During these tough times, how do we manage our time? Football Guy may have an easier time managing himself. He probably has people all around him who do this for him. They're called coaches, trainers, agents, lawyers, accountants; some are even called managers. And their job is to … manage! Brilliant.
In our case, we are our own managers. Whether you are an entrepreneur, employee, or independent contractor, you need to manage yourself and your time. Parkinson's Law says, “Work tends to expand to the time allotted to it.” So, if you have all day to write the report, how long will it take? Yes, you may stretch it out all day. But what if you have one hour to get the report done? Yes, it will take an hour. I believe the same rule applies to human resources: “Work tends to expand to the human resources allotted to it.” You will have as much work as you can handle.
If you want to increase your workload, hire an assistant. Soon after I hired my first assistant, incoming calls doubled, then tripled. We had to send out more marketing packets and enter more names in the database. After a year, my assistant asked me, “Before I got here, how did you do all this by yourself?” I answered, “Before you got here, I didn’t have all this.” This follows the philosophy: “build it and they will come.” It was an important step forward for me in developing my own “Conscious Competence,” the ability to know what works so you can repeat it.
A magic word in managing is delegation. It will open you up to extra time. Remember what you are paid for. I don't do anything my assistant can do. I need to market myself, so I make the phone calls. I touch people. My assistant is a computer whiz, so she touches paper. That's the division of labor in our office.
When it comes to managing your time, remember: Your time is your inventory. It's easy to get distracted or procrastinate. Not only time, but your energy is also your inventory. You only have so much of both. Are you frugal? Observe what you do during the day and you can find out.
If you find yourself balancing your checkbook or looking up the latest game scores (low priorities), rather than checking your e-mail or making marketing calls (high priorities), you are sabotaging yourself. High priorities are business tasks that further your mission: answer that e-mail, research that report, make 10 calls, follow up with that client again, reach that secretary at 7 a.m. so you can speak to her boss. Then, later, after you've accomplished something, you can reward yourself by finding out if the San Diego Chargers won yesterday’s game.
To be a Consciously Competent person, schedule high priorities during “prime time,” the time when you are at your peak energy. Most people are either night people or morning people. Some lucky ones are both. I am a morning gal. This is great because I live on the West Coast. I can make calls to the East Coast at 6 A.M. and can catch people as they start their business day. I find it energizing.
If you are a morning person, don't schedule your haircut appointment at 9 a.m. Don't file papers at 9 a.m. These are low priorities, and they do not require a lot of energy. Do these when you are tired, during your “lag time.” Resist the seduction of doing low priorities during your prime time, just to be able to “check them off.” You “check off freaks” out there, you know who you are.
Once you meet with a little success, you'll want to manage yourself and your time even more. Nothing succeeds like success. I think a football guy said that.