This post is a result of many cries from my readers that I hear day in and out – WHERE DOES THE TIME GO?!
There’s so much to learn; our to-do lists are ever-growing and never-shrinking; our heads are spinning; and there’s no end in sight.
And I am no different – that’s how I feel many a day myself.
Being a doer by nature though, I rolled up my sleeves (wait, what sleeves? It’s been in the 80’s for a couple of weeks now here in Southern AZ – top that!) and started researching at least one aspect of this overwhelming issue – so much to do, so little time – TIME MANAGEMENT.
If we learn where our time goes, how we allocate it during the day (because, let’s face it – we can have a schedule all we want, but things come up all the time), we might be able to learn how to control it better that we do now.
So here are the two time management strategies that have helped me tremendously to learn more about where my time goes and how to make it count.
Time Management Strategy that Stood the Test of Time
I’m reminded of a story about Charles Schwab… He was the guy that ran Andrew Carnegie’s massive business back in the 1897 and was paid $1 Million a year… when $1 Million a year was a LOT of money.
(I pulled the story from this source.)
One day a management consultant, Ivy Lee, called on Schwab of the Bethlehem Steel Company.
Lee outlined briefly his firm’s services, ending with the statement: “With our service, you’ll know how to manage better.”
The indignant Schwab said, “I’m not managing as well now as I know how. What we need around here is not more “knowing”, but more doing, not knowledge, but action; if you can give us something to pep us up to do the things we ALREADY KNOW we ought to do, I’ll gladly listen to you and pay you anything you ask.”
“Fine”, said Lee. “I can give you something in twenty minutes that will step up your action and doing at least 50 percent”.
“O.K.”, said Schwab. “I have just about that much time before I must leave to catch a train. What’s your idea?”
Lee pulled a blank 3×5 note sheet out of his pocket, handed it to Schwab and said: “Write on this sheet the five most important tasks you have to do tomorrow”. That took about three minutes.
“Now”, said Lee, “number them in the order of their importance”. Five more minutes pass.
“Now”, said Lee, “put this sheet in you pocket and the first thing tomorrow morning look at item one and start working on it. Pull the sheet out of your pocket every 15 minutes and look at item one until it is finished. Then tackle item two in the same way, then item three. Do this until quitting time. Don’t be concerned if you only finished two or three, or even if you only finish one item. You’ll be working on the important ones. The others can wait. If you can’t finish them all by this method, you couldn’t with another method either, and without some system you’d probably not even decide which are most important”.
“Spend the last five minutes of every working day making out a “must ” list for the next day’s tasks. After you’ve convinced yourself of the worth of this system have your men try it. Try it out as long as you wish and then send me a check for what YOU think it’s worth”.
The whole interview lasted about twenty-five minutes.
In two weeks Schwab set Lee a check for $25,000 – a thousand dollars a minute.
He added a note saying the lesson was the most profitable from a money standpoint he had every learned.
Did it work?
In five years it turned the unknown Bethlehem Steel Company into the biggest independent steel producer in the world; made Schwab a hundred million dollar fortune, and the best known steel man alive at that time.
The key part of that story is this:
“What we need around here is not more “knowing” but more doing, not knowledge but action; if you can give us something to pep us up to do the things we ALREADY KNOW we ought to do, I’ll gladly listen to you and pay you anything you ask.”
Time Management Strategy that Stood the Test of Days
Now that we are inspired and pumped up (I love reading this story!), let me tell you how I started tracking my time to see where the holes are and what needs to change.
Actually, after I made the video, I thought to myself – why stop at your business time tracking?
If a neighbor stops by to borrow a cup of sugar, you can put that into the system as well. That way you know not only your productive time, but also what distracts you the most – and FIX IT.
Remember that Sunday Coffee with Ana post, where I challenged you to start thinking about how you are planning on separating your business from the crowds and coming up with better ways to monetize your online business?
I’ve had a lot of questions as to what I was going to do to take my blog to another level – and to make my business make more money while running much more efficiently than it does now.
Here are some things I’ve done so far:
- Redesigned the blog to give it a more updated look and to increase conversions. I am still in the process of split testing, tweaking, and improving – the part of running a business is never ending.
- Just cut down (most likely temporarily) on how many posts per week I publish. I am now on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday publishing schedule. Tuesdays and Thursdays are reserved for great guest posts, which between me and you, are hard to come by. You see it as a challenge? Glad you hear it. Submit your guest post here.
- I now offer services, which I wasn’t doing before. So if you are in the mood to have your blog taken apart piece by piece and then put back together to make a much healthier one or are dying to pick my brain for a hour over Skype on any traffic generation topics you wish, I am all yours.
- Of course, there’s a lot more brewing in this head of mine and you’ll be the first to know as I come up with new things. 🙂
As you chisel away at tasks that HAVE TO be done, make sure you:
1. Turn off Twitter, Facebook, Skype, etc.
2. Turn off your phone/cell phone (I do – or just ignore it).
3. Tell you neighbors that you don’t keep sugar in the house.
4. Ask your prospects/clients to make appointments.
5. Have a steaming hot pot of coffee ready.
I am sure I forgot a few “efficiency increasing” tricks and I am sure you’ll tell me about them down in the comments, but remember: keep “lock the kids in the closet” suggestions to yourselves!
Image source: http://www.jestbuzz.com/
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