There’s never enough time in the day. I can’t ever do all the things I need to do…
A Simple Leadership Lesson:
There are so many things wrong with that quote. Let’s review some simple and basic facts:
- There are precisely 24 hours in a day — there are never 23, or 25 or any other number
- Everyone has 24 hour days — billionaires, people who are broke, entrepreneurs, executives, seniors, millennials, smart people, not-so-smart people — everyone
- Time is expensive — because it is unrecoverable
Once an hour has slipped by, you can’t make it up. Unless you sacrifice something else
- NEED is a word that is often ill-defined — we toss it around much too casually
- There is a big difference between the things we WANT to do and SHOULD or more importantly MUST do
Whether you are a student, entrepreneur starting and building a company, a Leader of an organization or team, or butcher, baker or candlestick maker, understanding what we are about to discuss is quite important.
That is, if you care at all about being successful. Wildly Successful.
For total transparency, speaking of myself, well, I’m not what I consider to be wildly successful. YET.
But I am getting there. I’m a lot more successful, the way I define successful now, than I was 5 or 10 or even 20 years ago. Success is not at all about money, or power or fame. Trust me. I had all of those.
- I had plenty of money. 6 zero, 7 figure money. Fuck You kind of money.
- I wielded power. Oversaw a global enterprise
- I had fame. OK, I wasn’t George Clooney or Tom Brady or J.K. Rowling. But in my sphere, people knew me
All of that shit went straight to my head.
It was like I was perpetually high
Again, it’s not about any of those things folks. Strive and crave for them if you will. Chase them down if you desire. Go ahead, Run and Gun if you want. But you are wasting your precious time.
It’s about — here it comes — VISION. Fulfilling a purpose. My WHY.
Simple. The best things in life are indeed actually (relatively!) free.
And to those that say you don’t need purpose? I say, go ahead and drift aimlessly at the whim of the tide and the wind…
I define Wildly Successful as realizing the vision I created for myself. Living the dream I created for my future. Not that you would care about my dream, my WHY, but it is the following. In this very specific and purposeful order:
- Be the best human being I can be. Husband, father, grandfather. An inspiration, mentor, guide and positive role model to my family
- An Effective Life, Recovery and Career Coach — helping others achieve their dreams
- A Successful author — publishing popular and helpful books
- A Renowned and in-demand speaker
- A Popular blogger (I’m NOT primarily a blogger. My blogging is a means to an end)
Means to an End is an important concept and distinction. Many people confuse this. They lose sight of the End, and become fully engrossed and invested in the Means. Blindly so.
Let’s not forget that a Means is something you do in order to achieve an End goal
You can define Wildly Successful any way you want. However you define it, I believe all of this is going to apply to you. It’s going to make you more successful, fulfilled, able to cope, and to wake up every morning knowingyou are making a huge difference in this world, in your own way.
This isn’t about Time Management. I intensely dislike that phrase. I abhortime management courses, blogs, eBooks, and everything else associated with it. I’ve taken my share of them. Some voluntary, some forced.
OK, OK, so I did get some good stuff out of most of the time management courses I took, or HAD to take. I just chafe at having to read and complete exercises and assignments for the same stuff umpteen times.
Again, it’s not about time management. It is about focusing and prioritizing. Bet you saw THAT one coming!
A few thoughts:
- When everything is a priority, nothing is a priority
- With too many priorities, you get spread too thin. Quality suffers
There is no honor in being an inch deep and 10 miles wide. It’s actually quite insane…
- Things take forever to get done when you have too many priorities — the cost of Time Slicing and the fallacy of Multi Tasking
- Nothing gets pushed over the goal line and into the end zone
All the “priorities” get stalled on the 20 yard line
- You are never truly GREAT at most things you do. Good at best, mediocreand poor at worst. Why? There’s not enough time to get GREAT at anything!
Your Vision and Your WHY
- Your vision needs to be crystal clear
- Fuzzy visions create confusion and lead to chaos — for you and anyone else involved with you — if you are a Leader, this is of utmost importance for your team. Fuzzy Leader, cloudy vision, confused and chaotic team
- WHAT you do is important and HOW you do it is also important — but WHY you do what you do — well, THAT is the key to being wildly successful
Here’s more I’ve written about the WHY if you care to read:
And if you want to read what a struggling Leader did to revitalize a struggling venture (a fictitious account loosely based on my own experiences) read this:
There’s Nothing Like Discovering Your Whymedium.com
Jim Rohn (my personal hero) was known to tout the 80/20 rule.
Some people don’t do well because they major in the minor things — Jim Rohn
He would say that “20 % of your effort creates 80 % of your result”. It’s about identifying the right 20 %.
Here are a few of many deadly time thieves. Things that “steal” your time.
- Little or no planning — the execution is then haphazard, seat of the pants and potentially chaotic
- Too much planning — yes, too much is TOO MUCH — eventually, you have to actually DO something!
- Poor execution of a good plan — not enough skill, or resource, or time to do right what you planned on doing
- As we’ve mentioned previously, too many priorities
- Complexity where simplicity would produce better results — over complicating the work and the environment
- Inefficiency in processes or even a lack of process
- Engaging in over-dramatization of events and circumstances — stop whining and just DO IT
This worked for me. It might not for you. Other people’s suggestions on what made them successful is kind of like a doctor telling you to take the medicine she takes because it works for her. Or an Optometrist handing you his eye glasses because the prescription helps him see better.
Someone else’s solution is most probably not at all relevant or even safe for you…
And yes, I take cold showers, but that is not at all important right now…
With that important caveat in mind, this is what worked for me:
- Put together a list of the things in life that are REALLY important to you
- Include Family, Hobbies, Social, Other Personal, and your Professional Life and Career as well
- Track your hourly activities for 2 weeks — preferably 3 weeks — to develop a baseline of where you are spending time
- Then make a list of the activities you tracked and how much time you spent on them — sort them from highest amount of time to lowest
- Compare them to your list of things you said were really important to you
Match? No Match? Enlightening? Surprising? Shocking?
Either you were not really serious about the things you said were important, or, you are majoring in minor things. Which is it?
If you are a Leader, and your day and life is chaotic, haphazard andunplanned…
What the heck do you expect out of your team?
What example are you setting?
You might want to take one final step.
Use the Covey Quadrants or Eisenhower Matrix (also known as the Urgent-Important Matrix). Put all of your activities in one of the four boxes. Then blow away anything in Boxes 3 or 4. Shit can them. Now.
Someone else’s fire is not necessarily yours!
You can Google the terms Covey Quadrants and Eisenhower Matrix for more insight and step by step instructions on how to use these.
These are much more than time management tools. They are “Major in Major Things” tools.
Just because something is old school doesn’t mean it’s not good and won’t work!
So this is where we are. We’ve come to the end of this running diatribe.
I “Began With the End In Mind” — a Stephen Covey term which is EXTREMELY relevant and impacting — to discover why we never seem to have enough time. Now, close to 1,600 words later…
WHY. MEANING. PURPOSE. FULFILLMENT. IMPORTANCE. VALUE. FOCUS.
That’s where you ought to be spending those 24 hours.
1 Mile Wide and 1 Mile Deep.
You have more than enough time. It’s just that you are spending it frivolously, carelessly, haphazardly and chaotically…
Cut that shit out!
That’s my call to action…
This is a Simple Leadership Lesson. Visit my publication Simple and Practical Leadership and follow me for more short, useful, and practical Leadership Wisdom delivered to you weekly.
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