It's a common theme for most people that they do not have enough time. That they are maxed and can't keep up with everything they have going on. They are just too busy.
I've found this is simply not true. Most people have way more productive capacity that they realize - they are just not structured well enough to take advantage of it in their lives. I've written before about how structure = freedom. I know that sounds contradictory, but the more structure you have in your day to day, the more freedom you can create for yourself.
For example, most people go through their day without any real plan just reacting to what comes up in their lives and work. They have all these tasks they think they need to do "in their head" and at the end of the day after all the distractions and things that they let steal their time, they are exhasuted and frustrated because they "worked hard, but feel like they didn't get anything done." This happens because they are have ceded control to everything around them and not taken control and put structure in place to keep them focused and get things done.
Now, imagine if they started the day knowing exactly what they had to, their top priorities and had clear deadlines to get them done. And they knew, if they got them done early, they could take the rest of the day to do whatever they wanted? Sounds pretty good right. They accomplish all their tasks and free themselves up to go enjoy the rest of the day. That is what structure brings.
They are a few key components to have a good structure. First is to set aside time each day where you can focus un-interrupted on your most important tasks. During these times, you eliminate distractions - no meetings, no phone calls, turn off IM, etc. You can also block these times on your calendar if you share it with others to make sure they cannot steal your time. Second, plan your week. Each week before the week starts, take 20 minutes to go through each day for the upcoming week and plan out what needs done. You can list the meetings or events you have and then build in the other tasks you need to do each day in your blocked times. Third, at the end of each day, take 5-10 mins to see if you were able to get your priorities for that day completed and to adjust anything for the next day to make sure you are getting everything done. You may find on many days that you are so productive that you can get ahead and work on the next day's priorities and tasks - and still be done early. That is one of the benefits of having a good structure.
Don't think this will work for you or that you don't have enough time in your schedule for everything? Try this simple exercise. For one week - just one week - track what you do for every hour of each day. If you do this, you will be amazed at how much time is wasted and how much opportunity you have. It will also help you understand where you waste the most time and allow you to make changes so you can be more productive.
As H. Jackson Brown Jr. said, "Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein."
Remember, structure = freedom!
Most quotes are meaningless. They are good for a thought in a moment and then are forgotten or never really thought about again. But, occasionally there are quotes that stand the test of time and if you take the time to think about them deeply, can have a big impact on your life and how you think. Below are 10 magnificent quotes to help you do just that. Think on them and what they really mean to you - and then act on that meaning!
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another....
"For every minute you are angry you lose 60 seconds of happiness."
“Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”
“Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people that they don't like.”
If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.
"Never do something permanently foolish just because you are temporarily upset."
“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”
“Learn to appreciate what you have, before time makes you appreciate what you had.”
“Consider it pure joy… whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.”
Let's face it. Sometimes you just have bad days in business. Days where things just don't go your way despite everything you do. We've all been there and there will be more days like that in the future. It is part of the journey of entrepreneurship.
The most important thing about bad days is how we respond to them. After all, they are going to happen, right? So, we should do our best not to make them worse.
The first thing to do when a day does not go your way is to recognize it for what it is - one day out of many and it will pass. Not everything is going to go as planned and some things are just going to fail. The most important thing we can do at these times is to separate emotion and logic and not let emotion get the best of us or drive our decisions. We must think logically. By all means take a few minutes to get your emotions out in whatever way is best for you - but don't take actions based on those emotions.
Next, once we have seperated our emotions and have put them in the past, we must focus on the things we can control and maximize our efforts there. It does not good to worry or put thought into things we cannot control. We must cope with those things, but focus our efforts and our actions in the areas that we do have control and can affect outcomes.
Once we have identified the areas we can control and are focused on them, then we must take action and start working toward better outcomes either to resolve the issue(s) or to pivot around them. The key is to get going and build momentum so you get passed the problems of the day and back to business.
As an example, I have a trading business. Not every trade is going to go my way and sometimes, when I am just about to harvest my profits, the market can turn and go the other way putting me into a losing position. As you can imagine, this can be very aggravating and cause a bad trading day. But, I cannot control the markets - I can only take aciton on the things I have control over. This is why I have specific rules that I follow and most of the time, things work out as planned. When they don't, I remove the emotional response by following my rules and working the trade to the best outcome which sometimes is a loss, but not to the level it could have been if I panicked and let emotions dictate my actions. Because I seperate emotions and focus taking action on the things I can control, I am able to achieve better results.
The next time you have a bad day in your business, use this strategy to help you navigate it and come out on top!
I was reading some passages from Proverbs the other day on 7 Deadly Sins. Now, a lot of people hear Proverbs and think religion, the bible, etc. But, I have found Proverbs to be one of the great sources of wisdom for life and business that anyone can read.
Specifically, I was reading about Sloth or laziness and found it very insightful. We think of being lazy as just that, lazy - not doing anything, not taking initiative, etc. And the consequences are that we miss out on opportunities and reaching our potential. While that is absolutely true, this passage shared that the consequences are much worse.
Part of the passage stated that "Laziness brings on deep sleep." It went on to explain, that sloth brings a progressive decline of a person's ability to work hard - not just in the area they are choosing to be lazy, but throughout all areas of their lives. Sort of like a person who loses their physical conditioning can no longer exercise as hard or as long and then finds themselves less healthy, gaining weight, etc. Being lazy in that area brings about unintended consequences that impacts other areas of their lives.
Over time, laziness can slowly erode capability and potential as well as habits needed to excel and succeed being our best. It permiates into all parts of our lives.
If you find yourself being lazy in one area of your life, ask yourself why? And then take a look at other areas of your life and see if they are being impacted as well. In the end, you must "do the work" and push throug the urge to be lazy because if you don't, you will find areas of your life going into "deep sleep."
As entrepreneurs, we are constantly on the go. We bounce from one thing to the next, handle problem after problem, and spend our time making things happen in our business - all in pursuit of our dreams and goals.
It seems like there is a never ending set of things that need done and actioned in our businesses. But, there is one important action that many entrepreneurs overlook and that is this: Many entrepreneurs fail to take time to think strategically each week and determine the most important actions they need to take to be most effective in their business. It is critical that we set aside time, away from the day to day needs of the business, to think deeply on the most important actions that we need to take and plan accordingly for them.
The most important part is to plan accordingly and take action. It does no good to think strategically and determine the actions that need done and then not act on them.
I was reminded of the impact doing this well has recently when I met with one of the Mastermind groups that I run. The group is focused on investing and financial success. We had a spring in-person event where we trained on many incredible topics and the group rated the meeting very well. I asked the group at the end of our time together to write down the action steps they were going to take from what they learned and to plan to implement them into their lives. After a couple months, I did a check and was happy to find that everyone in the group had taken action and could describe concrete results that have happened in their live for implementing their action steps. One person even said that they felt like a completely difference person and their live had improved personally and financially tremendously.
If you don't set aside time to think deeply and strategically each week to determine the most important actions for your business, you are missing out on one of the biggest secrets of successful entrepreneurs. Take action and start doing this in your life!
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