Analyze your KPA(Key Performance areas and plot them on a “life wheel”. Now rate yourself against these KPA’s – keep this handy for future exercises.
Chances are good that, at some time in your life, you’ve taken a time management class, read about it in books, and tried to use an electronic or paper-based day planner to organize, prioritize and schedule your day. “Why, with this knowledge and these gadgets,” you may ask, “do I still feel like I can’t get everything done I need to?”
The answer is simple. Everything you ever learned about managing time is a complete waste of time because it doesn’t work.
Before you can even begin to manage time, you must learn what time is. A dictionary defines time as “the point or period at which things occur.” Put simply, time is when stuff happens.
There are two types of time: clock time and real time. In clock time, there are 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day and 365 days in a year. All time passes equally. When someone turns 50, they are exactly 50 years old, no more or no less.
In real time, all time is relative. Time flies or drags depending on what you’re doing. Two hours at the department of motor vehicles can feel like 12 years. And yet our 12-year-old children seem to have grown up in only two hours.
Which time describes the world in which you really live, real time or clock time?
The reason time management gadgets and systems don’t work is that these systems are designed to manage clock time. Clock time is irrelevant. You don’t live in or even have access to clock time. You live in real time, a world in which all time flies when you are having fun or drags when you are doing your taxes.
The good news is that real time is mental. It exists between your ears. You create it. Anything you create, you can manage. It’s time to remove any self-sabotage or self-limitation you have around “not having enough time,” or today not being “the right time” to start a business or manage your current business properly.
There are only three ways to spend time: thoughts, conversations and actions. Regardless of the type of business you own, your work will be composed of those three items.
As an entrepreneur, you may be frequently interrupted or pulled in different directions. While you cannot eliminate interruptions, you do get a say on how much time you will spend on them and how much time you will spend on the thoughts, conversations and actions that will lead you to success.
Related: Tips for a More Productive Day
Practice the following techniques to become the master of your own time:
Carry a schedule and record all your thoughts, conversations and activities for a week. This will help you understand how much you can get done during the course of a day and where your precious moments are going. You’ll see how much time is actually spent producing results and how much time is wasted on unproductive thoughts, conversations and actions.
Any activity or conversation that’s important to your success should have a time assigned to it. To-do lists get longer and longer to the point where they’re unworkable. Appointment books work. Schedule appointments with yourself and create time blocks for high-priority thoughts, conversations, and actions. Schedule when they will begin and end. Have the discipline to keep these appointments.
Plan to spend at least 50 percent of your time engaged in the thoughts, activities and conversations that produce most of your results.
Schedule time for interruptions. Plan time to be pulled away from what you’re doing. Take, for instance, the concept of having “office hours.” Isn’t “office hours” another way of saying “planned interruptions?”
Take the first 30 minutes of every day to plan your day. Don’t start your day until you complete your time plan. The most important time of your day is the time you schedule to schedule time.
Take five minutes before every call and task to decide what result you want to attain. This will help you know what success looks like before you start. And it will also slow time down. Take five minutes after each call and activity to determine whether your desired result was achieved. If not, what was missing? How do you put what’s missing in your next call or activity?
Put up a “Do not disturb” sign when you absolutely have to get work done.
Practice not answering the phone just because it’s ringing and e-mails just because they show up. Disconnect instant messaging. Don’t instantly give people your attention unless it’s absolutely crucial in your business to offer an immediate human response. Instead, schedule a time to answer email and return phone calls.
Block out other distractions like Facebook and other forms of social media unless you use these tools to generate business.
Remember that it’s impossible to get everything done. Also remember that odds are good that 20 percent of your thoughts, conversations and activities produce 80 percent of your results.
The principle was suggested by management thinker Joseph M. Juran. It was named after the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who observed that 80% of income in Italy was received by 20% of the Italian population. The assumption is that most of the results in any situation are determined by a small number of causes.
What Exactly Is The 80/20 Rule?
By the numbers it means that 80 percent of your outcomes come from 20 percent of your inputs. As Pareto demonstrated with his research this “rule” holds true, in a very rough sense, to an 80/20 ratio, however in many cases the ratio can be a lot higher – 99/1 may be closer to reality.
It really doesn’t matter what numbers you apply, the important thing to understand is that in your life there are certain activities you do (your 20 percent) that account for the majority (your 80 percent) of your happiness and outputs.
You may have expected me to say that 20 percent of your activities produce 80 percent of your financial rewards, and that is true, there are probably a handful of activities you do each week that produce your income. You can definitely apply the 80/20 Rule to most aspects of your business or working life, however I believe your overall happiness and satisfaction are much better variables to focus on. Money certainly plays an important role in your happiness and your money is influenced by 80/20 relationships, but it is only a component that leads to your overall well being, which should be your primary concern.
The 80/20 rule is one of the most helpful concepts for life and time management.
According to this principle: 20 percent of your activities will account for 80 percent of your results. It can change the way you set goals forever.
80/20 Rule in Action
If you have a list of ten items to accomplish, two of those items will turn out to be worth more than the other eight items put together.
The sad fact is that most people procrastinate on the top 10 or 20 percent of items that are the most valuable and important, the “vital few,” and busy themselves instead with the least important 80 percent, the “trivial many,” that contribute very little to their success.
How to Apply the 80/20 Rule
Here’s what you should do in order to effectively apply the 80/20 rule to goal setting and to your overall productivity.
First, take a piece of paper and write down ten goals. Then ask yourself: If you could only accomplish one of the goals on that list today, which one goal would have the greatest positive impact on your life?
Then pick the second most important goal. What you’ll find is, after you complete this exercise, you will have determined the most important 20 percent of your goals that will help you more than anything else.
You should continue to work at those goals that you’ve chosen as the most valuable all the time.
Eat The Biggest Frog First
You often see people who appear to be busy all day long but seem to accomplish very little. This is almost always because they are busy working on tasks that are of low value while they are procrastinating on the one or two activities that could make a real difference to their companies and to their careers.
The most valuable tasks you can do each day are often the hardest and most complex, but the payoff and rewards for completing them can be tremendous.
Before you begin work, always ask yourself, “Is this task in the top 20 percent of my activities or in the bottom 80 percent?”
The rule for this is: resist the temptation to clear up small things first.
If you choose to start your day working on low-value tasks, you will soon develop the habit of always starting and working on low-value tasks.
Work Towards Your Main Goal, All the Time
Finally, I want to tell you about a study that has just been done about the attitudes of rich people versus poor people in regard to goal setting. What they found is that 85% of rich people have one big goal that they work on all the time.
So, if you want to be wealthy, do what wealthy people do. Pick one big goal and work on it all the time, and if you do, it will change your life.
Record a few days of your time spend and analyse against 80/20