How To Get More Done in Less Time

Within this year alone, the topic “How To Get More Done in Less Time” has been brought to my attention on countless occasions. Over 20 one-on-one clients have all strikingly similar things to say to me.

“John, I just don’t have enough time.”

“John, how can I get more done in less time?”

Productivity.

To give an exact number, we all have 168 hours in a week. No more, and no less. It doesn’t matter if you’re Bill Gates or my 9-year-old son. We all have the same amount of time in any given week. If you’ve known me for any length of time, you know that I speak highly of Grant Cardone and Rory Vaden. Recently, I’ve also begun to follow John Lee Dumas. These three professionals emphasize that how we spend our time, determines our productivity.

Effective Planning.

First things first, if you want to get more out of your life, then you need to get rid of the old fashioned to-do list. It doesn’t work anymore. All it does is lay out a list of things you have to do, and when you don’t get them done, you feel discouraged. A better solution is to use a calendar and block out segments of time. I will admit, in the past, I made futile attempts at having a successful to-do list, but have found them to always be unsuccessful.

Blocking time and using calendars are two things that billionaires do. I say this because I once read an article about this very same topic. A guy had interviewed 10 billionaires with the intent of figuring out how they prioritized their time. Remember, we all have 168 hours in a week. He discovered that each of these 10 billionaires did not have a to-do list. They each had their own calendar. For these successful people, if it wasn’t on their calendar, it did not get done.

Morning Routine.

You can have the highest level of success if you begin your day correctly. It all comes down to your morning routine. Think about this question for a moment: How are you starting your day? First, you need to have a set time when you get up every morning. I’ll give you an example: I wake up at 5 :00 am. After you wake up, you need to initiate your morning routine. I’ve reflected on what I’ve been taught, and from this, I’ve created my own system.

Here’s an advanced tip: Take what I’m teaching you today and implement, modify and adjust it based on your personality.

After I’ve woken up, I go to my office and I get out a blank sheet of paper. I write out my Top 5 Goals. These are NOT my Top 5 Goals for that day. They are the goals that I’m going after in life. These are the things that are firing me up the most. What’s interesting is that these goals change as time goes on. Once these goals are written down, I read for 30 minutes. Two books that I’m currently reading are “Money, Master The Game’” by Tony Robbins and “The Entrepreneur Rollercoaster” by Darren Hardy. With a highlighter, I highlight notes and I write down key points in my journal that I can take away from these books. When I’m done reading, I take 5 more minutes to say, “Okay. out of all the ideas that I got, what is one thing that I can implement today?” This idea goes on my calendar. I pick one thing that I can implement today because that is what I can control. I can’t control anything else other than what I do.

Once this is done, I listen to meditation music. Lately I’ve been listening to Kelly Howell. I have this music playing for 29 minutes and while this is happening, I focus on three things:

  1. What are 5 things that I’m grateful for right now?
  2. What are appointments that I’m running today?
  3. What is it going to be like to achieve my Top 5 Goals?

I’m quiet after this meditation is over. The key is to allow my mind to be free. These thoughts that come about regarding solutions for possible problems are very powerful

When this is said and done, I have my plans for the day. I’ve already written out my Top 5 Goals. I identify 5 other tasks I can do that day to help me move one step closer to my goals. Note that I don’t just write it down. I time block it because I want to make sure it happens. I use an app called ToodleDo. It’s where I keep my master task list. If I look at my calendar, I’ve got my things that I’m going to accomplish today that are going to help me reach my goals. One of these things is an idea that I’ve taken from a book that I read. Often times, there are blank spaces on my calendar. I time block every task that I have to do that day, even social media. I have a very specific process that I go through when I review my tasks. I learned this technique from a book titled “Procrastinate on Purpose: 5 Permissions to Multiply Your Time” by Rory Vaden.

When I look at any task, I ask myself:

  1. Can I delete it? If the answer is yes, I delete it.
  2. Can I automate it? If the answer is yes, I automate it.
  3. Can I delegate it? If the answer is yes, I delegate it.

However, if I can’t delete it, automate it, or delegate it, I ask myself “Does it have to be done TODAY?”

If the answer is yes: I have a choice to make. I can either eliminate a task from my calendar or reschedule something else in order for me to get this done.

If the answer is no: I give myself permission to procrastinate on it. It’s no longer on my calendar. It’s on my task list. This way I don’t have priorities on the document. It’s just a list.

By going through this process every day, there are certain things that might be important one day but, will not hold the same value the next day. When I look back at my calendar, all my time should be filled up. Everything from time with my wife and kids to time where I sleep is on my calendar. My virtual assistant laughed at me and pointed out that it was ridiculous that I have sleep in my calendar. My immediate response was “That’s right. It’s time blocked.” I get twice the amount of stuff done when it’s scheduled.

Multi-tasking.

An advanced technique that I’ve learned is to treat every appointment in my calendar like I would with the most important client that I have. Gary Keller in his book ‘The One Thing” makes a great scientific point that we can’t multi-task. It’s humanly impossible. All we can do is switch our focus. People who will get the most done are actually the people who do one thing at a time. Imagine you have a task that can be done in 5 minutes. Now add that you’re doing 5 other tasks at the same time. That first objective you had to complete didn’t take you 5 minutes to do, instead, you spent 25 minutes trying to get it done.

The Importance of Self.

