by Linda Feinholz · 0 comments

By Linda Feinholz, “Your High Payoff Catalyst”

The easiest path to High Payoff results is by changing your relationship with Time.

If you’re looking for ways to get “more” done then I know you’ve probably read a hundred articles about managing time trying to find out how. I know I have. So had my client Mark.

Mark complained endlessly that for the lack of time, running his $400M company meant he never saw his kids. He was frustrated by the constant feeling that no matter how smart he was, Time always beat him. He listened to tapes on all the best techniques for corralling time while running on the treadmill at the gym. He read more tips in magazines on flights he sat on from city to city all over North America. And his head of Human Resources handed him the latest books to read in his ‘spare’ time.

I used to read all those articles and listen to audios in search of the miracle technique. I even sat through a couple of live programs with tools and systems. I expect you’ve done the same over the years.

I bet you’ve noticed the same paradox in your life that I have in mine: There is no end to time, and despite all those resources, there is no limit to the amount of To Do’s you can pile on your list. So over and over it feels like there isn’t enough time to get it all done.

I finally figured out that the Time Management industry exists because there’s no end to the myth of gaining the upper hand – It’s a great emotional magnet, especially the way the solution keeps being defined: Learn how to “manage” time and you’ll be its master!

Listen to me, please! You can’t master time, loose time or buy time. Time just flows. In fact, the more attention you give to Time Management, the more time you spend with your attention on “Time” the more your energy is on the wrong thing, and the less you have for getting the right things done.

I’ve designed a simple system to get your attention back where it belongs. I teach it in my business coaching programs and my work with business owners and executives. It consists of three simple actions and a single “Time Management Technique”. First the actions:

1 – Step “Back” To See Your Goal
The first thing we did was reset Mark’s attention from ”The List” to his Vision. Mark started out our discussion with the idea that his goal was to get his To Do’s “done.” He had 64 items on that list the day we counted them. But, what was his High Payoff Goal? To have his company earn $400 million, with his management team working effectively with him and with each other, and make it work so smoothly within 2 years that he could sit at his kids after school activities with his cell phone turned off and not worry about it.

2 – Identify Your Distractions
Mark had that long To Do list. He held the mistaken conviction that he had to “Do” each and every one of them. He was mesmerized by the idea that only he could ensure each one of them would succeed. In a Time Management model we would have figured out how he could do each thing most efficiently – what time slots on which days would he work on them, and so on. Instead we changed the conversation to what “Done” would look like, and “Who else” could get it done, and “What would they need to get it done well.”

3 – Prioritize Your High Payoff Actions
By taking Mark through the first two steps, he was ready for this next one with ease! What top 5 To Do’s would get him to his Vision and needed his, and only his, attention in a given day? Mark’s time, intelligence and energy were better used defining what “Done” would look like, and “Delegating” to the “Doer” than doing it himself. Anything else that was important and needed to be done in the same time period he delegated to others.

And the technique I mentioned? It’s simple. I call it “45-minute hours.” Take each hour of the day and divide it so that there’s a 45-minute span that’s uninterrupted and focused on a single item. Use the other 15-minutes for calls, email, answering questions for others, and so on. Then back on focus again.

Within a month Mark had his team using the technique and actions. His High Payoff result: Gone – obsessions with time. Gained – everyone’s boosted productivity!

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