Nothing fascinates me more than time. It’s our most valuable asset.
It’s the most level playing field and consistent metric in our industry.
It makes no difference if you are in New York, California, Texas, Michigan, or any state in between, you get 24 hours each day.
First-year agent, 30-year agent, large book, small book, metro market, or rural market…it makes no difference, all get 1,440 minutes to make things happen before the clock strikes midnight.
I often hear people utter phrases such as “If I only had more time.” Or “Naturally, he gets more done than I do because he has more time.”
Neither statement is true, and that type of thinking is a recipe for disaster. Why? Because there isn’t more time to be had and people with higher productivity and getting more done are doing so with the same amount of time you have.
If you are waiting for a moment when you have “more time” you will be waiting and waiting for 24 hours each day. Day after day, week after week, year after year as that time you desire keeps passing you by. There’s no more to be had.
Why is it that some become titans of their industry, utilizing the allotted 24 hours, while others can’t seem to accomplish much of anything?
As soon as I was able to answer that question it changed my life for the better in every way; personally, professionally, as a husband, father, and community leader.
My one-word answer: intentionality.
Today I am outrageously intentional with my time. I protect it as I would the most precious asset and valuable resource in my life—because it is.
After years of researching the systems, processes, and habits of the most productive people in the world I came to a few realizations. I’m hopeful sharing these with you will shift the productivity needle for you in the same way it has for me.
Identify what’s most ESSENTIAL.
You have a “to-do list”… so do I. It’s this list that actually slows us down. It tricks us into believing that we are “busy” all the time. A “to-do list” is a never-ending list of things that may get done and may not. It’s a reminder that we have more things to do than we have time allowed. It’s not uncommon to end the day with MORE on your “to-do list” than when the day started. This daily approach is counterproductive because it leaves you feeling deflated, defeated, and buried in tasks with zero sense of accomplishment.
It’s crucial to understand that everything you choose to do comes at the expense of something else during your day. You must choose wisely. You must create an ESSENTIAL LIST.
Go ahead and keep your “to-do list.” Everything on that list is there for a reason, so putting it all on paper is important.
However, not everything on the list needs to be completed by YOU, and most of it doesn’t need to get done today. Your essential list identifies the THREE most important items on that list that must be done by YOU specifically, and they have a current day deadline.
Once you identify the 3 most important items you prioritize ranking them #1, #2 and #3. Now you no longer have “a million things to do” when your day starts, you only have ONE.
Attack whatever you’ve designated as the number one most essential item to accomplish for the day with laser-like focus and 100% of your attention first, and do so exclusively. Once you complete #1, take the same approach with item #2 followed by #3.
But what about everything else on your to-do list?
Here’s another common denominator success habit of the most productive people; they are masterful at delegation. Henry Ford once said, “I don’t need to know everything so long as I know the people who do.” To improve your productivity, time efficiency, and being intentional with the most essential activities, you have to start doing LESS.
You read that right. To accomplish more, you have to do less (so long as you are only doing the most essential things).
So how do you determine what’s most essential to YOU and what to delegate or outsource? Ask yourself this key question:
“What is ONE thing I can do at such a high level that by doing so, almost nothing else matters and everything else falls into place?”
Think long and hard about it.
Once you have that answer ask yourself that same question again. And then, again. Now you know the TOP 3 most important priorities in your life. Now you can begin living each day with intentionality.
Your daily essential list should only include items that will bring you closer to fulfilling one of the most significant priorities you named.
What’s your Value?
Let’s quickly talk VALUE and then I’ll bring this full circle for you. What’s your time worth? If I asked to hire you for a special project that I’m working on, how much would you charge me per hour? Would you be excited for $15/hour? How about $25? No? What about $50 or $100 or even $1,000/hour?
Remember, everything you choose to do comes at the expense of something else. Determine your own personal value and don’t work for less.
How many items that are listed on your to-do list can be accomplished for less money than your hourly rate? For instance, if your value is $100/hour and you can delegate or outsource something on your list to somebody who can get it done for $15/hour, DO IT!
Why would you hire somebody for $100/hour to do $15/hour work? You wouldn’t. However, those who struggle with productivity and time management hire themselves for less all day long. Delegation and outsourcing allow you to leverage your time and maximize your value.
The final piece in this strategy is one of the shortest, but most powerful words in the English language: “NO.”
As you look at your to-do list ask yourself: are there items on this list that I don’t want to do personally and ultimately won’t move me closer to one of my three main priorities?” If so, say NO. Remove them from your list.
You are now armed with my “Triple D” approach to ultimate intentionality with time management and personal productivity.
DO IT—only if it’s on your essential list
DELEGATE IT—if it needs to be done, but isn’t worth your hourly rate
DECLINE IT— say no/delete if it’s not essential or worth paying someone else to do
Busy is not better. Your time is the most precious resource and valuable asset you own, so don’t waste it. Turn your “to-do list” into an “essential list” to improve productivity and gain purpose in the tasks you take on.
Bonus Content: As an Agency, the most important thing we should strive to achieve is our Wildly Important Goal. In What’s Your Wildly Important Goal we share our insights for creating your WIG.