I was listening to an ‘Online Marketing Made Easy’ podcast the other morning, with Amy Portfield interviewing Ed Mylett talking about his new Book, ‘The Power of One More,’ when he spoke about his approach to time. As he said, with our technology today, which enables us to do so much more in a period than, say 100 years ago, do we really need to be measuring time the same way as we have for thousands of years, or should we look at time differently.
He splits each day into three and schedules his time accordingly, saying that he gets a great energy boost and a lot more done with this “3 days in 24 hours” approach.
It’s a great interview and well worth listening too (link here if interested), and I picked up a copy of the book, too, which covers a lot of good stuff.
The point he makes is that although time is a constant, it feels like a variable with it appearing to go much more quickly or more slowly, depending on what we’re doing and feeling. Furthermore, when we’re tired, stressed, depressed, etc., our mind simply cannot process as efficiently and it takes longer to get things done, too.
Conversely, we’ve all had those days where we are, in effect, ‘firing on all cylinders’ and get a huge amount of work done in the same length of time. What if we could repeat that level of productivity every day?
Ed’s basic premise is that by splitting his waking day into 3 six-hour days, it adds a level of urgency to each day and he can get a lot more done. He emphasises the continued need for work-life balance in all of this and simply compresses all activities into shorter, more intense time periods to accomplish more.
So, how do you get that sense of urgency working for you?
Firstly, remember the old adage, “Never put off until tomorrow what you can accomplish today.” We’re all inclined to put off tasks we don’t really like until the last possible moment (remember ‘cramming’ for exams at school?). However, if we tackle our tasks as they come along and don’t delay, there won’t be the tension of impending deadlines and the stress of now having to get the thing done – it’ll be out of the way already.
Secondly, think about your routine. There’s increasing evidence that a morning routine is really important. That’s not to say it has to be the same for everyone – it’s your routine, after all – but it’s important to have a structure with which to start the day. Ideally it should be one of reflection and thought, thinking about your goals, your priorities for the day ahead, and just some quiet time before the day’s rush. Stay away from your phone, email, television, etc., for this period.
For many people, starting the day with exercise is a good way to get energised, too (I typically listen to a podcast while doing this and get a lot of useful ideas this way as my mind is relaxed).
The third item to help your sense of urgency is measurement. Remember, “Measure What Matters.” Your own goals matter as much as anything in your business, so measure your performance against them – frequently. Doing so enables you to adjust your course more easily if needed: just as when driving, it’s much easier to reach your destination if you realise you’ve made a wrong turn just after that’s happened, than a long way later. People like the performance expert Zig Ziglar recommend doing so at least weekly.
And then, of course, is your focus – it needs to be on the future, not the past. Just as we drive a car looking mainly at what lies ahead, while keeping a look out behind and to the side to avoid the unexpected, so your own focus should be on the future, too. The past is gone and cannot be changed, and dwelling on it robs you of energy, time and the ability to dream and make plans. Whether your past has bad memories, great memories or a mix, you need to process it and not spend time thinking about it. Focus on what you can change – the future. You’ll have more time and energy.
With your energy focused and a sense of urgency, you now need to focus on your task list. Do you really need to do them all yourself, or can your delegate many of them? The matrix approach (sometimes called the Eisenhower box / matrix) is a great tool here, helping you to separate the urgent from the important and then, depending on the levels of each for every task, deciding what to delegate, ditch completely, do later and do now.
Look at your meeting schedule – do you really need to attend them all (whether face-to-face or virtual)? Many meetings have long lists of invited attendees, but few of the people need to be in them. Develop a culture where only those people involved in the information sharing and decision making need to be in a meeting. Others who need to be informed can be on the post-meeting notes that should always be circulated after a meeting to ensure there are no differences in understanding what was decided. You’ll save your business countless wasted hours with this approach.
Having focused your task list and meeting schedule, set aside blocks of time for your work: blocks where you can work without interruption.
Turn your phone off (or put it on silent, face down, so you’re not distracted by messages) and stop your computer pinging you whenever a new email arrives (if you’re not using rules and alerts to sort out your email you should change that!). Make sure the room’s not too warm, or noisy, so you can concentrate, and don’t try to multitask – it simply doesn’t work.
When you’re working on a task and distracted it can take 20-25 minutes to get back to where you were, and trying to multitask means all tasks take, on average, 80% longer. Some research cited in this article suggest, in fact, that work interruptions can cost a person as much as 6 hours per day!
Finally, make sure you schedule periods of thinking time into your week. You need time to be able to think about your business, your market, goals, ideas, and so on – whether sitting quietly somewhere or strolling in a quiet setting (a park, or on the beach, perhaps). This frees your mind and encourages creativity – something really important for business leaders (ever noticed how often a great idea comes to you in the shower?).
By thinking differently about time, developing a sense of urgency and focus, you’ll accomplish more than you could have imagined, enjoy your work more, have more energy and more free time, too, and your business will no longer “own you.”
I work with successful owner-led businesses to enhance their growth, profitability and business value.
If you’d like to have a conversation about your business objectives and concerns, book a free 30-minute call with me here. I’d be delighted to talk with you.
#BusinessFitness #Action #Attitude #Culture #Delegation #Focus #JobSatisfaction #Leadership #Management #Motivation #Overwhelm #Planning #Productivity #WorkLifeBalance
If you’d like to learn more, these related posts might help:
- Does Your Business Own You, Or Do You Own It?
- Why Am I So Busy But Can’t Seem to Get Anything Done?
- Are You Scheduling Me Time Into Your Day?
- 12 Signs You’re Overwhelmed in Your Business
- “Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time’ is to say ‘I don’t want to do.’ ” – Lao Tzu
- OKR – Measuring What Matters
- Drive your Business by Looking Through the Windscreen Not the Rear-View Mirror