There's No Such Thing as Time Management
Call me a nerd but I love a good business, self-help, lift-me up, productivity book. It keeps me motivated and gives me fresh ideas.
I recently finished The 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management by Kevin Kruse and loved it...especially considering how busy I can get working in and on my business.
Spoiler alert if you haven't read it (yet), there’s no such thing as time management. While Kruse ends with that point, I think it's important to keep this frame of mind as you read the following tips from his book because it's all about how you think about time, not about how you manage it.
Here's a little summary of the 15 secrets:
Secret 1 Time is your most valuable and scarcest resource
Time and productivity require a shift in mindset. Think about it this way: there are 1,440 minutes in a day. You can’t change that so you have to think about how you will spend those precious minutes.
Secret 2 Identify your MIT (Most Important Task) and work on it everyday before doing anything else.
If you're determined to learn a new language, study and practice early on in the day.
If your goal is to start (or continue growing) a business, work on building that business every morning.
Overall, do your creative work first thing in the morning. Reactive work comes second.
Prioritize your goals if you want to achieve them.
Secret 3 Ditch To-Do Lists
This one both surprised and scared me because I love to-do lists. The idea here is to work from a calendar instead and schedule EVERYTHING, even if it's as simple as mailing a card. Schedule a time on your calendar to do it and treat it as if it were a doctor's appointment. You would never miss a doctor's appointment. If you're like me and like to check things off a to-do list, you can still write it down - just make sure you simultaneously schedule it in your calendar and mark it as complete when you do!
Secret 4 Procrastination can be overcome when you figure out how to beat your future self
Our future-self cannot be trusted to do the right thing. We underestimate the power of present emotions vs. future emotions when we set goals. If you decide you’re going on a diet and are determined not to eat the cookies in the cupboard, just throw them out. We may resist those cookies when our will power is strong on the first day of our diet, but you just can’t trust yourself a couple days in. Do yourself a favor and beat your future self.
BE who you want to become.
Secret 5 There will always be more to do and more to that can be done. Accept it.
Our work will never be finished. There will always be someone to email, a project to start, reports to work on...the list goes on. Most of us could literally work 24/7 and still have work to do. So, give yourself a favor and stop working around the clock. Get what you need to get done for the day and enjoy the mental break that we’re given everyday.
Secret 6 Carry a notebook
Write everything down. The most successful people write every idea down and reference back to them.
Secret 7 Control your inbox
Email can sometimes control us. I’m totally guilty of having my email up all day...just in case someone emails me that I need to get to right away. The upside? Clients love the immediate response. The downside? My work gets interrupted. They say the rule is to check your inbox 1-3x per day. I honestly think it depends on what kind of work you do. Good rule of thumb is to check it morning, afternoon, and night and always get it down to ZERO.
Secret 8 Schedule & attend meetings as a last resort
I love this one. We all know that most meetings suck. They can oftentimes be unproductive and people only schedule them because, you know, we're 'working' and 'meeting'. If a meeting is required, try to make it 25 minutes or less and only invite the people that are absolutely needed. I’ve sat in way too many meetings where there are a few too many cooks in the kitchen. Get to the point and get on with your day.
Secret 9 say no to everything that doesn't support your immediate goals
While most people think that saying yes to everything helps move you forward, they say that focusing is about saying no.
Good rule of thumb: "If it's not a HELL YEAH!, it's a no."
Secret 10 80% of outcomes are generated by 20% of activities
This fact is a reminder to stay focused on what generates results/returns and truly makes you happy. Stop doing what doesn't serve a purpose in your life.
Secret 11 focus your time only on the things that utilize your unique strengths and passions
This one is fun. If you audit your time and take a look at everything you have been doing, all of those things should fall into one of three buckets: DROP, DELEGATE, REDESIGN.
DROP: What are you doing that you shouldn't be doing?
DELEGATE: What are you doing that you can delegate to someone that is better equipped to fill that task?
REDESIGN: Is this the most efficient way to approach this task?
Secret 12 batch your work with recurring themes for different days of the week
This goes on the theme of calendaring everything. If you plan out your week ahead of time, dedicating certain days to "themes" and calendaring items that fall within that theme on your calendar, you're better able to stay on track.
Secret 13 if a task can be completed <5 minutes, do it immediately
Don't calendar it, don't write it down on a to-do list, just do it immediately and get it over with.
Secret 14 invest the first 60 minutes of each day in rituals that strengthen mind, body & spirit
Whether it's meditating, working out, practicing yoga, etc., it's important to have your "hour of power". The most successful people in the world wake up at 6am or earlier to start their morning ritual. If you haven't heard of Tony Robbins, he has a pretty intense morning routine that includes cold plunges and something nicknamed "The Torture Machine". Don’t forget to drink lots of water! Tip I learned from another book: take your weight and cut it in half. That’s how many ounces of water you should be drinking a day. If you exercise, you should be drinking more.
Secret 15 productivity is about energy and focus, not time
As I mentioned in the beginning, there’s no such thing as managing time...you can only maximize your energy to make that time more valuable.
Have you read the book? What other productivity hacks do you adhere to?