On a hot summer afternoon, me and my pup, ol’ Bally the Dog, went for a short walk down to the old creek. The poor little fella needed to cool off and it gave me a chance for a short study break.
While he swam and chased assorted varmints, I listened to a marketing seminar on my CD player. (Yes, I seriously still have a portable CD player.)
As I listened to the Dan Kennedy presentation, I was reminded of how important it is to be ruthless with your time, no matter if you’re a salesperson, a doctor, a lawyer, a student, or an entrepreneur.
Heck, it’s even MORE important to manage your time when you are the boss. Time is money. And you can never get time back.
In the past couple of years, I’ve learned to be firm with my time.
I avoid most meetings, have eliminated almost all phone calls, and stick to a schedule that provides me maximum productivity. After all, with Early to Rise and my three previous existing businesses, I have a lot of work to get done.
But a time-efficient mindset is one that we all should have. For example, a 10-minute phone call should not become a 30-minute conversation. We need to set boundaries from the outset, and stick to them.
Your politically-incorrect approach to time management might upset a few people, but it will likely get respect from a lot more who realize how valuable your time is worth. Do not hesitate to be ruthless with your time…it’s your life.
As I’ve explained in previous posts, we need to adopt a set of rules in our lives that will create an environment conducive to more accomplishment and less stress. I discovered this valuable approach during my journey from personal trainer to entrepreneur.
Back in 2003 when I was a full-time personal trainer working on my web business on the side, I would get up at 4:30am to work for 20 minutes before heading to my first 6am client.
And in those focused 20 minutes, I was able to get 2 hours of work done. What I mean is that those 20 minutes of working without interruption produced the same content and quality of work I would have produced at 8pm after a long day of work. Getting that work done first thing in the morning was crucial to my progress.
After all, you can have amazing ideas, but if you don’t implement, take action, and get the work done, you’ll struggle.
So today, let’s review a few Politically-Incorrect Time Management Strategies.
Tip 1 – Do not answer the phone or immediately respond to emails
When building your business, you need to be strict about creating blocks of creative time when you can work on projects. Answering every phone call or email disturbs your work and flow, and doubles the length of time to get stuff done.
Be ruthless. Set rules. Have a block of time for communication and make it known to those who contact you on a regular basis. The more productive you can be during your workday means you’ll have more quality time to spend with your family and friends.
Tip 2 – Do not allow people to “drop by”
Again, you must stop the interruptions. After all, what important person drops everything to receive unexpected visitors?
Is Donald Trump going to see you when you pop by the Trump Tower to check out his boardroom? Of course not. And while neither of us are Trump, we have projects that are just as important (to us) as he does to him.
Set your rules. Block your time. Bar the door.
Tip 3 – Do not set expectations you can’t meet
Quick and easy access to you is an expectation that cannot be permanently met as your business grows. While you might want to return every email immediately and personally, understand that as your website begins to get exponentially more sales and traffic, you simply won’t be able to answer every email. So be careful about the precedents you set to avoid future disappointment.
Tip 4 – Respond to emails at a particular time and make that known to everyone who emails you
It’s very simple. Answer all of your emails at the end of the day. This prevents unnecessary email conversations from growing. Most emails – even the ones that seem to be emergencies – are not emergencies. Don’t train people to expect immediate responses from you. In fact, train them to expect a response at a given time every day.
Tip 5 – Script Your Day
At the end of every working day, script out your next day. It’s very simple. You should have a template that you can insert specific projects into. For example, here’s the template I use:
4 – Writing my Book
5:30 – Big Thinking time and review of my Daily Documents
6:30 – Meditation followed by dog walk
7 – Breakfast and reading
8 – Writing ETR emails
10:30 – Exercise
11:30 – Writing fitness emails
1 – Lunch
2 – Check email
3 – Record interviews (either as interviewee or interviewer)
4 – Dog Walk
5 – Gratitude Journal and inspirational reading
6 – Dinner and time with friends and family to re-charge
Scripting your day is a simple, powerful, and politically-incorrect exercise that will make you more productive and get you closer to your dreams, faster.
Some folks might be offended that you won’t drop everything to hear their tales of woe, or commiserate with them about life’s injustices, but remember, it’s your time, it’s your life, and it’s your dreams you are after.
[Ed Note: Craig Ballantyne is the editor of Early to Rise (Join him on Facebook here) and the author of Financial Independence Monthly, a complete blueprint to helping you take control of your financial future with research of proven methods in your career, in your business and in your personal life. He has created a unique system to show gratitude and appreciation to stay on track for these goals each and every day. Click here to follow the exact 5-minute system you can use to improve your life.]