Lack of time may be one of the most common excuses for why we feel stressed, don’t get more done or don’t do more of the things we love and which are most important to us BUT does it really need to be this way?
“There’s never enough time”…I’ve no time for this right now.”….
“I need to improve my time management”…. “I’ll do it when I have more time / the timing is better.”
“I’d love to do it but I’ve no time”…. I’d love more time with my family and friends and for doing more of what I love.”
THE PURPOSE OF THIS ARTICLE is to share some thoughts on TIME and how to use yours to multiply your productivity, performance and results and to get more of what you really want.
1, STOP TRYING TO “MANAGE TIME”
It’s not time that you need to manage. It’s you.
Time just is….we each get 24 hours in a day. It’s what we do with our time that matters. We need to manage our activities relative to whatever it is we want and this is a question of learning how to lead and manage ourselves.
2. CREATE 9 EXTRA 40 HOUR WEEKS IN YOUR YEAR
Getting up an hour early every day creates the equivalent of an extra nine full 40 hour weeks each year.
What could you achieve with this extra time? Write your book, start your own business, properly think about and plan the next phase of your business or your life, set up multiple streams of income, get in shape, create those new products or services you’ve been wanting to develop….?
Or you could use the time to get more done every day so you can spend 9 solid weeks with your children during the Summer!
3. WORK WITH A CLEAR AND COMPELLING GOAL IN MIND
The truth is that most people don’t know what is is they REALLY want and/or don’t have clearly defined goals.
Of those that do have goals, most set the wrong types of goals and therefore fail to achieve them or fail to experience the satisfaction and joy they thought would accompany the achievement of the goal.
Contrary to popular opinion, the true purpose of a worthy goal is not to get something, it’s to cause us to grow. Pursuing the right type of goal means going after something we don’t know how to achieve. It’s this that causes us to grow and this is also when we feel most alive, most fulfilled and most satisfied.
(N.B. When we’re pursuing the right type of goal, getting out of bed an hour earlier every day becomes easy!)
Being attached to the pursuit of our goal helps us govern our choices and to filter out non-productive, time-consuming activities mean ing we get more of the ‘right’ things done.
Clear and compelling goals serve as an overarching context for what we devote our time to….
We can ask and answer this question…..
“Does spending my time doing this move me in the direction of my goal?” Yes or No?
If it’s no; then it’s frequently OK to say no to doing it!
4. CONSIDER USING THE EISENHOWER MATRIX
The Eisenhower Matrix can be a really helpful tool for supporting us to make conscious choices on where we spend, invest or squander our time, energy and attention.
Created by the highly productive Dwight Eisenhower (U.S. President from 1953 to 1961) and popularised by ‘Effective Habits’ guru, Stephen Covey, the beauty of the Eisenhower Matrix lies in it’s utter simplicity.
Fairly self-explanatory; our various to-do’s and commitments can be placed in one of 4 boxes.
We can then see at a glance:
- why it makes sense not to spend (or squander) our time doing things in Box IV
- the benefits to be gained by outsourcing or delegating more of the time-sucking tasks that sit in Box II
- the sense in prioritising the tasks in Box I to get them done and out of the way.
- the massive returns to be gained from investing our time in Box III
Yet, even when armed with this perspective, how many of us consciously and deliberately set aside (sufficient) blocks of our time for doing what’s Important but not Urgent?
As we well know, the tasks or projects which are (most) Important but Not Urgent are invariably also the easiest to postpone, to procrastinate on and to make excuses (rather than valid reasons) for not having started or completed.
These could include……
Daily exercise, getting fit and losing weight, writing that book, completing a project, creating new products and services, building new distribution channels, developing oneself, starting the new business, multiplying your income, enjoying more time with family and friends etc. etc. and investing time in what is it you really want to be, do and have.
Box III stuff may not be urgent (until of course one day it really is) but the long-term cost of not investing sufficient time in Box III is MASSIVE!
OPPORTUNITY COST is without doubt one of the biggest costs (if not the biggest) in a business or in someone’s life but the problem is that until we understand this, it remains hidden – or gets pushed aside by all the other stuff in the other boxes.
However, if neglected for long enough, what’s (most) Important but Not Urgent can become MISSION CRITICAL or even FATAL and long-term neglect almost always leads to REGRET.
