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Everyone wishes they can have more time in the day, to get just a little bit more done. Whether it be work, training, sleep, family time or anything else, everyone wants more time. The truth is, there is a finite amount of time in each day. Time management is a huge issue with entrepreneurs, especially for small business owners.
Here are four quick tips that will help you with your time management skills and get you on the right track. Setting a rhythm for you day is a huge key, once you get into your rhythm, that last thing you want is to be pulled away from it. I employ these four tips every day here at Endurance Sports University and we recommend them very strongly to the members of our Coaching Mentorship Program.
Regardless of how hard you try, doing everything by yourself is a time sync that can destroy your productivity. The solution: know when to ask for help and know where to get help. There are quite a few online sites that allow you to hire someone online for a specific contract, to accomplish a specific task.
One site that I have used frequently is Upwork, which was formerly oDesk. It’s a great resource for entrepreneurs to hire someone for a relatively low price. Endurance Sports University has some big projects coming up, we’ll definitely be taking full advantage of Upwork.
Saying ‘no’ is hard for most people. That’s kind of surprising right? Maybe not, it’s human nature to try to please people. As an entrepreneur and small business owner, you have to protect your time, it is the most valuable asset you have.
Unfortunately, that means that you will have to say “no” to people at times. Saying “no” eliminates the “quick 15 minute call” that someone wants; those suck up time and destroy any work rhythm that you have created. In terms of business, if there is a request for you time, you have to ask yourself this question:
“Is this in line with my 30-day, 60-day and 90-day goals that I created to support my vision as a business owner?”
If the answer is no, then don’t “squeeze” it in. You have to protect your time. If it’s important enough, the task can be scheduled in to your calendar tomorrow or next week when you have scheduled time to take phone calls.
That sucks right? But you already know this one. Lets say it together, out loud: “perfection does not exist!”
So what does this mean to you? Whether it’s a document you’re creating, an ad you want to generate, a blog post or market trends… there is never a “perfect” set of conditions.
Generate the product, analyze the markets, make a decision and then pull the trigger.
These happen right? Your significant other wants to chat. Someone sends you a text. Facebook or Twitter? Email? All of these tend to be distractions, some of which are related to business and some are not.
Your goal is to minimize these distractions by blocking off time in your calendar to check email, to reply to text messages and other business functions that can knock you out of your rhythm.
You HAVE TO block off time each day that is distraction free! This is where you will accomplish the most work. Another solution: most phones these days have an airplane mode; put your phone into airplane mode, set a timer for the time period you do not want to be distracted.
I hope these tips will help make user of just a little more time throughout the day. When I first employed these tips here at Endurance Sports University, I magically found another 20-30 minutes of time to work each day!
All of our Coaching Mentorship Program members that have employed this also found the same: they had an additional 30 minutes of time to accomplish real work. Lets see what they do for you!
The end of the week is finally here! For some, that means an easier day finishing up whatever remaining tasks require attention. For others, it’s a hectic day to cram in as many unfinished tasks as possible. Regardless of where your day fits into that, there is one simple task that can and should be accomplished at the end of each week: cleaning out the swamp.
In a now famous graduation speech at the University of Texas, former US Navy Admiral William McRaven gave graduates his list of 10 lessons learned as a Navy SEAL. The first lesson that he shared is quite simple:
“If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.”
McRaven went on to explain: “It was a simple task—mundane at best. But every morning we were required to make our bed to perfection. It seemed a little ridiculous at the time, particularly in light of the fact that we’re aspiring to be real warriors, tough battle hardened SEALs—but the wisdom of this simple act has been proven to me many times over.
If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.
By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.
If you can't do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.
And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made—that you made—and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.”
So what does this have to do with cleaning out a swamp? Simple: at the end of each work week, we need to spend the 5-10 minutes to clean up and organize our desks and workspaces. These areas tend to turn into something resembling a swamp by the end of the week.
Take out the trash, put your pens and pencils back in the proper holder, consolidate and organize paperwork. Put books back on the book shelf, close down all of your computer programs and make the office perfectly ready for a new week.
It’s that simple. The simple task of organizing and cleaning up your desk and workspace does two things for you: first it is a symbolic and mental end to the work week, and secondly, sets you up for productivity at the start of the next week.
Give it a shot, see what it does for you.
I read an interesting article from Business Insider titled “14 things successful people do before breakfast.” There are some great little tips in there, but there is one that I absolutely do not agree with: checking your email as one of the first things you do each morning. Here’s the quote from the article:
“While time-management gurus may suggest putting off email as long as possible, many successful people start the day with email. In fact, one recent survey found that the first thing most executives do in the morning is check their email.
They may quickly scan their inboxes for urgent messages that need an immediate response or craft a few important emails that they can better focus on while their minds are fresh.
For instance, Gretchen Rubin, author of “The Happiness Project,” wakes at 6 every morning before her family’s up at 7. She uses the time to clear her inbox, schedule the day, and read social media. Getting these tasks out of the way from the start helps her concentrate better when she moves on to more challenging projects, she told Vanderkam. “
If you are a wise entrepreneur, you know that your daily schedule is incredibly important. You have scheduled your days in advance, setting time aside for specific tasks that have to be performed and for project development. Your time is the most valuable commodity you have.
Checking your email first thing in the morning is one of the best ways to throw your entire schedule out of whack and really mess up your day.
Here’s why I am a NOT a proponent of checking your email first thing in the morning: 90+% of the emails you receive consist of someone wanting something from you. It really is that simple, the sender of the email wants something, whether it is time, money, your opinion, your approval, for you to do something for them, etc., they want your time.
Checking your email first thing in the morning lets the sender hijack your schedule. If there is a task that needs to be accomplished, you will be tempted to shift your focus from what you had planned in the morning to dealing with the task presented in the email. Even worse than a time sink, which you can get yourself out of if you can recognize that you fell into one, is what interruption can do to your mindset and mood.
What happens every time you get a less than pleasant email demanding some sort of action by you or your company? What happens to your mindset and mood? How does that affect your productivity for the rest of the morning?
“But what if there is a major problem” you ask? If the problem is big enough that you need to address it immediately… they will call you instead of or along with sending an email.
If you get up at 6:00 in the morning and start by checking your email, there is a very real possibility your morning will turn into your workday very, very quickly. Your plans to go to get out and exercise or to spend time with your kids before they go to school just got put on hold, by someone else, because you checked your email.
So what’s the solution? If you work for someone else and there is the potential that you will need to know what is in your inbox prior to getting to work, then wait to check your email until you are getting ready to leave for, or are on the way in to work. You could leave ten minutes earlier for work and check your emails in the parking lot before you go inside. Either way, you still own your morning.
If you work for yourself, simply schedule time into your day to check your email and to respond appropriately. Block off time during your workday to go through your unread messages and deliver an appropriate reply. Once the time is up, move on to your next scheduled task!
Remember: if there is a big enough issue, you will get a phone call. In the 10 years I have worked for myself, I have never, ever had an issue that came through only on email that absolutely critical.
Guard your schedule, guard your time… it’s the most valuable thing you have.