I'm rarely “busy. " I'm usually working on a project. I might be writing a book, recording a CD program, writing an article for my weekly international EZine, Coffee with Kevin Hogan, creating an ad or promotion, giving a presentation, consulting, speaking, or researching.
Now, when I'm doing one of those things, I'm not busy, I'm working on a project. And there is a difference.
Busy means very little is actually getting accomplished.
Today I went to the hardware store to pick up an odd shaped light. Then I went to Barnes and Noble, just for the heck of it. Next I popped in at Target and picked up some laundry soap, yard maintenance stuff, some vacuum cleaner bags and some raspberry preserves. Then it was over to the gas station to fill up the gas can for the lawn mower. (I haven't filled the car's gas tank since Christmas. . . . no kiddin’. . . . )
Got home. . . and replaced the vacuum bag, scoped out some of the books I lugged home and then dealt with some legal issues that have no upside.
There isn't one thing there that was a project. It was all just busy stuff. I got into the world, found people still there and came home.
. . could have had someone go do those things and it would have cost me all of twenty bucks to get that done. Instead i lost two hours of project time because I wanted to get out.
Don't get me wrong, I made the right decision.
I needed to get out.
I hadn't started the car since I got back from Vegas a few weeks ago, so it's nice to know it still loves me.
But if I did this everyday, I'd be a “busy guy. . . . " and broke.
Busy people don't get anything done. And this morning I got nothing done. It “felt" kind of good to be out and about, so I probably did my health and psyche some good.
All well and good. No regrets.
But it could become addictive.
KEYPOINT: Being busy, FEELS like something is getting accomplished when of course in reality, NOTHING of significance is getting done.
Go back up to the project list above. That is where my world happens.
Busy is like a piece of chocolate. Tastes great. . . empty calories.
Are you the poster child for “busyness", the one who is never able to get your business projects done (the perpetual starter, then avoider syndrome)?
Or even worse, are you the one who has decided to throw the towel because you simply “do not have time"?
What I'd like to show you here is a simple time management system to become more productive and achieve your goals.
The key to all this is to focus your efforts on incorporating some simple but profound principles into your life, which are going to allow you to get more done in the limited amount of time you have.
I watched hundreds of “busy people" today. Some of them probably thought they were getting something done. They went home exhausted from their shopping and fueling and whatever. For me it was rather exhilarating. . . .
Let's start here. . .
The Art of the Tradeoff
(A. K. A. Stop the “I don't have time" Nonsense)
KEYPOINT: The concept of tradeoff is pretty much the notion of giving up something to get something else.
No big complicated formula there. . .
It does not necessarily have to be “hurt" if you know that it is going to pay off at the end of the day by helping you create a stream of income that will help you achieve financial freedom.
This is simply about reprioritizing and giving up unnecessary things and non-productive activities such as spending hours in front of mindless TV shows, sleeping too much, playing video games non-stop, chatting for hours on myspace or the phone, etc.
Two things are common at this point that screw everyone up.
First, a lot of people work on “their goal" and get that stuff done, thinking that everything is cool.
But it's not. Working on a goal is not the same as having the rewards IF everything works out.
KEYPOINT: What's critical is to put your contingency plans into your goal structure and time “management" plan each day.
Second, a lot of people think that they can't watch Lost or 24 or whatever because they have a goal.
This is crazy.
Each week, take 10 hours and assign it to non-goal activities. This can be taking the kids to Cub Scouts, going to church, having the relatives over, watching a movie or going out to eat.
Obviously if you choose to cut the lawn, (busy work) then that's the same as watching a TV show. The point is to plan these things at the end of the week for the following week.
There are plenty of non-productive activities that each of us engage in that we could easily give up (or at least reduce the time we spend indulging in them) in order to make our dream of financial freedom or simply a life of freedom, come true.
This is a very important. Make the time available by planning non goal activities at the end of the week. . . for the following week.
The Intensely Focused State
Tomorrow I'll cut the lawn. That's an hour. If I want that to be one of my 10 hours of nongoal activity, all I do when I cut the lawn is cut the lawn. . . .
But that isn't the case.
I'll work on a presentation or plan a product while I cut the lawn. Cutting the lawn requires no thought so I essentially get an hour of exercise while focused on something that will be extremely important.
You can't write a book while you cut the lawn, and that's a good thing.
The importance of, “I get things done, " (Your new mantra) is since we all have a limited amount of time, it is imperative that whenever you are working on a significant task, you give it your absolute undivided attention and energy until it is completed.
It pretty much means giving yourself 100% to what you are doing when you are working on your business or anything else that is important for the matter.
I apply this philosophy to all areas of my life and it works without fail. This is pretty much about not approaching your task or project with a non- commitmental attitude and ending up producing some half-a**ed work and results. You can double your productivity just by applying this principle alone. I personally do not like spending an excessive amount of time on any task, so I put all the concentration and energy necessary to get it done in the most reasonable time possible.
OK. . . not always reasonable. . . fast. . .
Every successful person I know gets things done. . . . fast.
In order to make this possible when you are going to be working during your business time, do not allow any distractions to interfere with your work. That means: NO PHONE CALLS,
Here are some tips you can use to make it easier for you:
1. Create a productive work environment (maybe w/ music or complete silence whichever you prefer, coffee, etc) for yourself. Create the kind of environment that allows you to feel relaxed and focused.
