Time hacking is so much more than just “time management.” As I stated in a recent BizWomen.com article, our goal shouldn’t be “managing” time, but harnessing it, leveraging it and multiplying our ROIT. So far on our own blog, we’ve covered the rules of time hacking, and a time hacking secret we’ve ALL used, but far too infrequently. Today, we’ll cover the 5-step process to time hacking like a #boss.
Step One: Create Absolute Clarity About What You Want.
This is so cliche, I really wanted to leave it out… trust me. I HATE being cliche. BUT, in this case, just because it’s cliche doesn’t meant it’s not also critically important. Here’s a common conversation I have with physicians, attorneys, coaches, and other self-bossers:
THEM: I need to get more clients. (or patients, or members.)
ME: Really? Do you want more clients, more appointments, more time in the office? OR Do you really just want more profit?
THEM: Well, don’t I need more patients to get more profit?
Nope. Not always. In fact, a lot of my work with clients involves getting MORE of the most profitable clients / patients so they can see LESS overall patients/members/ clients.
In order to be MOST productive, you must first get really clear about what you really want… not what you THINK you need to ENDURE in order to get what you really want. So, step one: get crystal clear on what you (really, really) want.
Step Two: Know the Right Things To Do
Now that you know what you want, you need to make a list of what it will take to get there. It is entirely impossible to be a time-hacker if you are choosing your tasks indiscriminately. So, make a (short) list of what you’re currently doing that is moving you closer to your goals. Keep doing those things and — of course — keep measuring their effectiveness to be sure they continue to work. Eliminate those things you’re doing that aren’t moving the needle in your business. And, whenever you try something new… a new social media platform, a new group, a new commercial… measure results and respond accordingly.
I used to speak quite a bit to Christian women and couples and TIME was a common topic. My slogan was always the same: You’ll never have time to do everything, but you’ll always have the time to do everything important.
The same is true in business. ALWAYS do the RIGHT things instead of trying to do ALL things. Cut the least effective tasks you’re currently doing and then make room to do MORE of what’s working.
Step Three: If It’s Important, Schedule It.
To do lists are great. I love them. But, to time hack like a boss you’ve got to take EACH TASK on your list and give it a DATE to be completed as well as a START TIME and an END TIME. In short, schedule it. You already schedule your commitments to other people… your appointments with clients, your kids orthodontist appointments, your weekly massage. Well, you need to also schedule everything ELSE that is important. If it’s important, schedule it. Period.
Step Four: Protect your Time As If It’s Your Most Valuable Asset… Because It Is.
What good is it to schedule your time if you’re not willing to PROTECT your time and your schedule? Let’s be honest for a minute. EACH of us is plagued by our own personalized posse of time gremlins. For me, these time gremlins include (but are certainly not limited to) orthodontist appointments, sick kids, mending broken hearts, and the constant errand running kids require. =) For you, your posse of time gremlins — also personalized — will look different from mine.
Either way, we need to protect our schedule by protecting our environment. Eliminate distractions. Figure out how to put your phone on “do not disturb” so you aren’t tempted to accept incoming, but unscheduled, calls. Plan meetings with your employees, so they do not have un-bridled access to you. Turn off notifications on your computer. Let your family and your friends know your work schedule and plan social calls and visits for NON-work hours.
If you are unwilling to RUTHLESSLY protect your time — WITHOUT APOLOGY — you will never be as productive, nor as profitable, as you can be.
Step Five: Stack Your Efforts, Always.
When I was young, my family and I would stay — with my mom’s sisters and all of their kids — in a little wooden cabin in Manteo, NC. The owner of this house was an eccentric couple and whenever they’d visit with us, I got a memorable lesson in what it must have been like to grow up in the Great Depression.
This woman cut all paper towels in half, washed them, rung them out and then hung them up to dry…. ready for multiple uses. She cut an oreo cookie into THIRDS and offered it to my brother and two cousins as an afternoon snack. She thawed the freezer every night and did something — I have NO idea what — with the water. You get the point.
Well, we need to do something similar with our time. We need to become fanatical about getting multiple uses out of each of our efforts. Transcribe recorded calls into written products. Re-purpose past content. (Example: In the new WOW membership, we’ll be unveiling an “archive of the week,” taking parts of paid WOW programs and digging deep into them each week, allowing members untold dollars of additional benefits, but allowing me to re-purpose what’s already been created!) Instead of simply answering emails from non-clients, turn questions into blog posts and allow your whole tribe to benefit.
Look at next week… and get curious about the different and multiple uses you can create out of what’s already on your schedule. In cycling speak, you’re looking to get more miles out of each foot stroke.
Keep me posted on your time hacking progress!!