Everyone is looking for a competitive advantage. The greatest competitive advantage every person has is also the most precious resource we possess, time!
We all are ruled by the number 1440. That’s the number of minutes we all have each day. What you do with your allotment of 1440 minutes each day will dictate your success!
Over the years I have developed a simple yet very effective time management strategy that was inspired by some great business people, a YouTube video, and a couple of historical figures.
This strategy has enabled me to accomplish some things I am very proud of. It is my hope that sharing my strategy with you will help you to do the same.
My Time Management System in 6-Steps
Step 1: Keep it Simple
The most important time management tip I can give you is to keep it simple.
“Keep it simple, simple is hard enough!” – Owen Clark
We all understand this message but it is often very difficult to put into practice. We complicate our business and lives needlessly. Find ways to simplify your business and life.
Step 2: Prioritize Your Life and Career
Most people feel like there is too much going on in their life and career to fit everything in and that no matter what something has to be neglected.
But if you prioritize things correctly you can get much more accomplished than you ever thought possible. I encourage you to watch this video and remember that life lessons make great business lessons.
Step 3: Remember that Proper, Planning, Prevents, Poor, Performance
Write your plan down on paper or use an app like Evernote.
“Every minute you spend in planning saves 10 minutes in execution…” – Brian Tracy
Break your plan down into a daily activity list and prepare it the night before so you can wake up, look at your list, and get to work.
Step 4: Delegate, Delegate, Delegate
Delegating is a critical skill.
Now I know what some of you are going to say “Jamie, it takes longer to get someone else to do it than if I just do it myself” and to that, I say “only the first time”. If you provide clear direction and a simple checklist you should be able to leave it with the person and get predictable results.
“Delegate everything that can be done by someone else.” – Nathan Hirsch
What if you don’t have anyone to delegate to?
To that I have one question, how much does it cost if it doesn’t get done? If your answer is more than $500.00 then I recommend that you hire a virtual assistant to do it. They will cost less than $500.00. If the answer is less than $500.00 then can you afford to not do it all? Why not spend your time on something that earns $1000.00 instead?
Step 5: Focus
It is really challenging to do what Cal Newport calls “deep work” because of all of the distractions that bombard us every day.
“One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself.” – Leonardo Da Vinci
I really like the acronym F.O.C.U.S. to describe how to apply mastery over yourself.
F.O.C.U.S. stands for Follow One Course Until Success and the way to do that is to remain distraction-free in the process.
The trick to remaining distraction-free is to set aside specific amounts of time to work with no interruption by anyone or anything. You can learn more about the Pomodoro Technique here.
Turn off your devices and put up that “DO NOT DISTURB” sign and work without interruption for 42 minutes, then take an 18-minute break. You will be astonished how if you do this once a day, 5 days a week, and focus on a high-value project how much you will get done in a month or quarter.
Step 6: Value Time and Be Realistic
Time is a precious commodity that must be protected, invested carefully, and never wasted. It is useful to work on being mindful of how you are using your time, stop periodically, and ask yourself: Am I using my time wisely right now? If the answer is NO then immediately take corrective action.
That being said, I think we have to be realistic about what can be accomplished in a day, a week, a month, or a year.
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” – Theodore Roosevelt
By recognizing the natural limits of what can be accomplished and using this time management system you will be amazed at how much you can get done.
What do you do if you feel discouraged or burnout?
You may apply all of the steps in my time management system and you still may experience discouragement and burnout. I’m a successful person but I feel discouraged and burnt out from time to time. Over the years this feeling has come and gone.
There are a few things that I know for certain:
- There is a fine line between pushing yourself to succeed and having unrealistic expectations.
- You cannot give to others if you have not taken care of yourself first.
- Taking a holiday may seem like the solution but only makes things worse if you go somewhere you can’t afford. Sometimes a walk in the park, a picnic with a loved one, or just turning off all your devices and reading a fiction novel will do more to recharge the batteries.
- Learning to accept that your human and discouragement or being burnt out is normal seems like a good idea but is very hard to actually do.
- If your discouragement leads to depression get professional help.
You are a human being, not a machine.
If you are pushing yourself to achieve great things in your life you are going to experience discouragement at times, you are going to feel burnt out at other times. Be kind to yourself and if the problem persists reach out to friends or family for support. Let them help you carry the load. If it gets really bad please seek professional help.
If you want to achieve great things in your career and with your heavy-duty parts business you must have systems. Using the time management system that I have described in this article will help you to stay balanced and achieve some pretty amazing things. I wish you all the success in the world.
Would you like some help to develop your strategy?
Jamie Irvine works with forward-thinking heavy-duty companies as a consultant. Working with leadership groups and individuals on developing strategies that will enable them to expand their capabilities is common consulting work that Jamie does with heavy-duty truck & trailer companies.