Young Jimmy, a humble young man from North Carolina, is one of my newest personal coaching clients. Each month we get on the phone for an hour and find ways to make him more productive and profitable at work. As with all coaching clients, Jimmy was required to fill out a six-page questionnaire before our first call and what he sent me drove my blood pressure through the roof.
Jimmy was falling into the most common time wasting traps that catch most employees – and owners – of almost every business. He arrived at the same time as everyone else. He would check email first thing in the morning. He let everyone – and everything – distract him at anytime over the course of the day. He made no plans for his workday. He set aside no time for his priorities, let alone for Big Thinking (I explain how to do Big Thinking here.)
It was frustrating to see how he was wasting his day, letting Time Vampires suck the hours out of him, and how his negative money mindset and inability to own his day were holding him back. Jimmy was stuck and frustrated. He’d never reach his goal with his current work schedule and lack of time management.
Jimmy’s number one career goal is probably much like yours. Specifically, he wanted to double his income, but by paying no mind to his daily work schedule, he had allowed himself to become a Jack-of-All-Trades and Master of None. Worse, his days were full of what I refer to as $10 an hour tasks. He was doing work that could have been delegated for pennies on the dollar, and it didn’t matter if he worked 100 hours per week, he’d never achieve his six-figure income goals doing such low-value work.
Dan Kennedy, best-selling author, Renegade Millionaire Maker, and one of my virtual mentors, knows better. At his 7-Figure Formula Seminar that I attended back in 2009, Kennedy taught me that you only get paid well for “Mastering High Value Competencies”. That’s cold, hard truth.
In a recent interview, ETR’s founder Mark Ford echoed Kennedy’s sentiments, saying, “If you can become the most valuable employee to your employer, whether you’re an accountant or copywriter or marketer or product creator, within a year, you will be making more money.”
High value competencies include copywriting, negotiating, and selling. Checking email, using Facebook, and putting out fires in the office do not make the cut, will not boost your income, and won’t provide you with the progress that you need to see in your work.
To overcome the drain of these time vampires, we must plan, prepare, and protect our hours and days so that we own them, so that we are the master of our fates, and the captains of our skills. There can be no exceptions. You must take a stand for your time.
Start by setting the rules for your life, creating what is known as a moral code or set of personal philosophies that guide your decisions. In my first essay for ETR I shared with you the 12 Rules I Live by. They guide me every day, making me more productive, allowing decisions to be made faster and with less stress, and yes, they even make me happier. Read my rules and how to create your own here.
It soon came time for Jimmy’s first coaching call, during which I gave him the following ten action steps. These will give him greater control of his time so that he can work on developing the high value competencies required to increase his income.
These tens tips are universally beneficial. Follow them and you will free up time to become a Master of a Complex Skill, one that will add value to the world and earn you the rewards you desire. But if you fail to take heed of these good words, then expect to remain mired in the muck, spinning your wheels, and frustrated with life and business.
Do what must be done. Concentrate on what counts.
Your Top 10 Action Step List to Reclaim Your Time:
1) Get up 15 minutes early and spend time on Big Thinking.
2) Get into the office 30 minutes before anyone else and work on your number one priority.
3) Man-up, create your code, and stop the distractions. Do not let people bother you. You must own your day.
4) Do not check email until after you have done #1 and #2 above. No exceptions. If you are an email addict, take this challenge and grow your email willpower muscle by waiting five minutes longer each day before you enter your inbox. In a week, you’ll be checking email a half-hour later, and you’ll find you are more productive in those first thirty minutes than you are for the rest of the entire day. Anyone that needs to get in touch with you on an emergency basis should be taught to text or call.
5) Batch check email every 4 hours. Do not immediately reply when individual messages arrive. You must also learn to send fewer emails. You don’t need to reply to everything. Your inbox is your fault. As I taught Jimmy, the less time you spend in email the more time you have to master complex skills, achieve big things, and make more money.
6) Delegate mindless errands. You cannot do anything that someone else can do for $50/hr or less if you want to make $100,000 per year. This is the simplest, yet most important equation you might ever learn. There are 2000 work hours in a year. You must make $50 per hour in each one of those hours if you want to hit a six-figure income.
7) Establish a daily, 20-30 minute outside walking meeting (can be done by phone) that you can use as a break.
8) Study the mastery of a complex, valuable work skill for at least 30 minutes every day.
9) Begin a 10-20 minute fitness routine 3x’s per week if you are not already doing so. You need the exercise for good health, better energy and eliminating stress.
10) Block two hours this weekend to sit down undisturbed and watch this video that will help you create the Vision for your life. www.ANewAmericanDream.com
The good news is that Jimmy was a fantastic student. By the time our second call rolled around, he had implemented almost all of my suggestions. Of course, having the deadline of a wedding day and honeymoon just a few weeks away didn’t hurt.
Jimmy also surprised me by creating my new favorite Time Management App. It doesn’t require a fancy smartphone. Consider this a free gift to you, courtesy of the “ETR App Store”. Print this and tape it to the back of your computer.
PLEASE DO NOT DISTURB
I have a busy schedule today.
Exceptions in case of emergency are permitted.
- Are you on fire and I’m the only one that can put you out?
- Am I on fire and don’t realize it?
- Is the zombie apocalypse finally here?
Q: How’s it going?
Q: Do you have a sec?
A: No, I have a busy schedule today.
Q: What are you working on?
Q: How’s stuff going?
A: See answer 1.
Q: Do dolphins sleep?
A: Yes, they are mammals and do sleep.
Q: Want to see something cool/funny?
A: No, I have a busy schedule today but thanks for the offer.
Have a nice day!
Thanks Jimmy, I will.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.]