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How to Leverage Your Time for Greater Success

Author: Jeffrey Mayer   |   May 27th, 2010

Jim and I were talking the other day. He was grumbling because it’s the end of the year. He’s worked very hard.

* Put in too many hours at the office.
* Put too many miles on his car.
* Spent too many nights in hotel rooms.

And didn’t spend enough time with his family.

To top it off, he didn’t hit his sales or financial goals.

He’s tired. Stressed out. Exhausted. And frustrated.

“I don’t have any more hours in the day to give to my business. What do I do now?” He asked.time management

Common Lamentation
This is a common lamentation I hear – almost daily – from people who are inquiring about my consulting services.

I come in early. Stay late. Work weekends. And still don’t get everything done.

For years we’ve all been thinking: Time Management. How can I best ‘manage’ my time. Today, Time Management is pedestrian.

If you’re asking yourself the question: How do I manage my time?

You’re asking the wrong question. Getting the wrong answer. Acting on the wrong premise.

The correct question is:

HOW DO I LEVERAGE MY TIME?

The concept of leverage is very simple: A little bit of work generates a great deal of results.

Think about pulling a nail out of a piece of wood. The longer the handle on the hammer, the easier it is to extract the nail.

Try pulling out a nail with a pair of pliers. Doesn’t work very well.

Wrong tool for the job. Lots of work. Minimal results. Sore fingers.

You leverage your time by working on – and completing – work, tasks, projects and activities that generate big results.

On most people’s desks – yours included – there are probably one, two or three projects that if you got them done today would make a big contribution to your success. Do them now!

On your to-do list you’ve probably got one, two or three ‘important’ people to call. If you were to speak with these people wonderful things would happen. Make the calls!

You don’t have a shortage of time. You have a mis-allocation of time. You’re spending your valuable and precious time in low quality, low payoff ways. NEGATIVE leverage.

When I think of time – and leverage – in business, I always come back to the 80/20 Rule.

* 80 percent of your business comes from 20 percent of your customers.
* 80 percent of your sales comes from 20 percent of your products.
* 80 percent of your headaches comes from 20 percent of your customers/employees.
* 80 percent of your results comes from 20 percent of your activities.
* 80 percent of your time is wasted.

A little bit of one thing generates a lot of something else.

Embrace The 80/20 Rule
Embrace the 80/20 rule and you’ll quickly learn how to LEVERAGE your time.

Here are three ways you can make 80/20 work for you:

1. Do more of the things that work.
Identify the activities, projects, people that generate the highest return on your time. Refine what you do. Get better at it.

What’s the profile of your ‘ideal’ customer? Look for more customers that match that profile.

What words and phrases work best during your sales calls? Incorporate them in every conversation.

What activities generate the greatest rewards. Streamline them and do more of them.

Double, triple or quadruple your efforts.

2. Do less of things that don’t work.
Thomas Edison said he ‘found 10,000 things that didn’t work in a light bulb.’ That didn’t stop him. He kept on looking for something new until he found a filament that did work.

You’ll have much more time when you eliminate the work, tasks, projects, and people that take up your time, but don’t give you value for your invested time. I call this Addition By Subtraction.

When it comes to business, I’m in love with the telephone. I think it’s the most time-efficient tool available. By learning how to better use the phone you can save yourself hours of wasted time each day.

Add travel time to a 30-minute sales call, and it’s easy to spend two hours away from your office. And you wonder why you’re working so hard.

How many times have you had meetings with prospects who had no interest in doing business with you? Wasted time. Wasted energy.

If your closing ratio is 30 percent, 70 percent of your time is wasted.

Ask better questions over the phone and you’ll do a better job of qualifying your prospects ‘before’ you go to meet them. And when you do finally meet them, it’s as if you’re having your second or third meeting.

I realized this years ago. I got tired of making presentations to people who weren’t interested in buying. Once I started asking better questions I found my closing ratio increased to 80 percent.

Because I was seeing fewer people – but 80 percent of them bought – I had more time to work the phone to find even more customers.

The benefit of asking questions before having a face-to-face meeting is that the prospect will quickly disqualify himself because the answers don’t measure up to what you think they should be.

My feeling is that if I’m going to lose, I would rather lose early than late. How do you feel after chasing a prospect for 30, 60, 90 days, or longer, and then find out they aren’t going to do business with you?

It’s happened to me, and I felt like a real chump!

3. Stop doing things that don’t have a payoff.
In the old days we used to talk about delegation. I don’t want to do this task, so I’ll ‘delegate’ it to someone else.

I like the concept of ELIMINATION.

Streamline your work, so that you are only focusing your time, effort, energies and resources on projects, opportunities, and people that give you a huge reward for your efforts.

We always talk about the importance of keeping a Things To-Do list. It’s also beneficial to keep a Things Not To-Do list.

This would be a reminder of work, tasks, projects, and activities that you should STOP doing.

Jim Changes His Focus
Within a few short weeks Jim has changed his entire focus. He’s identified

1. The prime areas where he should be investing his time, and will be doubling or tripling those activities, and

2. His biggest time-consuming black holes, where he has vowed to eliminate them from his life.

He’s looking forward to this year and expects to have his best year ever.

Leverage your time, experiences, wisdom and passion, and you can make it your best year ever.

Jeffrey

Reprinted with permission from “Jeffrey Mayer’s SucceedingInBusiness.com Newsletter. (Copyright, 2003 – 2005, Jeffrey J. Mayer, SucceedingInBusiness.com.) To subscribe to Jeff’s free newsletter, visit www.SucceedingInBusiness.com

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