Ever find yourself saying “I don’t have enough time?”
We all have at one time in our lives.
Maybe you’re a parent who’s trying to juggle your workload and family life. Or perhaps you’re a student who has three term papers coming up.
Time is the one constant element in all of our lives and unfortunately, it’s something that can’t be bought, it can’t be borrowed and it can’t be saved up.
Each morning brings with it a new 24 hours with which to spend our lives.
No more. No less.
It makes no difference if you’re rich or poor, English or Chinese, a doctor or a teacher.
It is the great equalizer.
But in my studies of success, time is the one element that so few people truly understood which is why I devoted an entire chapter to it in my book, iSucceed.
The biggest problem is that most people don’t understand the true value time has.
It’s a gift and yet so many of us throw it away so easily.
Used effectively it can be life-changing.
Time management, as my mentor Jim Rohn once said, is the best kept secret of the rich.
The rich understand that they cannot get more time so they set out to get more out of the time they have.
I could spend hours talking about the secrets that the rich have to maximizing productivity but if we simply eliminate or manage the biggest dangers to our time then we are halfway there.
I call them the big three killers.
- The Phone
Now before I go any further, it’s important to understand that these are very powerful tools in and of themselves.
But just like a hammer can be used to build as well as destroy, these three things can either help us or hinder us in our ability to manage time.
Let’s start with email.
Most people today have been trained to start their day by checking their emails. I know I did.
By doing so you are immediately being put on the defensive.
Instead of focusing on what you need to get done, you are letting other people dictate your actions.
A better way would be to check email twice a day, first at 11am then again at 4pm.
That gives you two to three hours of focused energy on projects that you need to move forward which is so much more motivating than putting out fires.
If it’s an emergency, explain to people that you can be reached by phone, but only if it an emergency.
This concept is especially important for CEOs and entrepreneurs.
The phone for some people is the default form of communication but the phone needs to be kept free to deal with emergencies so make this clear to all your coworkers, subordinates and clients.
You are happy to take anyone’s call if it is absolutely necessary otherwise to use email.
I don’t take calls from many people simply because I know that most people just want to chat.
And that’s fine…but not during work hours, and not when it’s my family time.
If people want to get me on the line I treat it like an other appointment and I schedule it in.
Start treating phone calls like meetings.
Have a plan going in. That way you get the most out of the time you invest in each call.
Finally we have our good old friend Facebook.
I love FB. It’s an incredible advertising tool. An incredible communication tool. But an absolutely awesome time waster.
It’s so easy to spend the day checking people’s status and posting pictures of foods you’ve eaten.
I use it to further my businesses.
I have three fan pages that I manage as well as my own account.
I use it as research and it’s my main source of news. Rather than read the newspaper I just check what people are posting and most of the time I have a good idea of what’s going on.
There are people out there that refuse to use FB, I know a few but they are missing an incredible opportunity to interact with friends, family, clients and potential clients.
Whether it’s email, the phone or FB, I love them all.
But if I’m not careful they can eat large chucks out of my daily schedule.
I think the best way I can sum up using them is what’s put on an fragile package, “Handle with care.”