"Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent, and not enough time on what is important." - Steven Covey
In a survey I created a few weeks ago I asked 100,000 business professionals what the #1 challenge is running their businesses and it was a close tie between dealing with other business people and time management. Let’s talk about time management and what I’ve found to be a quick solution.
When we look back at Benjamin Franklin's autobiography we get a great outline of what his day would look like if stayed on course and his main focus was the pursuit of "Order".
Taking a look at President Eisenhower we can look at his process of four. Urgent-important items were dealt with immediately. Urgent-unimportant items were delegated. Not urgent-important items were entered into a calendar. Not urgent-unimportant items were minimized or eliminated.
Diving into the famous author, consultant, and thought leader Peter Drucker famously said that the "not only where to spend their time but also—just as importantly—where not to spend it".
And more recently the author Tim Ferris suggests that we should all reduce time spent on the phone and checking email.
All of these people are right, yet I’ve simplified it one step further. The key to getting done what I need to get done and still have time to do other things that aren’t as important has been my Rule Of 3.
It’s not a groundbreaking idea, it’s simple and actionable. You start with making 3 segments on a piece of paper and then add them to your calendar once you know what each section is.
Here’s how you do it. Every day you set time for all three. To start you have to set time to think and create. This is the time you use to think about your business, your family, and yourself. This time is there to help you reflect and grow. I usually have a journal with me that I write in or google docs open because that’s when I start writing ideas and processes down. This can be set into the morning or evening routine or it can be a separate time. I personally have 30-60 min a day for this every day. It’s my most creative time.
Next, you set time for your priorities. Not just your goals, but the actual steps that you need to take to make your goals and vision happen. I have a google doc that I created that our teams use to make sure we keep our priorities in front of us daily. (Here is the document if you need it). Priorities are those things that are the most important part of getting you to where you need to get to. For example, if you are working on your health then this is where you set time to workout, if it’s for marketing then it’s time you set time to grow your plan and act on it, if it’s for your startup then it’s time you set to growing it and taking the action steps to make it profitable. You know what your priorities are, you just have to take the time to outline them and write the action plans that are needed for each one.
Lastly, I set time to do all of the other things I missed, which I call my Catch All time. I have two sections for this. One in the AM and one in the PM. This is where I check my voicemail, my texts that I missed, my email, my social media, and anything else that I may have missed or that I need to get to. It’s the catch all and I set a time for it so I know that I will get to it during that time. This one thing has probably been the most important part of getting things done that need to get done. By knowing that I have a time set to do the extra stuff that takes my time away from my priorities and my thinking time I can focus on what’s most important for growth.
This is a small section of a larger process that I have, but It’s the basics to getting started and you know what Mark Twain said about getting started…"The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and starting on the first one."
Thanks for reading A Brilliant Tribe.