At some point in your life, you've probably taken a time management class, read about it in a book, or used an electronic or paper-based day planner to organize, prioritize and schedule your day. So why is it that you’re still not getting everything done or falling behind?
The answer is simple. Everything you ever learned about managing time is a complete waste of time because it doesn't work. And here’s why…
Before you can even begin to manage time, you must learn what time is. A dictionary defines time as "the point or period at which things occur." Put simply, time is when stuff happens.
Clock Time vs Real Time
There are two types of time: Clock Time and Real Time. In Clock Time, there are 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day and 365 days in a year. All time passes equally. When someone turns 50, they are exactly 50 years old, no more or no less.
In Real Time, all time is relative. Time flies or drags depending on who you’re talking to or what you're doing. Two hours at the Department of Motor Vehicles can feel like five years. And yet our 5-year-old child seems to have grown up in only two hours.
Do You Live in Clock Time or Real Time?
So which time describes the world in which you really live, Real Time or Clock Time?
The reason time management gadgets and systems don't work is that these systems are designed to manage Clock Time. Clock Time is irrelevant. You don't live in it. You live in Real Time, a world in which all time flies when you are having fun or drags when you are doing your taxes.
The good news is that Real Time is all mental. You create it in your own mind and it can change from day to day. And the best news is, anything you create, you can manage.
So it's time to stop using excuses like, "I don’t have enough time," or saying today is not "the right time" to start a business or manage your current business properly.
There are only three ways to spend time: Thoughts, Conversations, and Actions. Regardless of the type of business you own, your work will be composed of those three items.
As an entrepreneur, you may be frequently interrupted or pulled in different directions. While you cannot eliminate interruptions altogether, you do get a say on how much time you will spend on them and how much time you will spend on the Thoughts, Conversations, and Actions that will lead you to success.
Become The Master of Your Own Time!
Carry a notebook to record all your Thoughts, Conversations and Activities for just one week. This will help you understand how much you can get done during the course of a day and where your precious moments are going. You'll be surprised at how much time is actually spent producing results and how much time is wasted on unproductive Thoughts, Conversations, and Actions.
Any Activity or Conversation that's important to your success should have a time assigned to it. To-Do lists usually get longer and longer to the point where they're unworkable. Appointment books work. Schedule appointments with yourself and create time blocks for high-priority Thoughts, Conversations, and Actions. Schedule when they will begin and end. Have the discipline to keep these appointments.
Plan to spend at least 50 percent of your time engaged in the Thoughts, Activities, and Conversations that produce most of your results.
Schedule time for interruptions. Plan time to be pulled away from what you're doing.
Take the first 30 minutes of every day to plan your day. Don't start your day until you complete your time plan. The most important time of your day is the time you schedule to schedule time.
Take five minutes before every call and task to decide what result you want to attain. This will help you know what success looks like before you start. And it will also slow time down. Take five minutes after each call and activity to determine whether your desired result was achieved. If not, what was missing? How do you put what's missing in your next call or activity?
Put up a "Do Not Disturb" sign when you absolutely have to get work done.
Practice not answering the phone just because it's ringing, and e-mails just because they show up. Disconnect instant messaging. Don't instantly give people your attention unless it's absolutely crucial in your business or the task at hand, to offer an immediate human response. Instead, schedule a time to answer email and return phone calls.
Block out other distractions like Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, and other forms of social media unless you use these tools to generate business.
Remember that it's impossible to get everything done in just one day. Also remember that odds are good that 20 percent of your Thoughts, Conversations and Activities produce 80 percent of your results.