“Your success is determined by your daily agenda.” -John Maxwell If I could summarize the struggle that most of us face in the information age in just one word, I would use the word, “overwhelm.” We have so many things coming at us from all directions it seems! All throughout the day we receive phone calls, texts, emails, interruptions in the office, and more. In the midst of these distractions, we still have a job to do. Whether you are working for someone or working for yourself, the question is the same – “How do I manage all the daily distractions, and still produce results in my work?!” Faced with that same “overwhelm,” I decided recently to sit down and gather some vital information that I could apply to my own life to figure out how to deal with this issue. I will reveal my sources for this series of articles right now so you can see that I am not blowing smoke, and that this comes from some pretty credible experts on this subject.
First of all, I spent about 90 minutes with self-made millionaire and online marketing guru, Andrew Cass. He shared some of his best practices in the area he calls, “managing yourself in time;” NOT “time management.” Andrew spent 10 years in the Financial Services industry in both Investment Banking and Mortgage Banking prior to entering the world of Internet Marketing and Direct Sales in 2006. Andrew has done what many will never do…reaching the seven-figure mark in two separate industries before the age of 35 – the Investment Banking industry and the Direct Sales industry. These techniques have propelled Andrew to the success he has enjoyed. My second source is a book by Todd Duncan, Time Traps: Proven Strategies For Swamped Salespeople. He is also the founder of The Duncan Group in Atlanta, Georgia, and is one of America’s leading experts in the area of Sales and Life Mastery. His tapes, seminars, and books, including the Wall Street Journal best seller High Trust Selling , have helped millions worldwide to tap into their potential. In this short series of articles, “Effective Self Management That Produces Results,” I have outlined the finer points of managing overwhelm from each source so you can take away what I consider the best details. I encourage you to apply each strategy immediately and test each to see how much more effective and efficient you can be! I have done so with amazing results!
Here are the proven techniques that will get you moving forward in business and in life:
1. The Time Management Myth.
2. Embracing Overwhelm.
3. Beware!: Distractions Ahead.
4. Save Your Environment!
5. What’s Your Time Worth – Really?
Imagine: Waking up when you want, after having gotten a full night of sleep. Working with maximum efficiency for a few hours, and actually accomplishing some of the most important things on your “to do” list for the day. then taking care of important family issues, or being able to attend school events or sporting events with your kids, planning and taking your significant other out for an intimate evening together, going to bed at a decent hour and know you will get plenty of sleep that evening…AND doing all this completely guilt free, with the confidence of knowing that you have made the most of each minute you have been given that day. The first change we need to make to become effective managers of ourselves in time is to completely change our perspective on “time management.” Actually, we need to come to the realization that there is no way we can ever “manage time.” The phrase “time management” is overused and under defined. When you stop to think about it, there is actually no way we can ever manage time – we cannot manage even one second that passes – it is impossible. The last time I checked, my watch has the same amount of time that everyone elses has! It passes on second at a time for me, just like it does for everyone – and it does the same for you too.
1. “Time management” is a myth. We can only manage ourselves in time. It will pass for all of us the same way. But, only those who figure a way to manage themselves better will become more effective, efficient, and more productive. There are two areas we need to learn to manage if we are ever to be effective “self managers:”
- Mental Energy
- Physical Energy
To manage our Mental Energy, we need to effectively answer the question, “What do I focus on throughout the day?” Where your focus goes, your follow through goes. How much is your focus blurred by email, text messages, phone calls, Twitter posts, Facebook updates (to name a few) during your working day? If you are like 97% of the world, you are constantly bombarded by these kinds of distractions. Managing our Physical Energy is important too. How well do we take care of ourselves? Do we have good personal habits? Are we exercising and eating right so that our physical machine is working at maximum capacity? There is a definite “mind-body connection” that we need to acknowledge if we are going to break this time management myth. When the physical machine is working right, the mental machine will have the proper fuel for maximum out-put too. What if you were able to completely focus your mental energy on highly productive tasks? How much more efficient would you be in your work? Could you get more done in a day…in an hour? How much more could you produce? Would the end product of your work be a better quality? What if we just simply felt better physically? Could we be more productive in our work? Would our relationships be better if we could become more efficient with our use of time? Could we focus more on the lives of those we care about if we could learn to get everything done at the office?
The reality is that if we could learn to manage our Mental Energy on a daily basis, the answers to all of those questions would be positive. We all have 24 hours in a day, so we need to learn to manage ourselves within the parameters of those given hours…we don’t get any more, so we have to use what we have more effectively! We need to learn to manage ourselves in time much like a long distance runner manages his time in the race. Before a race, he works very hard to make sure his “machine” is running properly and efficiently. He works hard to make sure he is strong, his body produces a maximum output, and that he can finish the race fast. He runs against the same clock as all the other runners. He is given no “time management” advantage or keys. During the race, he mentally eliminates any and all distractions. He focuses only on his goal – the finish line. IF he has his body in tip top shape, he will produce the results he seeks. IF he eliminates distractions during the race, he will accomplish his goal effectively and efficiently. His results will be directly related to his “self-management” before and during that race. Understanding that “time management” is a myth, and that we can only manage ourselves in the time we have, gives us proper perspective.
Remember that most people who aren’t very productive, are very reactive. Their days are scattered because of distractions and interruptions. If we want to perform at our peak capacity, we MUST be proactive and intentional about performing at maximum capacity, limiting distractions, and remaining focused. The key to productivity is FOCUS! Multi-tasking is a huge myth. The first step we must take to become ultra-effective is to change our perspective on how we work in the space of time we have been granted. Many “time management” tools can even become distractions. Once we change our perspective, then we must begin to apply some simple strategies – strategies that, first of all, help us to overcome our biggest nemesis: Overwhelm. Part 2, “Embracing Overwhelm” will do just that.