What’s the first thing that crosses your mind when you wake up each morning? Is it that you’re excited to tackle the day and you have all the time you need? My guess is that this is a thought that rarely crosses your mind in the morning, but why is this?
Maybe you’re not equipped with the right mindset and tools to succeed in managing your time like you want and need. Today, I am going to share with you the tips that drive my success and help me break the time barrier every single day. If you implement one or all of these, you’ll find more time in your day (every single day) for more work, more relaxation, hobbies and time with loved ones.
1. Wake Up One Hour Earlier than Necessary
In his book The Miracle Morning, Hal Elrod shares his secret of how he wakes up one hour earlier than necessary every morning. By doing this, he was able to have the extra time he needed to unlock the success that he was searching for. I won’t share all the details here, as you should read it for yourself, but I am going to share how you can apply it to your life.
By waking up one hour earlier, can you can choose one of these activities to add to the start of your day:
- Take time to read a self-improvement book, a business book or your favorite blog
- Take time to write for your blog or in your personal journal
- Delegate important tasks to your team
- Eat a healthy breakfast
- Spend time with your spouse (if you can convince them to wake up early too!)
- Reflect, meditate and take time to visualize your future success through affirmations
- Take time to watch your favorite TV show, or listen to your favorite album
You can’t do all those things in one hour, but you can do one or maybe even two. I recommend you choose something that gives you fuel for the rest of the day. Tapping into your personal happiness and motivation at the beginning of your day will help you find the energy to unlock the other two keys to breaking the time barrier that I am about to share. So start there.
If you’re like I was in the past, you are going to need to make some important changes to achieve this goal.
Here are three tools to get you waking up earlier:
- First of all, go to bed an hour earlier. Your body needs rest to perform well in the long run. Make sure you get to bed early. Ben Franklin was right.
- Also, make sure you tell yourself as you’re laying down each night for bed, “I cannot wait to wake up early and see what the day holds for me! I am going to spring out of bed and experience the most amazing morning ever!” This mental preparation is key, and you must really commit to believing what you’re saying. Trust me and try it.
- Use the Seinfeld strategy to motivate yourself by printing off an annual one-sheet calendar and checking off each day as you wake up early. Don’t break the chain!
So what are you going to do? I hope you choose to wake up earlier. I have chosen to apply this to my life and I’ve systematically moved it back to where I generally wake up at either 3:30 or 4:30 in the morning each work day. This simple change has added another comma to my bank account, so I’d encourage you to do the same.
2. Take Action Right Now (right this very instant!)
Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today. ~ Philip Stanhope
I have found profound wisdom and success from this quote. I’ll share with you just one of the many stories of how I’ve applied this principle and how it has brought me success. I hope that with this inspiration you’ll become more of an aggressive action-taker.
The Story of Giving First
About four years ago, I happened to see that Adam Hirsch had posted on his Facebook wall that he was looking for someone to donate a new server to Do Something. The moment I saw the post, I responded and told him that I would be happy to do so.
Jumping on that opportunity was risky for me. I had to spend about $1,200 that I didn’t have at the time. I had just come out of one of the toughest periods in business I’ve ever had and I knew that donating this would be a stretch. I ended up going to my partner and asking her if she would join me in skipping a paycheck so we could pull this off and follow through with my commitment as a business donation. She agreed and we ordered and shipped the server to Do Something’s office. It was a shot in the dark, but I had a good feeling about it. Fortunately, it turned out to be right.
A couple of months later, while I was in New York, I reached out to Adam and let him know I was in town. We ended up meeting up and he sincerely thanked me for giving to Do Something. He was moving onto another project, but he asked me if I could take a look at a project that he was helping out with called Giving Tuesday. They had set up a small WordPress installation and wanted to make it much larger.
I ended up getting connected with the 92nd Street Y and, even though it was a nonprofit project, we did over $29,000 of extremely profitable work over the next 2 years. So, my $1200 donation/investment indirectly came back to me 24 times.
There was even more work that Adam referred me to and I’ve since developed some great relationships at Do Something and 92nd Street Y that will be highly beneficial to everyone involved in the future as well.
With every intention of just donating because I knew it was a good cause and the right thing to do, I ended up reaping some great rewards. All of this came about because I acted before anyone else. I know that there are over 2,000 friends, and even more followers, that could have potentially seen that post from Adam, but I acted first and I received the reward. Remember that next time you are hesitating!
3. Be Committed to Daily Delegation
If you don’t delegate wisely every day, the backlog of tasks that are sent your way will pile up and cause you more stress. When more and more stress piles on in your mind, your productivity will drop. You’ll lose the time you have and you’ll feel even worse about the time that you’re not spending on other tasks.
Delegating comes after taking action immediately and that’s for a reason. You don’t want to delegate to someone else when you can do the task quickly, while you have it in hand. However, you do want to delegate when you have too many tasks and they are not at your fingertips. Here’s a short list of filtering questions that I run through to decide what to delegate and what to keep:
- Will this task keep me from my most valuable and productive contributions to the company? If so – delegate.
- Can I complete this single action task faster than I can provide thorough instructions to the person I am going to delegate it to? If so – keep the task.
- Is this a simple single action task that has multiple repetitions (like data entry of manually migrating some blog posts from one site to another)? If so – provide instructions and delegate.
- Does this task line up with activities that I excel at and that energize me? If so – keep the task.
- Is this task something that the person I am considering delegating it to not enjoy? If so – even though they may be faster at it, or I don’t necessarily have time to do it, I always try to choose to do the work myself and serve my team members whenever possible.
I don’t have a perfect framework of questions yet, but those are the types of exercises that I briefly run through before I get to delegating. There are always tasks that can and should be delegated. As one of my goals this year, I’ve decided to work on spending one hour per day on effective delegation. So, once you’re clear on what you need to delegate, here’s how:
- Use visual and audio tools which can cut down on the back-and-forth and make you think through the task more thoroughly. My personal favorites are Jing, Skitch, and Droplr. You can also record audio notes in Evernote and share them.
- Invest adequate time in giving clear visual, audible and written instructions. This will make the task go more smoothly and will reduce rework.
- Provide an expected completion date and, once they start doing the work, check in to see if your deadline is realistic.
- Be available to answer questions as your teammate gets started doing the initial work.
- For larger tasks and projects, do a post mortem check. Ask the person that you delegated to if they enjoyed that type of task and if they want more like it. Ask them how you can improve the provided instructions.
One great way to accomplish more, if you are willing to invest time in wisely and properly delegating, is by using a virtual assistant. I recommend you check out Virtual Assistant Assistant to find reviews on the best services out there. This way, you can select the right person or company to work with and you can delegate more and accomplish more.
These three tips help me break the time barrier every day. By waking up at least an hour earlier, by taking action immediately (especially when I have the opportunity to give) and by delegating in an effective manner, I am able to free up a significant amount of time each day.
There are tools, software and strategies that apply well to different industries as well, and if you’re looking for help there, please take action now and contact us. We’ll help you get headed in the right direction.
What are your time-saving techniques? I’d love to hear what’s working for you in the comments below.
Now, go act!