Earlier I mentioned having a good solid morning routine. Now you might be thinking to yourself “Why is that?” Well imagine this: you’re on an airplane and as the flight attendants are going through customs, they tell you that you need to make sure you put on your oxygen mask first before you help your child put on their oxygen mask. Now if you’re a parent like me, it makes no sense. However, when you understand why, it makes absolute sense. How can I take care of my kid if I’m not taking care of myself? How can we take care of our clients if we’re not taking care of ourselves first? That’s why morning routines are important.

I asked one of my clients to tell me about his morning routine. What I discovered was that his routine was reactive. He would wake up, and, without a plan or system in mind, he would go about his day. I taught him about morning routines and his immediate response was “Really? I have to do this? It sounds corny.” Two days later, after he committed to try it, he said to me “I’ve gotten more done in the past couple of days than I have in a long, long time. And not only that, but I have solved challenges that I’ve had in my business that I just couldn’t work through.” Now there are some days when he falls off the wagon. The key in this sort of situation is to catch yourself after you fall.

Treat yourself more important than your client. How many of us put something off because a client calls us. Realtors that I converse with often say, “I don’t have enough time.” If you watch your own realtors for any length of time, they’re constantly checking their phone. They’re multi-tasking because they think they’re being productive. I’ll be in a meeting with a realtor and they’ll be checking their phone while I’m in the room with them.

I always ask realtors, “What would you like to have? More buyers or more sellers?” 10 out of 10 would prefer more sellers. Now imagine this: somebody that you’ve been trying to follow up with all of a sudden calls you during a meeting with a potential seller. First of all, would you take the call? The correct response would be ,“Well of course not because I’m sitting here with another presentation.”Well would you respond to a text instead? If not, then why? Is it because you’re with another appointment still? Consider this: if you treat another person with that high level of importance, why don’t you treat yourself more importantly?

The solution to this is simple: Focus on getting the task done that you said you were going to get done. You can focus on what I’ve taught you today and have a successful day planned out. However, if you can’t commit to show up to an appointment on time, or even be focused while you’re at it, this isn’t going to work for you.

Evernote.

I mentioned ToodleDo before, and now I’m going to talk about Evernote. It’s an unbelievable application that works on every device you have. You’re able to store anything and everything on it. Rather than spend hours searching for important folders and documents, Evernote makes it less of a hassle to locate these things.

Delegation and Automation.

Because you’re all business owners, I want to talk to you about delegation. Take a risk. Hire an employee or a virtual assistant. The popular response to this is “Well I don’t want to hire someone.” My response to that is, “Why not?” You can never build a business or company without employees. It’s not going to happen. You create better leverage through people than without. You need to make a list of all the things that need to be done in your company in order for it work. List everything that you currently do. From that list, make another list of tasks that you’re not an expert at or don’t want to do. You’ll have two lists: One of the things you want to do and the other consisting of things you don’t want to do. When this is done, ask yourself “What can be automated or delegated?”

For me, it’s email. I discovered that I was spending an average of 5 to 10 hours a week on just my email. The very first thing that I outsourced to my assistant was my email. She has my username and my password. I’ll schedule a time to call her up where she reads me my email. Afterward, I tell her how to respond and at the end of our time together, my inbox is at zero. The biggest benefit is after about 5 days of doing this, she has started to learn my habits. She now knows what I consider to be spam, and what I consider to be important. You can make your virtual assistant a training process for how to handle the task assigned to them, then you move onto the next item. Soon all the stuff that’s been taking up your time has been successfully delegated through virtual assistants, contractors, or employees.

The most powerful thing you can do with your first employee is a daily huddle. This should last no more than 10 to 15 minutes. First thing in the morning, you discuss with them:

  1. What’s on your agenda
  2. What’s on their agenda
  3. What you’re delegating to them for that day

At the end of the day, you tell them to send you a summary of everything that was done. Once this is taken care of, you both go off to do your work for the day. There’s nothing that can come up that’s an actual emergency. If it is, then call 911. If they have any questions, they can save them until the next daily huddle tomorrow morning. Having this daily huddle will also amend the open door policy. People misunderstand what the open door policy means. It’s supposed to mean that your employees are free to come to talk to you. However to them, it means that they are free to come interrupt you with a question.

Homework.

I want you to go back and look at your daily routine. Modify it. Make it better. Time block your day. Treat yourself as the most important appointment, and the very first appointment that you have for the day. It will not only duplicate your time, but you’ll get so much more done.

Magic Move.

Pick a time at the end of the day where you’re going to stop. Have an end of the day routine. What I do is I sit down, and I return to that first piece of paper that I had during my morning routine. I write out what my big successes were for that day. I pat myself on the back, and then I write out my goals again. I quickly glance at my calendar for the next day. Any appointments that need to be confirmed I’ll send out a quick email for, but above all else, I end my day on fire.

Pick a time at the end of the day where you’re going to stop. Have an end of the day routine. What I do is I sit down, and I return to that first piece of paper that I had during my morning routine. I write out what my big successes were for that day. I pat myself on the back, and then I write out my goals again. I quickly glance at my calendar for the next day. Any appointments that need to be confirmed I’ll send out a quick email for, but above all else, I end my day on fire.

When you get done with your work, and you’ve celebrated your successes, you’re 100% there. When you’re with your spouse and your kids, you’re there with them. Not just physically, but mentally.

It will take time for this to become a habit, but once you’ve achieved the benefits, you won’t want to go back.

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