I’ve long held the belief that all of the time management books you’ve read are wrong. (Yeah, I know… you’re shocked! Actually I believe that all but two books are wrong– keep reading!)
As are the foolish time management systems. Wrong. All of them. You know the ones, they want to train you and your company to use their system, and it will take three weeks to learn it. Give me a friggin’ break!
Once — and I am NOT creative enough to make this up — I signed up for a tele-seminar on time management for busy mom- and wife-preneurs. The tele-seminar itself lasted OVER two hours. The first 28 minutes were a bunch of small talk and meaningless rhetoric. Thanks anyway, lady, but I’ve got enough of a grip on my time to know that THIS CALL is a waste of it.
Anyway, time’s a funny thing. You can’t borrow, steal or create more of it. We all have the same amount of it. It IS the great regulator in the game of success. So, we must MASTER our use of time. The key to time management isn’t a system… it’s a concept, a commitment.
Time management comes down to BOLDNESS.
I got that little known fact from the BEST ever book on time management: Time Warrior, by Steve Chandler. Buy it here: http://www.stevechandler.com/time_warrior.html (Not because I get a 50 cent kick back when you do. I don’t. Buy it because it’s a game changer.) Another one to check out: No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs by Dan Kennedy.
Okay. Let’s get down to the 4 very practical, somewhat bold, but not-so-obvious ways to take back your time.
1) Fire your least enjoyable and most needy clients.
If they are constantly paying late, rescheduling their appointments, or needing more and more and more from you… Get rid of them. They’re not worth it. Nature abhors a vacuum. So, fire them and make room for clients who ARE ideal… those who cheerfully pay your fees, respect your time, and honor the boundaries you’ve set in your business.
P.S. If you’ve NOT identified your ideal clients OR your business boundaries, start there. Define both. And then find out who has to go.
P.P.S. If this scares the heck out of you, start small. Fire just ONE un-ideal client. The one you really really hate to hear from. Start there.
P.P.S. There are TONS of ways to fire clients. You can refer them to someone else, dramatically raise your fees, or pull the old, “I’m no longer serving your industry.”
Firing your most needy clients actually increases your time AND your income. Test me on this. If you have questions, email me at email@example.com.
2) Raise your fees.
The perfect time to raise your fees is when your schedule is overbooked already. Feeling panicked? Picturing your clients running for the hills in droves, while the bill collectors are coming straight for your house? Calm down. Raise your fees for NEW clients only. Start there. HIGHER FEES handle time management for you. Who has time to compete like Walmart serving everyone??
3) Use a kitchen timer.
Time is serious business. But the most technologically advanced gadget I used to manage my time — which, remember is split between my mister, my kids, my fitness goals, my faith, my friends, and… of course, YOU — is a retro-designed kitchen timer.
I — literally — work against the clock all day long. It keeps me focused and at PEAK performance all day. I schedule all of my time, and set my timer to be sure I don’t get off track. (I also build in 15 minute “catch up” breaks … just in case I need them to stay on track!)
Every 15 minutes — during my work day — is scheduled, timed and held accountable for producing something very specific for my business. Let me get really “real” with you for another minute: I resisted this practice for a long time. And I DEEPLY regret it. You see, how RUTHLESSLY and UNAPOLOGETICALLY you manage and protect your time is DIRECTLY tied to how much money you make in your business.
4) Finally, look for ways to leverage your time with group offers.
No, I don’t believe in “passive” income, but leveraged time for MORE income? Oh yeah! How can you offer what you’re doing one-on-one to groups of people? Maybe a small event or info-product is right up your alley? Or a coaching gym of some sort? Use your imagination.
Have time management tips of your own? Be sure to share them below! I love to hear from you!