We just reviewed Grow by Subtraction in Chapter 4 and how you should look for that 20 percent of effort that will produce 80 percent of the results. In other words, you should always look for ways to put the Pareto Principle into action automatically, so it happens without relying on your willpower.
You also need to put constraints in place to deal with Parkinson’s Law so you don’t waste too much time on a project because you allowed it to drag out. Those constraints are also meant to help you avoid falling back into the grind, grind, grind mentality and to help you turn down the volume on “the constant hustle.”
Your main goal is to work smarter, not harder. A key component of working smarter is to create time out of thin air any time you need or want to.
So, what do we mean by creating time out of thin air? It means you can get things done in less time than you ever imagined possible—much like if you waved a magic wand and manufactured time.
You do this using a process that we call Time Hacking. You can use these time hacks in your daily life to help you get a lot done when you are working.
Time Hacking Strategies
First, I’ll share some of my favorite time hacking strategies with you. These are some of the strategies I help my entrepreneur clients truly master in my coaching programs. Start your morning by doing a brain dump of all the important tasks you need to get done each day. Then identify which of the items on the list could be done in the least amount of time but would have the greatest impact on your business.
Once you identify the biggest levers on your list, you then go through and assign a time hack to each of the tasks in your daily task list.
Here are some of the time hacks you can apply to each of the items in your to-do list.
1. Does this task really even need to be done?
If no, then move on to the next task and eliminate this one from your to-do list. If yes, then proceed with some of the other questions.
2. Can this task be delegated to someone else?
Remember it is important to let other people use their gifts so they also feel great about themselves and do the job you are paying them to do.
No one can do it all alone. Use your team to complete a task and start to delegate projects to others.
3. How can you force hyper-efficiency by limiting the amount of time you spend on this?
As an example, ask yourself: Should I do this only on certain days or times, should I limit myself to a certain # of hours, etc.
4. Is this something that can be batched together with other items on your list today or another day to get them done faster as a group?
As an example, you might have to make client calls and respond to emails. Carve out a window in your day to just focus on these tasks. When tasks can be bundled together, it is amazing how much faster you get done with the tasks instead of being sidetracked by other tasks. Be sure to lump together activities that are similar to one another. Mark your to-do’s that you plan to do in “batch”.
5. What is your peak state for doing this type of task?
For example, is your mind more clear first thing in morning or after you’ve had some time to get your day moving? You are the best judge of when you are most productive for certain tasks. Being in the right state for certain tasks allows you to focus and complete it faster. Make a note on your to-do list of any time window you should do a certain task due to your peak state.
6. Should you use a timer when you work on this and set a time limit to motivate yourself not to waste time?
Creating a sense of urgency with yourself can be very persuasive on completing a project even faster. Suppose you expect a task to take 30 minutes. Set a timer for 15 minutes so you feel pressure to keep moving on it. When the timer goes off, set another timer for half the remaining time to keep the pressure on. Motivate yourself and you will be surprised at how often you can get something done in less time by simply setting a timer and then hyper focusing on that particular activity.
7. Evaluate what mantra you could say before you start the task and state that ideal outcome.
For example, you could say something like the following: “I intend to finish this task faster and easier than I ever imagined and I am open to better way than I even considered.” Affirmations can put you in the right frame of mind before taking on a new task. You will be amazed at how much this process can help by just stating your positive intention out loud.
8. Evaluate what time sucks could possibly stand in your way today? How can you limit, delegate, or eliminate them?
Determine how you can isolate yourself. Can you turn off your email notifications, so you aren’t distracted by a new message? Can you put your phone on silent, so you don’t get pulled into a phone call you didn’t plan for? Are you in a quiet area?
9. Is there anything you can automate about this?
Can you add a rule to your email inbox? Can you schedule social media out for a month at a time?
10. Can or should I just defer this to another day?
11. Can I use anchoring (certain rituals tied to certain activities) to help me get into flow on this?
Some examples may include looping the same album each time you do a particular type of task (like when writing or working out) or maybe using certain scents in a diffuser that bring you to a peaceful state of mind. It could even be as simple as drinking a certain flavor of coffee when performing an activity. Embracing anchoring can really help you to get into a flow state.
We talked earlier about doing a brain dump of your activities. So, what you can do is look over your brain dump of to-do’s for today and then assign one or more of these time hacks to them. You can use these time hacks themselves or in combination with each other.
Mark up your to do list with abbreviations to cover: Elimination, Delegation, Automation, Forced Hyper-efficiency, Timed Activity, Batching with Others, Peak State of Mind, Anchoring, Stating Your Intentions, Isolating or Deferring the Task.
Then, once you have assigned a time hack to each one of them, you can put all of your to-do’s in priority order, starting with the ones you identified in the first step as being your biggest levers. You can assign a priority to the others based upon the time hacks you assigned and whatever order makes sense. This is an incredibly powerful process for managing your to-do list if you put it into action. In fact, if I had to pick one strategy out of all of them, it would be this one. Before we more on to the next chapter, I have one more time hack to cover.
Time Hacks for Consuming Training
Let’s be real…no one has hours upon hours of time to sit and watch training videos. Are they beneficial? “Generally yes”, but does the time spent watching the video correlate into the perceived value for the knowledge you gained? Below are some handy time-saving hacks for training videos:
1. Is there a slide deck or transcript you can download of the training? If so…this is a huge time-saver!
2. Save the materials as a PDF document, so that you can easily skim the document.
3. Use your page down and page up buttons to navigate quickly and review the slides or the transcript.
4. If you are looking for something specific, do a keyboard shortcut with CRTL F and search for keywords to find where the pertinent subject matter is being covered and focus your efforts on that.
5. Review any of the slides or transcript that appear to cover the topic of importance. Still have questions?
6. If you find you need more clarification about a particular topic, open the video and fast forward through the presentation until you find the slide you are looking at and start to watch for a more in-depth explanation.
7. If you still need more information than you can get by these methods, take advantage of that virtual assistant we mentioned as part of the delegating and outsourcing growth hack. Ask them to type up a transcript of the video so you have a written format to reference in the future. You can then repeat this process using their summary and jump to the parts you care about the most.
I’ve personally used this approach to learn the key concepts in an 8 hour program in less than 1 hour.
This is just another example of how to take a time-consuming activity and find a way to create a time hack for it. Isn’t this fun? 😊 I think so.
Time hacking is as much of an art as it is a science, but if you use these strategies throughout your day, you can speed through your task list in no time.
Now that you’ve learned some of my favorite time hacking secrets, let’s move on to another hack that has allowed me to generate millions in revenue and forge great new friendships.
In Chapter 4, your will learn how to achieve business growth by removing from your “to-do” list, not adding to it. This principle is called “Growth by Subtraction”, and when done correctly, it leads to “multiplication”.
In Chapter 9, you’ll learn the recommended next steps for creating the freedom lifestyle that you deserve. You’ll also learn the best resources (including a business growth coach) to support you in this process.