Master Time Management
For six and a half weeks—from the middle of March through the end of April—I hosted a webinar from 8-10 p.m, every weeknight, and some Saturdays as well, as a way to provide support for shop owners during the coronavirus outbreak.
A lot of people asked me how I had time. It was nuts at work. I was making marketing plans for members and my own shops, I had to navigate cutting hours and my staff and put out a lot of fires, so how did I fit in?
I believe in blending. I don’t believe in work-life balance, I blend the two. For example, those nights when I was recording the webinars, I included my family. I got home at 7:30 and at 8, I was logging on. My daughters would do the opening of the podcast for me and my wife did commentary off-camera. It was very entertaining doing it with my family.
Friday evening, I shut it down and do nothing but family stuff. This past Saturday we went on a boat ride and on Sunday we rode ATVs. What did I not do? Watch TV. While doing the webinars, I cut out all entertainment time. I decided what was most important to me—my family—and found ways to incorporate them into the webinar. Throughout the year, I do not have my shop open on Saturdays because the weekends are for them. But, when I’m at work, I’m at work.
There’s 168 hours in a week. If you sleep 8 hours per day, that’s 56 hours of sleeping, leaving 112 waking hours. If you work 50 hours per week, you still have 62 hours per week to goof off, have fun, sit on the coach and binge-watch Netflix—whatever. That time is yours. So, what are you doing with that time? Stop saying you don’t have time. The same person that tells me they don’t have time is the same person that has laundry and paperwork piled up.
Here’s my secret to how I approach time management—I never do anything based on what’s most efficient. The way I work is that I want to complete a task. For example, if I see a sink full of dishes, I’ll run the dishwasher right away. I don’t wait until it’s all the way full. If I decide to epoxy the floors at my shop, I’ll focus on it until it’s done.
A lot of people want to do multiple things at once and they think that’s the efficient way. If I have 20 things on my to-do list, I’ll shelve 15 of them and really focus on five. I focus on what’s important before it becomes urgent. If your bills are piling up and they’re late—that’s urgent. My goal is for nothing to become urgent. So, set aside a chunk of time—before the bills are due—to pay them all and send them in. Importance becomes urgent through procrastination. I add pressure to myself by becoming laser focused until one task is done. Some people out there might be claiming that they work best when they procrastinate or they can’t focus—not true. Anyone can focus. Just removing everything else that’s distracting you.
Distractions aren’t just other tasks, it can be the environment you’re in, too. If you’re trying to read a book, but you’re sitting in the living room watching your favorite show, is that book getting read? No. When you’re around people that are working, you’ll be inspired to do that, and the opposite is also true. Your environment dictates your behavior. Eliminate distractions and you’ll be amazed how much more time you feel like you have.
Urgent is a stressful life. Those that are living this life, from the outside, appear to be a basketcase. Think about someone in your life that seems all over the place—maybe you are that person—and now think about someone that always seems pulled together and is able to get so much more done. Does the put together person have more time than the other? Less responsibilities? Less desire to have free time? No. 168 hours in the week—it’s the same for everyone.