Best Time Management System – 90 Days to Greatness

With only 24 hours in a day, there a too many things competing for your time and attention and there is often more than one “right” thing that you could be working on.

I can’t count how many times I have been side tracked and spent hours on a project that could have and should have been done later.

Often times we can get off track doing something that is important and necessary but is not what we should be doing right at that moment.

Our job as business owners is to maximize our time and profits. What that boils down to in layman’s terms is we want to make as much money as possible, as fast as we can and with as little effort as possible.

To me that is the definition of being productive — accomplishing as much as possible within a given amount of time ( ex. 1 day) — with the least amount of effort. Unfortunately, sometimes people misinterpret that last qualifier as permission to be lazy and to not work hard.

No, that is not what I am saying there. When I say “…with as little effort as possible” I’m talking about building systems, automating, outsourcing, finding even more ways to get more done in a day.

But that definition sets you up for disappointment. Because this definition will trick you into thinking ‘activity’ (being busy) is the same as being productive.

How many hours have you spent on the internet “researching“, “studying“, “gathering info“, instead of writing, calling, doing? At the end of the day you probably felt like you were busy all day but you know you didn’t <b>really</b> move forward.

You didn’t maximize profits and you didn’t maximize time.

I constantly see private clients doing the right things at the wrong time. They are working on things that will help them in the future but they don’t have the biggest profit payoff for their time invested.

For example, if you are a brand new business that is just getting started, you don’t need to spend $5000k on a new website. A nice website that represents your brand well is a nice to have thing — but it’s not a necessity — and it’s not going to put food on your table.

Instead, get a free, or low cost website and spend all your time doing tasks to sell your product/service. Too often I see people making major projects out of minor details.

So what should you be working on? The ones with the highest ROTI (return on time invested)

If you use a time management system similar to what I use, then you have a master list of all the activities that need to be finished to complete your projects. There are lots of different time management systems out there. Some are super complex with flow charts and graphs and others as simple as check lists. I needed something that is practical and works for me. I have tried many: RPM, GTM, Covey, Pomper and made my own version that best suits me.

Here’s what I do:

1.) 90 day initiatives.

Though I believe in long term goals, as a small business owner, especially if you are a solo-preneur, it’s not practical to set really long-term goals that don’t really mean anything to you — you never look at them and it doesn’t help you make better decisions today. I feel in the infancy of a company, short to mid term planning is far more effective and allows for flexibility.

I prefer you to focus on making sure your business is aligned with your mission (why you are in business) instead. Use your mission to determine where you would like to have your company in a year. And then use your 1 years goals to create 90 day initiatives that will allow you to meet your goals.

It’s much harder to set pie-in-the-sky numbers when they are just 90 days out. Yet, you can accomplish A LOT in 90 days — a lot more than you can imagine. Also you can really see how decisions today will impact you within the 90 day period. This process if repeated every 90 days will be repeated four times a year and you will really stay focused on the things you need to do today that will get you to where you want to be in 90 days, that will get you to where you want to be in a year, that is moving you towards your mission.

2.) Create tasks:

Break down your 90 day initiatives into tasks. This will really cause you to think through what really needs to be done.

Each day review your master list and add the tasks that you believe are the highest and best use of your time.

What is the highest and best use of time?

The tasks that create profits/income for you immediately.

The tasks that will create money for you in the future (calling future referral partners, cross marketing opportunities, chasing speaking engagements, creating a free report, ect.) WARNING: this can also be the most dangerous zone to be in because almost any ‘activity’ can be categorized as creating future business — so be honest.

Customer service issues: Your customers are the reason you have a business and should be treated like gold. It is far cheaper to keep your current clients happy and ready to buy more, than it is to Find, Attract and Convert a new customer. Never forget that.

3.) Complete your task list for the day: Once you have your tasks for the day in front of you focus on completing as many of these as possible today. This will indeed, give you confidence that you are working on what you should be and you will find that you won’t spend so much time wondering what to work on next. As you use this technique more and more you will begin to recognize things that you are doing over and over and then you can start to think of ways to do those things with less effort.

Let me give you an example.

At InfluenceOlogy I write email copy and set up the email campaigns in our CRM — ConfusionSoft, … I mean InfusionSoft and week after week I kept having to write out the same merge fields by hand. This task came up over and over again and so I asked myself how can I automate this? The solution was a piece of software that I could program that every time I typed {f it would automatically fill out the rest of the merge field, {contact.firstname}. That is an example of what I’m talking about when I say “least amount of effort by automation”. This simple apple script has saved me hours of typing.

In summary, make it a point to set 90 day initiatives that will move you closer towards your mission. Break those initiatives down into tasks and prioritize them from the highest to lowest ROTI (return on time invested) and schedule the highest ROTI tasks on your schedule. Repeat and Rinse and see you at the top!

Jeff

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