Getting Time on Your Side: The Gift of a Personal Bonus Month
What would you do if you had an extra month per year? How would you spend all of that extended free time? Live in your bathing suit on the beach, write your memoir, spend more time with your friends or loved ones, learn how to play the flute, or fly on the trapeze? I’m about to give you a gift: the ability to start accumulating your bonus month right now. Here’s how it works.
CASHING IN ON TIME
Most people waste at least two hours each day by procrastinating, falling into meaningless, time-sucking activities and working on projects that don’t move them toward their Big Picture Vision. It goes without saying that many people waste precious time gazing at social media posts and trolling the Internet for things like amusing cat videos. The rest of our time vanishes because we need to practice the art of saying “No” to people more often and setting boundaries. There is always “that person” who chews our ear off at the gym, piling another half hour onto what had been intended to be a focused, productive, 45-minute calorie burning workout.
Do the math. Two frittered hours per day multiplied by 365 days is 730 hours, which equals one month! I’m not suggesting you’ll end up working an extra month per year; in fact, I’m stating the exact opposite. If you become more productive two extra hours every day for one year, you will be giving yourself the gift of entrepreneurialism—a complete month off whenever you choose to do whatever you want. As time goes on and you master the art of focus, time management, and delegation, you will be able to multiply this time off to several months per year.
ITEMIZE YOUR DISTRACTIONS—THEN DROP THEM
This won’t take up much of your time, I promise! Take a notepad and a pen and scribble down all of the things you do that you believe suck time out of your day. Next to each one, identify approximately how much time you spend on each.
Be honest with yourself. These things could be Internet sites you visit or social media interactions. They could also be people—friends, family members, or even employees—who babble on endlessly to you by phone, text, email, or in person. Think about where all of your mindshare has been spent.
When your list is done, cut out and condense activities whatever you can. Try to add up all of those shaved minutes so they total two hours. Those cat videos might be really entertaining, but don’t let yourself get reeled by them anymore.
It goes without saying you can’t avoid interacting with people—nor would I suggest you should—but you could limit a conversation with a chatty employee simply by scheduling a meeting time with strictly defined parameters (via a calendar meeting invite) and a mutually agreeable agenda so everything important is covered.
If your spouse (or mother, friend, brother/sister, etc.) happens to be a talker, that’s fine. Don’t stop speaking with him or her or be rude to that important person just to accumulate your free month. Carve out a specific time and then from the onset of the conversation say, “I’m super busy, but this is important—I have ten minutes for you. Then I need to get back to work.” (Sure, you could say you have “an important meeting,” but that excuse wears thin after a while—even if it’s true.) If the call is running overtime, interrupt and say: “I’m so sorry, but like I said…I only had ten minutes. Can we pick this up again later?” Trust me: If this person cares about you, he or she will understand.
Now that you have been blessed with the gift of an extra month, how should you spend it? In my next installment, you’ll learn all about how to get the most productivity, joy, and fulfillment out of your free month by following “the three P’s of Planning.”
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Allison Maslan, CEO of Pinnacle Global Network, is the Wall Street Journal Best Selling Author of Scale or Fail, which is endorsed by Daymond John and Barbara Corcoran of Shark Tank. Allison’s built 10 successful companies starting out at age 19.
Now she and her team of CEO Mentors pay it forward by helping business owners scale their companies, fast-track their success, and create a more meaningful life. Pinnacle Global Network, a world leader in scaling companies and empowering business leaders has guided thousands of CEO's and Founders to success over the past decade. Allison’s been featured in Inc., Success, Fortune, Fast Company, and Forbes Magazines, is a regular contributor to Entrepreneur Magazine, and a featured expert on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and Fox across the US. She is also the host and producer of The Scale or Fail Show podcast, and the Women Who Own it Podcast in partnership with WBENC, the largest certifier of women-owned businesses in North America.