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Myths Of Time Management
Having a vision and goal setting are two of the most important steps in getting to the place you want to go, so if you aren’t fully engrained with the concepts in Lesson 2, this is the time to go back and refresh. For this lesson, we will be building upon the vision and the goals you set, improving your chances of success by learning how to effectively and efficiently manage your time. The common saying, “everyone gets the same 24 hours in a day” is unconditionally true, and what we are going to work on is making the most of each second, minute, and hour of each day prior to starting your new venture. It doesn’t matter how grand and well-intentioned your goals and visions are if you don’t intentionally set a plan for how you are going to use the time in each day. Let’s jump on in.
Time management is central to building the personal and professional life of your dreams. If you are continuously wasting multiple hours of every day, you are going to continue to remain average. However, if you want to build a life like the ultra- successful, you have to learn to use your time wisely. Crazy fact: One hour of planning commonly saves more than 10 hours of doing.
Why does all this matter? Because when you’re starting a company there is a lot to do – and not a lot of time to do it. In order to get the most out of yourself, and your company, you need to squeeze the most out of every day, and it starts with time management. If you don’t want to be ordinary, then you need to manage time different than the ordinary person.
We will go over a few common myths about time management, and then cover some of the best strategies to better manage your time.
Before we jump into the best strategies for time management, we are going to go over a few of the most common myths surrounding time management. This pertains to all people, but has specific relevance to entrepreneurs. Going through these myths should help you to start to grasp how *not* to spend your time, which matters just as much as figuring out how to spend your time.
So you made your checklist of the things you need to do for the day. You jump right in and start completing your tasks in the order you wrote them down in, with no particular thought about the importance of each task. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, you realize that there just wasn’t enough time to complete all 15 tasks on your to-do list, so the last six items get pushed off to tomorrow. That would’ve been okay… but two of those items happened to be the biggest NEED/MOST IMPORTANT TASK for your startup today. That’s why the standard checklist doesn’t work. What you need to understand here is that all things do not matter equally. Some projects carry more weight than others, have quicker deadlines, and have a bigger impact on your company’s success rate; therefore, those are the tasks you need to focus on first. As an entrepreneur, you have limited time, so you need to make the most of that time by completing the highest value tasks first. You should be making what we like to call a “bottleneck” list, instead of the standard to-do list. The thought is that a small portion of your tasks and inputs usually creates a large portion of your outputs and successes – you may know this as the 80/20 rule. 20% of your work often comprises of 80% of your outcomes and results – and those are the tasks that you should be trying to complete first. Oftentimes, completing these larger, more important bottlenecks will also help ease or even completely erase some of your other problems, making it a win-win to focus on these tasks. All in all, when creating your list, focus on the things that are most impeding your current processes and then rank your list – focus on what really matters and get the most out of every task completed.
“But I’m different, I can handle more and juggle more at one time than the ordinary person”. Well, I’m going to burst your bubble by saying that although you may be able to juggle more than the average individual, it is still not the best way to manage your time. Being able to juggle multiple tasks at once, flip between various projects, and work on 4-5 things at any given moment used to be seen as a necessity, but that is no longer the case. Numerous studies have shown that multitasking greatly reduces productivity and effectiveness for completing tasks. One research study in 2012 found that multi-taskers are interrupted every 11 minutes and spend more than 1⁄4 of their day trying to recover from interruptions and refocusing on the task being completed.
Another study in 2015 found that individuals that multitask lose an average of 28% of their time switching between different tasks. If you were to simply work the average eight-hour day, you would be losing more than 2 hours every single day on switching tasks. This adds up to more than 40 hours per month! So, if you decide to multitask, just know that you are losing one week every month, and more than 2 1⁄2 months per year (multitasking doesn’t sound too great anymore does it?). When you have your list for the day, focus on your most important task and don’t switch to the next until you complete the entire task.
Another great strategy we like to encourage is time blocking, set aside a certain number of minutes and hours each day to complete individual tasks, and then when time runs out on those tasks, simply move on to the next task without hesitation whether you completed the task or not. Both of these strategies create a singular focus on the most important tasks and reduces any time wasted switching back and forth.
It’s easy to look at people that are in good shape, eat healthy, have successful businesses, and simply say, “they just have more discipline than the average person”. Although that is 100% true, discipline is not something individuals are simply given at birth. Discipline is something that is created over time, through decisions, actions, and ultimately the habits that are created by those decisions. Individuals with discipline have trained themselves over time to develop habits that allow them to make the tough decisions. According to the University of London, it takes over two months to form a new habit – 66 days to be exact. The research says that people who develop just one new habit, report less stress, less impulsive spending, better dietary habits, and fewer hours watching TV. Although the exact benefits may be different for you, incorporating new habits into your life will make decisions easier and put you on a faster track to success. It’s also important to realize that discipline is not always present, and is not easy to come by, so utilize the discipline you have and focus that energy on the tasks that matter most to you.
We would all love to have unlimited willpower. I personally would love to no longer worry about grabbing that last donut out of the box at the office, or deciding to snooze my alarm, or skipping that workout I told myself I would start. Unfortunately, willpower is not an unlimited entity that we have access to at all times. Willpower, in its most simple terms, is the ability to delay instant gratification for something you would like to achieve in the future. In simple terms: it is the ability not to eat half a tub of ice cream before bed, it’s the ability to get up on the first alarm even though
it’s dark and cold, it’s the ability to avoid sitting down in front of the TV when walking in the door after a long day at work. The good thing is, if you know how to manage it, willpower can be an immensely powerful tool that can help you achieve the things you desire most in life. Think of willpower like an electric car. You charge your electric car (your mind) by plugging it in and then you have about 300 miles to drive (using your brain productively over a given period of time) before you have to recharge it. The amount of power is a limited resource and you need to manage and recharge it regularly. Recharging willpower is different for everyone, for some it may be taking a trip, others it may be a good night’s sleep, it may be cooking a nice meal or getting in a daily workout. Whatever “recharging” is to you, make sure you are incorporating that into your life on a religious basis, it might be once a day, it might be once a month – whatever works best for you. It’s also important to note that willpower decreases throughout the day, so make sure you utilize your willpower on your most important tasks, so you don’t end up losing steam and failing to complete a given task. Build your day around the times that you have the most willpower, and you will undoubtedly get the most out of each day and start making progress on tasks like never before.