I originally posted this article on LinkedIn on August 8, 2019 here.
As an entrepreneur, time is your most valuable resource. And yet, if you ask any entrepreneur, chances are they’ll tell you they never have enough time.
Learning to master the time you’re given each day is crucial to the success of your business. To manage my time in all areas of life, I use two important tools:
- Book of Yet
- Passion Planner
Let’s look at how these tools can help you better manage your time.
The Book of Yet
The Book of Yet has two sections, the first of which is a list of everything I have not done yet, consisting mostly of ideas that people have given me that I think are terrific and would like to one day implement. It helps me to avoid “shiny object syndrome.”
Oftentimes, someone will present me with one of these concepts that gets me excited but has no place in my current schedule, and so it will go in my Book of Yet.
The second section consists of ideas or concepts that I do not yet understand. Jay Abraham once told me a story about a company that had new leadership brought in after being bought out by another company. With those new leaders came a shiny fleet of luxury vehicles in which these folks would be transported by their own drivers.
A number of the employees soured on this concept and became quite vocal about it. The CEO explained that by giving each leader a driver, they were able to convert their one to two hour commute into productive time for the company, which more than offset the costs of the cars and drivers. In fact, they saw a positive gain in revenue.
While the concept made sense, I was unable to reconcile it in my mind. Therefore, it went into my Book of Yet—have a driver to be more productive.
While it doesn’t resonate now, there may come a time when I return to this concept that I’ve written down. It’s not a “must” goal yet, but it’s important enough to warrant its own holding space. As my business grows, it might elevate to “must” status.
Every Sunday, I review my Book of Yet. It is important for you to choose a day every week to review yours as well. Not all of your items are going to be as ambitious or on as grand a scale as hiring a driver. Perhaps you documented that your website needs an upgrade. With your weekly review, you will determine which of these ideas can be pulled from the book and be converted into action items for the week.
Once an item moves from the Book of Yet into my agenda, I use the Passion Planner.
The Passion Planner
The Passion Planner is an amazing tool for organizing your time. Planners and agendas are a dime a dozen, but the Passion Planner stands apart from the field because it helps you incorporate your goals and projects into your plan. This is not to say you can’t use any planner to do this. However, because you will create a list with your own Book of Yet, it makes sense to use a tool where you can incorporate that list.
Utilizing the planner allows you to work in bite-size chunks work. With all of the distractions of notifications, texts, and emails, it’s easy to argue that we are only capable of about sixty to ninety minutes of intense concentration.
When you’re a service provider like I am, the idea of working on a project distraction free for hours is ludicrous. Knowing that fact, build your schedule such that service time is committed to first because that is when you will collect the highest revenue.
Then build in your ninety-minute sprints. Never go back-to-back with sprints, however. For example, I will work on new website content for ninety minutes and set a timer. At the end of that time, no matter how much or how little progress I’ve made, I’ll stop. If I finish before the alarm, I also stop. I don’t attempt to do another project from the list.
If I have thirty minutes remaining, guess what?
That’s right. It’s a reward to do whatever I choose with that time.
For me, if I can win thirty minutes of extra time eight times consecutively in a week by being efficient with my time, I’ve earned myself a round of golf.
In that way, I never feel guilty when I play a round with my friends. I go so far as to include that time in my Passion Planner. I program in my service time, my sprints, and then any personal time, be it date night, family time, or that round of golf.
Not only am I picking up time for myself, but I’m picking up time on my competition by being ruthlessly efficient with the manner in which I budget my time.
Developing Good Habits Takes Time
Make no mistake, there is a discipline to this, and it takes time to develop.
It is similar to how it takes time to see results with dieting or exercise. We’ve seen it with a number of our clients. They will commit themselves to creating their lists and plans, but they go on vacation, and the discipline wanes. As a result, they fall back into an inefficient use of their time, and they have to make strides to course correct.
Fortunately, it’s easy to see how much time you save when you use these tools. Despite the notion that it seems restrictive to schedule everything, it creates a significant amount of freedom in my business and personal life, and it will do the same for you.
For more advice on effectively managing your time, you can find my book None Of Your Business on Amazon.