By the time this year started I was concerned about how busy I was and I found myself considering this question, “how are you managing your time?” As I thought about this there were a few things disturbing me:[youtube]https://youtu.be/k-1NcrJyaKo[/youtube]
I was constantly busy.
Being THAT busy should be translating to a lot of money in the bank and it wasn’t.
I had no balance – not even time to go to the gym anymore (and my health always has to be #1 – without it I am no good to anybody).
I couldn’t figure out what the issue was. It didn’t seem like I was wasting any time as my “busy” was always doing something productive (ie working on something for myself or a client). Was I not charging enough to balance the supply and demand for my time? I tested that theory by raising my rates this year. Nope. Still constantly busy, although now making more money so that helped.
What to do? How do I figure out how to create gaps for myself so I can enjoy life more without the fear of losing income and struggling to pay the bills?
I had to figure out what I was doing that was inefficient. I was either doing something I should be delegating or spending too much time on something. My first finger pointed to social media but that wasn’t it. I have a lot of that automated and I am pretty good about getting out there once or twice per day to engage with people. I wish I could be spending more time doing that.
I asked my therapist for help and he suggested I keep a daily log of what I am doing. Evernote is the perfect tool for this because I could make my notes first thing in the morning and then have it on the go using the app on my phone. It actually resulted in a really cool system that I am still using a lot to keep track of what I am doing and what I want to accomplish every single day.
The first thing I eliminated were the 1:1 “networking” type meetings during the week. Where did this come from? First and foremost if I am that busy I don’t need to network in theory. Then I had a meeting not long ago with a CPA who reached out to me from Pasadena, CA. He suggested we meet and I was happy to. I love doing that for a number of reasons, perhaps the most important of which is simply to get out of my home office and be with people. I can go for days on end without leaving my house at times because of my particular business setup. That’s not good. We all need in person human interaction. The problem was that this ate up over 2 hours on a Friday – a day I usually reserve for doing the one thing I love more than anything else. Producing content. Next problem. Despite lots of promises to work together and after spending still more time setting up a Trello board so I could start collaborating with this guy I never heard back from him.
I have other “personal” channels through which I can get the needed human interaction. Meanwhile I have no shortage of business and things to do there so these meetings are for lack of a better phrase a waste of my time right now. My therapist guided me on this. He told me that every minute of every day spent on a “client” and the like needs to be monetized so that I can increase my income and stop giving away my time for free. Then I can balance that with spending more time enjoying with friends. No more networking meetings.
Then a guy reached out to me who wanted to “pick my brain.” I immediately remembered when I reached out to Eric Greenspan for the first time. I was looking for a mentor in business and I was hoping he would do it. I am not sure if Eric even realized this (maybe not even until right now) I had read in one of my books that you should reach out to people whom you respect as those who have accomplished what you would like to accomplish. That often times these people are not being reached out to – sort of like the “hot girl” that everyone is afraid to talk to leaving her wondering why no one is talking to her. Then you wonder why some seemingly unremarkable guys get the “hot girl.” Same thing in business. Now here was a guy reaching out to me, perhaps in a similar manner. I didn’t want to say no, but I didn’t want to break my rule of no meetings during the week. That’s billable time which is now sacred. In other words nobody gets that time with me unless they’ve paid for it. I am too busy to justify anything else. The answer hit me and I tested it by simply asking this guy, “what about meeting for breakfast on a Saturday?” He was not only happy to, he was willing to drive over to my part of town to do so.
This was a perfect solution and in fact it lead me to figure out what the other part of my time management problem was. More on how I improved my time management in part 2..
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