“I worked it out… I’ve probably only got about 500 or so weekends left before I die”
What a fantastic, unexpected, ear-catching opening to the talk I recently attended on Time-Management from Chris Croft (look him up online, he’s superb!).
These weren’t his own words, but that of an ex-colleague who just announced this to him casually over the desk space they shared. And this small moment had a profound effect on Chris – thinking about how much time you’ve got left sure sharpens your focus!
I was invited to attend this talk through work. My immediate internal response was suitably comical…”A time-management talk??! But I’m far too busy to attend that.” Oh the irony!
But I’m so glad I did. The impact was immediate, positive and lasting.
I’m currently in the peak ‘busy-ness’ years of life – juggling my work, a wife, a high-energy 7-year-old son, a demanding 2-year-old son, a new cat, a house that constantly seems to need work done to it, and it might be nice to keep in touch with friends and family every few months! So time, or a lack of, is very much on my mind.
And Chris really got me thinking…
He asked us not to approach our lives by looking at the daily or weekly tasks but to always focus on an end goal – what is the one BIG thing you want to achieve in life? This could be anything from being a millionaire to spending as much time as possible with your family to retiring at 50!
The immediate by-product of this is increased self-discipline and assertiveness. Inside work, that’s fantastic news for your colleagues and your clients: you’re more focussed, more productive, more awesome!
He gave us several specific (and simple) techniques and actions to help achieve our goals. My favourite was part of what he calls his NCP, “No Crap Policy”. Have a think about this…
How many of the little tasks in your day, that aren’t really that important, could you either just not do or delegate? Do you reckon you could get rid of an hour’s worth a day? You probably can. Be brutal, and you can probably do more. And that’s 5 plus hours by the end of the week… almost 3 working days this month! By the end of the year you’ve saved 260 hours… that’s a month and a half! (not including the weekends you’ve got left before you die!)
Now take that month and a half and use it: think of those BIG new ideas for clients that they’ll love, set up those meetings with potential new clients, spend quality time working ‘on’ your business not ‘in’ your business – do whatever will help you get closer to your goals, quicker.
By clearing out some of the clutter, it opens up the road… like driving from Newcastle to Glasgow (can’t beat a good analogy!). At first you’re stuck on the single lane A69 – nightmare! There’s loads of traffic, and a tractor about 6 cars ahead, no way you’re getting anywhere fast. Then, you get to Carlisle, you swing a right and you’re on the M74 - cruising at speed over 3 lanes with hardly another vehicle in sight and surrounded by beautiful scenery!
So, maybe start by asking yourself how many weekends have you got left?
And swap the A69 for the M74!