Our clocks have been turned back; but as I write this the election is still hanging in the balance, and Thanksgiving and Christmas are on the way! Are you tired yet?
This is when you can really feel the time crunch, especially at the office as you try to juggle work, family, and time for yourself. Yes, you need time to be you, to dream, and refuel from the stress of each day.
Time spent on “you” is not always selfish! In fact, you need it! M. Scott Peck writes: “Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.”
The pressure to do more, to have more, and to run faster in the hamster wheel of a 24-hour workday can take a tremendous toll on your body, your mind—not to mention your personal relationships. Most of us know this but we forge ahead anyway refusing to pay attention to the warning signs.
In his book The Road Less Traveled, M. Scott Peck opens his first chapter with these words: “Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. . . . Once we truly know that life is difficult—once we truly understand and accept it—then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”
This increasing drive to have more, please others, and fill up our lives with work and things that we believe offer later benefits, leave us gasping for precious air and desperately longing to have more of that one thing we can’t produce—time.
No one’s Perfect Day is a 24-hour workday!
This is our modern dilemma. We have believed a lie and that lie says “in order to have more you have to work more and that means reducing the time we do the things we enjoy and including the time to be successful as entrepreneurs. How do you break the double bind?
If the time factor is not addressed, most entrepreneurs and leaders know the answer: burnout, losses, and physical health issues. This should also be a concern for anyone who has employees. How do you institute time management in your company? Success begins with health—mentally healthy people achieve more. Physically healthy people know how to set time schedules that work.
According to a study on time management conducted by the Institute for Corporate Productivity, 53 percent of 332 polled companies have a “somewhat high” or “high” level of concern about the time management skills of their employees, and 46 percent feel the same way about worker’s delegation skills.
This means it is even more reason to hire well. For example, it’s vital to hire a personal assistant or a virtual assistant, who can take some things off your plate while also contributing to your success. Leaders need to lead and not be trapped in the downdraft of the every day office buzz.
• I believe the first step to understanding time management is to engage a life coach, who can spot your weaknesses quickly and is not afraid to show you how those look on paper. As entrepreneurs, we understand spread sheets! So, build one and be honest. What is taking up your time?
What is grabbing the best of you and who gets your leftovers—your family, your friends, yourself?
Jack Welch advises his clients to “change before you have to!” So, my challenge to you is “take a scalpel to your time now. Cut out what is a time grabber and go for what means the most in this life. Live your dreams and also live successfully. Can you have both? Yes.
Change Your Mindset
I advise Perfect Day clients who want to make the best use of time to look at your daily schedule. Are you answering questions, going to meetings, and even doing small tasks that others could do instead?
This brings up another question: after you realize (probably too late) that you are burning your candle at both ends and you have almost reached flame out, how do you make a shift in your behavior?
Engrained behaviors are very difficult to change. I advise clients to “make this shift before you end up calling me from the ER at the hospital.” Don’t smile at this statement because it actually happened.
One of my Perfect Day clients found time management one of the last hold outs in his life. He understood how delegation at the office worked, but he just could not let go of his control. One night my phone rang, and he was calling me from a bed in the ER!
Most of my clients are mentally strong people; and because they are also savvy, they are very proud of their accomplishments.
But sadly, time management to many boils down to “How can I spend more time behind the desk” instead of “How can I schedule time to do the things in life that add value and meaning now?”
Here is a first easy step. Put down your cell phone and turn off your computer! The fact is while email and social media have done wonders for the way we live and communicate, they are also the very reason our work life and our personal life bleed together. Being continually “plugged in” can make you feel overworked without necessarily causing you to feel more accomplished or productive.
In fact, if you are checking messages from work when you are off “the clock”, then you probably feel even more stressed! This is a perfect example of how you give your precious time away. And, so what if you solve some problem via a text while off on a trip with your family. Is it really worth stepping away from those you love to be in control of something that could be gone tomorrow? That’s right. We are not promised tomorrow, so resist the temptation to believe the opposite.
• A second step is to hire someone who is trained to set up a time management plan for you. With a little bit of strategic planning, and some effort and discipline, it is possible to design your life and especially your time in a way that has maximal benefits to you and energizes your life around your business needs.
What if it were possible to have a radically different paradigm? As a Perfect Day engineer, I will show you how to achieve this.
Here’s a closer look: What if you took a radically different approach to designing your time? What if you started out the new year and said, “Okay, so there are 365 days in a year consisting of 52 weeks of five traditional business days. This means there are 250 business days, minus some holidays, so that makes around 240 business days.” Right off the bat, you already have what could be considered 125 non-business days. That means a full one-third of the year can be devoted to you—not your business.
My Perfect Day Example
How does someone like Troy Shuette of Elite Waste Disposal keep his time management under control? “As a business owner, I treasure freedom. The irony is most people in business find they are without true freedom. By first honing a times system that shows me where my time is most valuable, I am able to focus and develop what I call a ‘Self-Managing Company.’
“My day-to-day business runs without me. I created a framework around me that has empowered my employees to do their jobs while I do mine and only mine. This has given me true freedom. The right mindset means I don’t have to do it all to be successful. This is the key to my business success.”
Stepping off “the cliff” for change requires an act of faith. It’s a step of faith and part of your Perfect Day. You have to believe that your parachute is going to work. You have to believe that if you actually take more time off, you will be more productive, make more money and have more energy.
It’s true. I have lived it.
• Third step is the hard part: You must make a commitment to change. The Perfect Day lifestyle is a lifestyle committed to making a mindset shift from only work to one that is balanced and considers the future, which includes enjoying what you have now, reaching your dream, spending time with family, friends, and giving yourself to ventures that have the potential for good.
The key to success is to make sure you have a time system in place and those who work with you understand it. Your staff has to get on board. You need to communicate clearly when you are available to address administrative activities and when you are not.
Remember, few things are so pressing that if they are not dealt with immediately, it will cause your entire life to topple down like a house of cards. On the other hand, the house of cards might fall if you don’t put a good time system in place and stick with it. Sign up for a complimentary 15-Minute Strategy Session with me today!
Plus, if you haven’t done so, download a free copy of my book Perfect Day. I know I have a solution for the stress you are feeling.
About The Author: Cokie Berenyi
Cokie Berenyi has been in financial services and serving the needs of individual and institutional clients and entrepreneurs since 1996. Mother, author, business owner, financial “samurai” and Perfect Day engineer, Cokie loves food, wine, travel, stray dogs, goat cheese, tennis, and alpine mountaineering.
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