Recently, I did a podcast on time management because several people requested it and I probably haven’t worked with people enough on the subject. In my experience, not one out of 1000 really understand time management and honestly, I don’t know where one would go to learn how to take control of it. I teach a class on it at my Business Management Boot Camp, but that’s really not enough to get people to change their habits, because that’s really what time management is… Habit change.
I was fortunate enough in the early 80s to pick up some good habits from people I looked up to and they have served me my lifetime. I will mention some here that are simple but critical. The best time management device ever created is within 3 feet of you right now as you read this. THEY CALL IT A CELL PHONE. The problem is, the manufacturers don’t teach anyone how to use it to effectively manage time. So again, where do you learn?
THE HIGH COST OF POOR TIME MANAGEMENT SKILLS
Most people glide through life waiting for the next task to pop up and their whole life is managing chaos with most of the day wasted doing worthless things that make no difference in their life financially or physically. They waste time the same way, day in and day out, until there aren’t any more days left and rarely get anything done of value.
They rely on their memory to complete task and keep their promises and therefore rarely do. If your memory is the best time management device you have make sure you read this article at least twice.
Here’s what happens with no time management system…
- Every day is spent handling the next interruption and between them every once in a while, something productive gets done if it pops up in memory. Minutia takes over, so there’s very little time left to get the important income like producing, career building, wealth creating and life-changing items done. Promises aren’t kept because they were not recorded in a place so they don’t rely on memory.
- Promises to you weren’t kept and things don’t get done because you have no system to hold people accountable. Delegation is worthless without follow up.
- Years roll by and nothing major happens because you couldn’t stay focused on the big things while handling the little things.
- Relationships are strained or destroyed because you have developed the reputation of not keeping your promises or not getting anything done.
- The stress caused by constant chaos can affect your health and literally kill you if it goes on long enough.
- Your income and wealth are not increasing because you spend so much time making a living, you don’t take time to make any real money.
- Once people get to know you, they will shun you because it becomes obvious you can’t even keep promises as simple as being on time. You may not even know why they don’t want to work with you.
I could make this list somewhat longer but I think you get the message. Changing one’s habits about how they handle their time and how to prevent other people from stealing it can make a huge impact in life and certainly, financial stability.
First, I will address some time wasters and then a few quick cures you can implement immediately and change your habits
- Constantly being available the minute anyone text you, emails you, or calls you. People do not mind wasting your time and will take as much of it as you let them. There is no law that says you have to return a text, call or email just because they sent you one. You should decide who you converse with and not be instantly available. I discovered when I stop answering the phone, some people quit calling. I have no interest in worthless conversations and that’s exactly what most of them are. If it’s worth returning the call, text, or email, you’ll know. It kills me when I see people call back a number on their caller ID when the caller did not even leave a message. Who cares who they are if they don’t even want to leave a message? I dare you to put this on your voicemail message, “I am making some changes in my life and if I don’t return your call, you’re one of them.” What if you were to take one day and record the time you spent on all calls, emails
andtext? While you’re at it, make a list of everything else you did that day and the time it took. You’ll quickly discover 90% of it was worthless
- TV commercials… I watched three or four hours of TV most nights because I enjoy many shows and it’s relaxing. However, I do not watch commercials simply because all my shows are recorded on the DVR and I can blast through the commercials. That saves 20 minutes for every one hour show I watch. Imagine how much time that frees up in a year. Not to mention, who wants to sit through all the commercials?
- Poor prescreening… I teach buying and selling houses without using your money or credit and we spent a lot of time learning how to prescreen sellers and buyers. I even furnish scripts to do both! This saves a lot of time wasted looking at houses we have no chance of buying and dealing with buyers who have nothing to work with. Pre-screening is better than wasting time and gas.
- However, this goes well beyond real estate. Good prescreening habits should be incorporated in everything you do for both personal and business. Why talk with someone you have no reason to engage? Why meet with anyone unless there’s a purpose of the meeting and it’s discussed in advance? These are your choices, not theirs. You decide they don’t unless you let them.
What if we developed the habit of not talking with anyone unless they are predisposed to do business with us? This can only be learned from prescreening. Even in personal life, how much time do you devote
WHY. Because they ask you to.