5. IMPROVE HOW YOU SCORE ON THE TEACHABILITY MATRIX
In simple terms the Teachability Matrix has two distinct elements:
- Our Willingness To Learn
- Our Willingness To (Accept) Change
Understanding this more thoroughly can be life-changing.
I won’t go into it in great depth here however other than to say that most who invest time and money in ‘learning’ a new skill or improving an existing one with a view to creating a better outcome don’t ever (fully) benefit because they don’t DO or apply what they’ve supposedly ‘learned’.
As such the time (and money) spent is of little or no real value.
Learning is really only learning when we step out and act on the new information, observe the new results of our actions and then integrate the new behaviour into our way of being so we continue to gain benefit…… this reflects our willingness to change.
Attending a seminar, reading a book, going on a course or reading blog articles like this one may be dressed up as ‘learning’ but unless the results change, it’s probably just time spent!
6. HAVE A CLEAR NOT TO DO LIST
The most successful people I’ve ever worked with have a very clear NOT TO DO LIST.
This hooks back to The Eisenhower Matrix but considering your NOT TO DO’s more deeply may unearth some interesting things.
One very successful entrepreneur I worked with had a philosophy that (out-with certain family-related tasks and activities) he would NEVER EVER DO ANYTHING he either did not enjoy or which he could pay someone else to do at a lower rate of pay than his own.
eg. If he could generate or was paying himself $1000 an hour, he wasn’t going to do anything himself that he could pay someone a lower rate of pay to do! (Makes perfect sense doesn’t it?)
In his case, his NOT TO DO’s included NOT changing lightbulbs in his own house – he paid someone else to do it because he valued his own time so much more.
7. LEARN HOW TO MASTER YOUR MIND
The blunt truth is that, for the most part, we are not in control of how we spend our time.
Some 96% – 98% of all our actions and behaviour are dictated by what’s going on in our subconscious mind… which is why we so often behave as we do and not as we want.
Our use of time, perspective, logic and productivity (amongst a raft of other things including our ability to earn money) are a function of our subconscious programmes, beliefs and Paradigms.
Typically installed in our subconscious at an early age through emotional impact and environmental conditioning and then re-enforced in later life through conditioning, experience and auto-suggestion, we act, behave and spend our time in accordance with our subconscious programmes and not in line with our conscious intentions.
For example, if we’ve been brought up to believe that success comes only as the result of long hours and hard work and have integrated this into our subconscious; this is likely to play out in our experience! And if we believe money is the root of all evil and is hard to earn, then it’s likely we’re not going to have that much of it circulating in our lives!
One of the biggest challenges we face is that whilst our beliefs may not be true, they become our truth!
And because we don’t understand that it’s our beliefs that are creating our reality, we keep unconsciously re-enforcing the beliefs which are keeping us stuck!
We may have conscious intentions to act and behave (and spend our time) differently with a view to achieving a better or different outcome but until we change our subconscious programmes (paradigms) to align with our desires and intentions, we’re going to continue to experience (and suffer) the consequences of our false beliefs and our Knowing:Doing gaps.
Our knowing:doing gaps literally steal hours of our time each day and if we let them, they will continue to deny us the results in life that we really want AND KNOW WE ARE CAPABLE OF!
Here’s an example:
My (conscious) intentions are to:
- Spend one full day a week in Box III of The Eisenhower Matrix working on “that project”.
- Get up at 6 am every day.
- Go to the gym 4 times a week, eat healthily and lose weight.
- Say no to doing the daily trivia and the things that don’t move me towards my goal
- Start my own business this year.
My subconscious programming / paradigms intentions are telling me:
- I don’t have time for Box III, the other boxes are more important right now.
- I’m tired and need the extra time in bed. I’ll start on Monday.
- I don’t really have time for the gym. I need to get to the office, I was travelling so couldn’t eat healthily.
- I had to say yes – they really needed my time and input and it needed to get done.
- The timing isn’t quite right. Maybe when the kids are through school or when I’ve got the money.
Thankfully we can change our subconscious programming and paradigms to align with whatever it is we really want. We can change them to enable us to become massively more productive and effective, to get more done in a week than we now get done in a month and to achieve our biggest goals and dreams and live a happier, healthier and wealthier life.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can “Master Your Mind To Achieve The Results You Really Want”, you can register to attend one of my free upcoming events by clicking on one of the links below:
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now.”
– Chinese Proverb