2. If that means working outside of your house (e. g. : at a library) like I had to do, then by all means do it. I've had offices over the years but I just hated going to the office. It reminded me too much of school, so, I eventually closed my office door and work from home.
No commute time. No lease on an office. No car expenses. (Don't even need a car. ) Two hours of time saved each day. Better food eaten.
If you are lucky (smart) enough to be a salesperson or entrepreneur, you can take home and earn almost 50% more income by closing the office. (No car, no insurance, no gas, deductible mortgage for 1/3-1/2 of the house, inexpensive healthy food and TONS of extra FREE bonus hours each DAY. If you have kids, you'll be there when they get home.
If that isn't compelling. . . I don't know what is.
3. I hate work.
Work is anything that I am obligated to do that I really don't like and is almost always a waste of time. Taxes, paperwork, book keeping, yuk.
But ya’ gotta do it. (or pay someone to. . . )
Create a list of what you want to get accomplished during each “work" session. This will help you avoid working in a disorganized manner and create a sense of urgency in you to get everything done. When you approach your work session with a clear plan and sense of purpose, you will automatically feel more focused and energized.
You will be surprised with how much you can accomplish just by applying this principle. On the Internet, I know people who have such intense focus that they are able, for example, to put up a website and launch an entire list building and affiliate marketing campaign in only four hours flat.
Busy work can be done FAST so you can get to your passions. . .
Motivation is an interesting things. We are often motivated to learn. . . learn a lot and then get overwhelmed and quit.
It's all pretty simple really: If Jack can do it, you can too.
The best strategy, is, JUST DO IT.
Without a high level of motivation, it is going to be very difficult for you to get anything done, especially since it takes some time before starting to see tangible results.
Becoming motivated enough comes down to two things: having a sense of clarity and having some incentive to get you going.
Clarity means that you know exactly what you are trying to achieve and how you are planning to achieve it. With all the choices and business strategies available out there, it's easy to be jumping from opportunity to opportunity without really accomplishing anything concrete.
You are also going to need to have clear goals. By that I mean tangible goals that are measurable and that you feel connected to (it is realistic enough that you feel you could achieve it).
Then proceeded to break down goals into sub-goals and mini-steps to help you move forward.
Eventually you don't think in terms of goals. You simply write down, “Write Secret Language of Influence. "
(The book that Wiley and Sons will be publishing in October. )
And then you go do it.
For now, there won't be anything to implement if you do not have clear goals. You need to know what exactly it is that you want.
Knowing WHY really helps too.
What kind of lifestyle are you envisioning?
How much would you like to earn?
What type of people would you like to form relationships with?
I could go on and on with different types of questions you need to ask for yourself but I will let you come up with your own.
This process is very important for two main reasons:
- You get a sense of relief and power when you know exactly what you are going after rather than shooting aimlessly at whatever life throws at you. You get to control how and where to spend your time, energy and resources
- You need to be clear on your objective if you ever expect to engage in business, whether online or offline. If you don't, you will be drowned under the sea of new information, opportunities and scams constantly thrown at you.
Another important point is that you need to reward yourself for your efforts. Don't make it food or you'll just get fat.
Do not discount this because it is a powerful driving psychological force. It's hard to brain wash yourself if you don't use the classical conditioning methods!
Self reward, will help your brain create a positive association with the act of getting your work done, and before you realize it you will feel compelled to do it without any self-convincing.
Keep a business journal to record your goals and their evolution. It will help you take a step back and analyze your experience more objectively. Your business journal can also be a great therapy book where you can record your fears and doubts, since you most likely will not be able or willing to share this with your relatives or friends.
Efficiency and Proficiency
(a. k. a “work hard, work smart")
Just about every book in the self help section now says, “Work smart not hard. "
That and other idiotic thinking will cause self sabotage!
Working smart is very important. Working hard is very important.
I don't know anyone who has financial freedom who doesn't do both.
What you really want is to work efficiently and with complete optimization.
You and I get 168 hours this week, so work on the activities that will generate the most return on your time and effort investment.
If you are familiar with the Pareto principle (or 80/20 rule) you know that in most situations 80% of the results come from 20% of the input (or effort).
The trick here is to be able to identify what are these critical input activities that you need to be focusing on to generate most of the desired results. If you make the mistake of allocating most of your time to the other 80% of the activities, which is simply busy work (e. g. : answering emails) that will only generate 20% of your results, you are setting yourself up for a lot of waste of time and frustration.
1. You need to identify the most important activities among the maze of tasks you will have to get done for the type of business you are engaged in.
2. You need to allocate your time appropriately to these tasks according to their value in terms of impact on your overall project.
3. When you are able to (or can afford) consider outsourcing the least critical tasks and focus on the top 20% of the revenue generating activities.
The Power of Systemization
One sure way to save time and get your work done quickly and efficiently is to have a set system for as many of your business activities as possible.
I think in terms of projects. Whenever I'm back on a schedule, I get frustrated because it means I've increased appointments which have a certain length and no chance for optimization.
Having and following a system is advantageous because following an organized set of procedures rather than always improvising makes your life easier, saves time and gives you a sense of control.
If you want to learn how I create time out of thin air and produce about as much as anyone. . . . check out Time for Love, Time for Money . . . .because you NEED BOTH.
For more information about thoroughly researched scientifically proven time management actions, store.kevinhogan.com Time for Love, Time for Money
Time management and Production research and updates can be found at kevinhogan.com
Kevin Hogan is the author of 15 books including two international bestsellers: The Psychology of Persuasion and, The Science of Influence.