Politically-Incorrect Time Management Tips

On Thursday afternoon, me and my ol’ pup, Bally the Dog went for a short walk outside on the farm, down to the river for him to cool off with a swim. It’s been a little hot up here in southern Ontario, with temperatures flirting with 100 degrees. Add in some humidity, and a fur coat, and it gets a little rough on the poor fella.

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, even when you are your own boss in a website business.

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 the new ETR and my three previous existing business, 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 tried to explain in yesterday’s post about building a set of personal philosophies, 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 minute 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 website 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 website 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.

5-Writing (No Internet Access)

6-Dog walk (almost always listening to Dan Kennedy CD’s)

7-Writing (No Internet Access)

8-Workout

9-Post-workout break, respond to emails, check daily business stats, blog, &
walk dog (again)

10-Email Writing and Product Creation

12-Lunch and respond to email and walk dog

2-Email Writing and Product Creation

4-Read my Daily Dozen Documents (Another story for another day.)

4:30-Respond to email and script next day

5-Big dog walk to end the day

6-Time with friends, family, and time 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.

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  • Tamara

    I love this! Too many times, we allow people to intrude on our most productive hours with non-essential conversations. Texting is yet another distraction from more important things. And yes, this WILL be considered ‘politically incorrect’ to most people. But they must not be entrepreneurs :-).

    Thanks for the outline! I am going to copy and edit it to fit my objectives.

  • DrGeorge

    Great article! Time management is such a crucial skill…and seldom taught. Thanks!!!

  • Another good post. Thank you. You’re doing thing I need/want to do — website success etc. These posts are like Coaching Calls — Just like ETR used to be in the early days.

  • I’ve been self-employed from home for 18 years. It took years to train people to understand that I *am* working even though my office is in my home. I changed my email address a couple of days ago, closed the old account and gave the new address to select people with a note to not share it with anyone. I’ve been training people off and on for 18 years and expect to be doing so until I retire in 18 years. This was a great reminder for me. Thanks!

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Great idea Robin, thanks for the tip.

      Craig

  • Great post! This should inspire me to do my own script for my day. Thank you.

  • Wow. Craig, I had to read this twice and then make notes. Thanks for such a strategic and powerful angle to time management. I’m a freelance writer, and managing my time is paramount to success on the professional front AND on the personal front. I am immediately hanging a chain across my front walkway to keep out “droppers by” who interrupt my workday. They are rude and I am far too polite to toss them out most times. I also wanted to add that one thing I did that has DEFINITELY worked is I started using a time tracker to find out where all the time went. I picked OfficeTime because it was easy and inexpensive, and then I re-evaluated everything on my calendar. I realize clearly in this time management effort that money is not the real commodity – it’s just a necessity. But time? Well, time is the most valuable thing we have. NO refunds on time. Thanks for a great article. I’m definitely putting it into practice asap. (PS, OfficeTime has a 21-day trial.) http://OfficeTime.net

    Mary Agnes Antonopoulos
    Kick A** Writer and Copyeditor
    ma@RockawayWriter.com

  • Great post! Your organization is inspiring.

  • ttcert

    Thank you Diana!

  • ttcert

    Nice work!

  • ttcert

    Excellent!

  • Stephanie

    Great post Craig! Coincidentally, I was just giving advice to someone about protecting her time and your article was perfect timing so I forwarded it to her. By the way, I went to your one day mastermind last month in Vegas. I am putting together an online program for health and fitness targeting the 60+ crowd. Thanks for being so positive and supportive about my idea. Also glad to see that your dog gets so many walks! He’s well taken care of.

    • Stephanie, great to hear from you. Hope your online business is raring to go. You were awesome to work with in Vegas!