulting in 80% of my desired outcomes?
- A task will swell in (perceived) importance and complexity in relation to the time allotted for its completion. Work expands to meet the time allotted.
- Since we have 8 hours to fill, we fill 8 hours. If we had 15, we would fill 15. If we have an emergency and need to suddenly leave work in 2 hours but have pending deadlines, we miraculously complete those assignments in 2 hours.
Effective vs. Efficient
- Effectiveness is doing the things that get you closer to your goals.
- Efficiency is performing a given task (whether important of not) in the most economical manner possible.
- Being efficient without regard to effectiveness is the default mode of the universe.
- Doing something unimportant well does not make it important.
- Requiring a lot of time does not make a task important.
- What you do is infinitely more important than how you do it.
- Focus on the few things that produce the most benefit (80/20 items).
Urgent vs. Important
- Emergencies are seldom that. People are poor judges of importance and inflate minutiae to fill time and feel important.
- We have a tendency to spend more time on urgent matters (firefighting, crisis, emails, returning phone calls) vs. investing time in important matters (planning, prevention, relationship building).
- If we are not careful we can waste entire days being reactive to incoming calls, meetings and emails.
Activity vs. Results
- Being busy is often a form of laziness—lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.
- Most things people work on make no difference.
- Respect results with the least possible effort. Never substitute effort for accomplishment.
- There is no necessary correlation between how busy you are and how productive you are. Being busy isn’t the same as being productive.
- Don’t tell me how busy you are—tell me what you get done.
Pay vs. Non-Pay Activities
- The overwhelming majority of our day should be focused on pay-activities.
- Guard your time militantly; every minute of the day is potential for growing your business/income
- Non-pay activities: internal meetings, internal emails, internal reports, wasting time on the Internet, talking with low potential brokers.
- Pay activities: prospecting, phone or face to face meetings with high potential brokers, solving problems for high potential brokers.
- Business owner mentality: if you were the owner of this business how would you invest your time this week?
Values based time management
- What are the 3 things that mean the most to you in life?
- Now next to each write down the amount of time you spend on it each week.
- Does our weekly time investment line up with the things that matter most to us?
- No amount of success at work can make up for failure at home.
- Don’t allow your time to get eaten up with responsibilities and projects that call for skills that fall outside your core competencies. That is a recipe for mediocrity.
- Narrow your focus to increase your productivity and expand your influence within your organization.
- Identify the areas in which you are most likely to add unique value to your organization—then leverage your skills to their absolute max.
- Work only on things that make a great deal of difference if you succeed.
Good is the enemy of great
- Everything is a trade off. Doing one thing means you can’t do another.
- Most of our time is spent on good things but not necessarily the best things. The good things in life are often the enemy of the best things in life.
- Most time choices aren’t necessarily between good or bad but between good, better, best.
- Invest as much time in making stop doing lists as you do in making to do lists.
- Great Question: In light of my past experiences, my current responsibilities, and my future goals, what is the wisest way to invest my time?
Cumulative value of time
- Investing small amounts of time over a long period is similar to compounding interest
- What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while
- Life is a series of daily habits
- Neglect has a cumulative effect
- There is no cumulative value to the urgent things that we allow to interfere with the important things
- Examples; exercising just 30 mins/day, eating right, investing in relationships, reading everyday
Loose change time
- Successful people use small bits of time better than the less successful.
- Examples; leaving meetings first, listening to podcasts while exercising, listening to books on CD in the car, reading vs. TV, writing down ideas when they come to you.
Business owner mentality
- Self-employed mentality: the business owns you; immersed in the minutiae…control freak.
- Business owner mentality: you develop delegation systems so that the business runs itself.
- Remove yourself as an information/decision making bottleneck and empower others.
Ideas for increasing your effectiveness
- The night before work or first thing in the morning develop a list of 3-5 things that are the highest possible priorities relative to the greatest impact on your goals. This requires critical thinking at a macro-level…think big picture.
- Only check email a couple times per day. E-mail is the biggest time suck of our day.
- Avoid time wasters; “I have a meeting in 5 minutes, how can I help you?”
- What are the 20% of your efforts that are yielding 80% of your results?
- Create a stop doing list with the efforts that are not paying off.
- Invest as much time in making stop doing lists as you do in making to do lists
- Delegate everything that can be delegated, empower others to gain leverage.
- Carefully qualify each prospect or account and make sure they have enough potential for you to invest your time in. Don’t waste time on unqualified or low potential accounts. If you find yourself on a call with a low potential or unqualified account, find a way to get off the call quickly.
Questions to ask yourself at least 3 times per day
- Am I being productive or just active?
- Am I inventing things to do to avoid the important?
- If this is the only thing I accomplish today, will I be satisfied with my day?
The Law of Diminishing Intent: Time kills all good ideas that are not acted upon quickly.