The saying, “Time is money,” is a bit of an understatement in my opinion. Personally, I’ve come to realize that my time is worth far more than just money, because money is nothing more than a liquid physical resource: and such resources can be won and lost overnight.
No, our time is everything. So instead, I believe that…
Time is survival. The proper use of it is progress.
This is true for everybody -for fitness trainers, life coaches, dog whisperers, managers, entrepreneurs, custodians, CEOs, and we, who are highly driven individuals. Being able to respect the value of one minute can influence the gains realized over the course of an entire year. So with that said, I believe that the key to real success, achieving our business’s goals and life’s dreams, comes down to our abilities in managing time …and not just money.
This also means that working hard doesn’t equate to success. Instead, it’s how you leverage your hard work and focus: that’s the real prerequisite of progress.
Fact: You’re an Entrepreneur Machine, And That’s OK
“I am telling you to make a choice based on your passions and interests, not what everyone else is telling you to do. It doesn’t work that way. You wind up living a life for the wrong reasons, and you never get the most out of it. Just always think about why you are doing what you are doing.”
-Priceline Founder, Jeff Hoffman
I’ve often found it odd that, when we’re kids, we are told to reach for the stars, to achieve, to go for the gold, and be something great when we grow up. And so, when I was a kid, I believed that the world was full of unexplored possibilities.
But then, we end up getting filed and filtered through the system in high school, told what ‘success’ means in college, and often marginalized when we take the post-college road less traveled.
Have you ever been told that you work too hard? In my earlier entrepreneurial years, I’ve been told on multiple occasions to get a ‘real’ job -and these comments were met with my prompt reply, “No thanks. I’d rather make progress with my time, not trade it away.”
So if you take only one piece of advice from this post, let it be this…
Because you’re an entrepreneur (or at least you should be thinking of yourself as one), your time and energies are intrinsically valuable. For this reason, you put in the hard hours, investing in your business for the long haul. Despite what the countless critics may say, don’t give up. You’re doing the right thing, making the proper use of your time by building something great -so keep up the good work.
But what does this have to do with reasons to set a daily schedule? Simple: since time is our most valuable resource, then we need to manage this resource effectively. To illustrate, you don’t need to hire an asset manager for $10 -but you most certainly would for $10 million.
A schedule is an asset manager for your time; and the more valuable your time is, then the necessity for properly managing it increases. It assists in your ability to harness the power of that one minute.
#3: It Allows You to Focus on ONE THING at a Time
As I said in my recent post on the BS of multitasking (and no, I’m not talking about a college degree), your time is most effectively used when you focus on just one thing. It allows you to take a task to its full completion, while producing the highest possible quality in the process.
Essentially, a schedule will allow you to do this, because it allows your mind to setup mental guides that prohibit you from working on anything else simultaneously. The reason why this is important is because the absence of those barriers allows the temptation of multitasking to seep in and pollute your productivity. Forbes posted a piece on this, which cited a Stanford study:
“The Stanford researchers compared groups of people based on their tendency to multitask and their belief that it helps their performance. They found that heavy multitaskers—those who multitask a lot and feel that it boosts their performance—were actually worse at multitasking than those who like to do a single thing at a time.”
So, if your 9AM-10:30AM block is designated for balancing the company books or marketing, then feel free to ignore all of your inbound emails during that period -that’s what 10:30AM-12:00PM is for. Don’t worry, your client will appreciate how you paid 100% of your attention to his or her question with your thoughtful response.
#2: Your Time Increases in Value (To You and Your Clients)
When you’re applying focus to a single thing, then your time’s value has actually increased, because you’re no longer wasting your precious focus-energy on ‘task-switching’.
But it’s interesting how this translates into dollars, especially since fitness trainers and life coaches are committing their time exclusively to clients. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about…
Let’s say that you had no schedule, and you’d answer your phone and respond to emails immediately 24/7/365 without discretion. It wouldn’t matter if you were sleeping, relaxing, on a date, or having a training session with a client, you’d still drop everything and respond. You become 100% accessible. Economically speaking, what’s happening here?
With the understanding that time, like money, is a resource -then your time is in insanely high supply. And if the demand for your time doesn’t change, then what does that do to its value (price)?
Answer: it decreases.
Quite frankly, if you were to answer your phone and chat for 10 minutes, while in a training session, then your client would most certainly feel the drop in value for their dollars as well. That’s not only bad manners, but that’s just bad business, because your client is paying for your time -time that they’re not receiving. Thus, she’d rather pay less for your services or get more bang for her buck with a trainer that focuses on her exclusively.
This principle is also true when it comes to physical resources as well. In an About.com Women In Business article, Lahale Wolfe puts it eloquently…
“When something appears to be scarce, there is almost always a higher demand for the item, service, or goods. This is known as the Scarcity Principle in marketing and it plays on powerful human instinct to gather for the future.”
If you have limited time availability, it not only allows you to focus on a single thing, but your time also increases in value -and with that, so too can your prices. This is good for you, your clients, and your business.
Reason-NUMBER ONE: Because Disciplined Balance Is Everything
The biggest reason why I believe that keeping a fairly rigid schedule is so important is because it offers something more than a mere economic/productivity advantage to your life. If anything, it brings me back to my earlier years as an entrepreneur.
I remember feeling guilty about ‘wasting’ a single moment of my day, thinking that I worked better on a ‘task-based’ schedule (one where I’d just try to get an ungodly number of tasks done without even so much as a 15-minute walk in the park). However, I also noticed that with guilt, came stress, anxiety, and feeling hopeless that I might not be able to reach my goals. And then, I realized that this was actually hurting my quality of life -and my quality of work along with it. Later on, I came to find that there’s a scientific reason why there is no point to working from racktime to racktime. Fast Company posted an article on the topic, talking about how taking a walk can allow us to “return to work with renewed focus”, also mentioning…
“If you’re lucky enough to work close to green, natural spaces, you may notice long-term effects, as well. Research has found that people living in greener urban areas display fewer signs of depression or anxiety, and the low stress levels lasted over a sustained period.”
So if you’re feeling as if your life is losing balance, because you’re working too much, then get yourself on a 8-10hr daily schedule (which includes breaks) …and just stop working too much. Believe it or not, you’re actually wasting time when you work unnaturally long hours without taking breaks, as your productivity and efficiency will decrease when you’ve used up all of your day’s focus-energy.
But If you set a schedule and stick to it, then your productivity will increase, your clients will be happier, your prices can legitimately rise (due to rising quality of service), and you can do more in less time. Do this, and you’ll find yourself blowing right on by your business’s previously set goals…
And that dream vacation won’t be too far off.
But just remember: no smartphones during beach relaxation time. Besides, how are you going to check your emails, while applying sunscreen and holding a margarita?
Yet another reason to stop multitasking and stick to a solid schedule.