Okay, I’m not suggesting you become a hermit. No matter how good you get, you’re going to waste some time talking with people you shouldn’t, but many times don’t know it until you’re in the conversation. I’m just saying, stop and think, “Why am I doing this meeting?”
Grunt work is defined as, “Everything you do that can’t be easily done by someone else for very little money or none.” This should be a very short list because here’s the truth, whether you are willing to accept it or not, there’s not one thing you do in business that can’t be done by someone else. Especially for a very small amount of money.
I’m sure you’re not buying that, but what if you were to go ahead and make that list that no one else can do and then be fair with asking yourself, why can’t they? If you can do it, it’s obvious anyone can with the right training. You’re not that special and certainly not unreplaceable. I used to think I was, but the older I get the more I know, well, the less I know. There’s nothing I do that can’t be replaced by someone else. By the way, if this is true you might want to think about how to fix it because it makes your business built on a house of cards. Even a brain surgeon can hire another brain surgeon to do the job.
Grunt work can only be replaced by delegation, so the question is to whom will you delegate. If it’s real estate grunt work, our virtual assistants can do it for you. Call 800-262-0491 and ask! A little research on Google show all the help you can use on any subject you need, especially on sites like upworks.com.
A FEW GOOD TIPS
The best way to not rely on your memory is to make sure that any idea or task that pops up in your mind to be done at a later time, is instantly recorded somewhere. For about 35 years, I have been using a date planner which is an actual book with paper in it. Wherever I go, it goes. That gives me the chance to write it down immediately and put it in my daily schedule (on whatever day it is to be done) so when that day comes, I don’t have to remember and it just pops up in my book.
That one simple habit changed the way I handle my time, keep my promises, and hold others accountable, by recording the date that was to happen. There’s no way to measure the impact this one thing has had on my life. If I rely on my memory, I’d be pumping gas for a living. OK, that’s not true no one pumps gas anymore at service stations except the customers.
Today, most people have replaced the planner with their cell phone but don’t know how to use it. In many of my classes, I ask people to pick up their phone and go to the… REMINDER APP. It’s a life changer if you get in the habit of using it regularly and it’s so simple.
If you think of something that needs to be done or remembered, simply press the home button on your phone and say these words…
“REMIND ME ON FRIDAY AT 10am TO XXXXXXXXXXXXX.”
That’s it. That’s all you have to do. Now on Friday at 10 AM, the message will pop up on your screen and won’t go away until you clear it, which should not be done until the task is complete or transferred to your planner. So simple but so effective. Our use it multiple times a day and it’s even better than a pad and pen because it’s with me all the time.
When I drive into the parking garage at the airport the first thing, I do is
Don’t forget to say the words, “Remind me…” and you must tell it what day and time or it will make one up and it might be too late by the time you get the message.
If you are where you can’t talk into it, you can do it manually by opening the app and it’s really simple. I do this sometimes when I’m on an airplane and other places where I can’t talk.
The calendar on your phone is also a good tool. Anytime you want to enter anything on a date or time you can press the home button and tell it to put an activity on your calendar. Of course, you can do it manually but most people don’t know you can tell it to do it and it will.
I also use the Notes app that comes on the phone. As I write this article, I’m talking into the Notes app. Did you know you could do that? And It remains there until I erase it and when I’m done, I can email it or text it. It’s also a good place to keep lists. Our use one for all of my hotel and airline numbers.
The key to good time management is habit change and if you don’t record your idea or task immediately it will probably not get done. That is the first habit you must change. Even when you’re watching TV have your phone or paper nearby. Once it’s recorded, you have to get it into your daily action list or nothing will happen. If you’re using a planner, it goes on your 1-31 page which is your appointment schedule and task list that day. If you are using your phone, it can go on your calendar or numerous other apps.
Start changing your time management habits and see how quickly people are asking you how you get so much done and thinking you have the memory of an elephant. So now if you are wondering how I get so much done, I have disclosed my secret. It is certainly not my memory.
I hope I can remember to send this article to my staff to be published. Oh, never mind, it’s in my reminder app.