Time is on your side, as long as you understand it

June 22, 2009
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“Time is money.” You’ve heard that expression a thousand times or more. And as many times as you’ve heard it, you have universally ignored it.

Every year I get thousands of requests for a course in “time management.” And every year I give the same answer: Why are you asking me what to do with your time? Don’t you know what to do?

Is it time management or wasted time?

Is it time management or procrastination?

Is it time management or lack of productivity?

Is it time management or lack of achievement?

Is it time management or poor time choices?

You tell me. I’m concentrating on my time challenges, not yours.

I am writing a book on the subject of time management. The title is “You Already Know What to Do, You’re Just Not Doing It.”

I love the “time” expressions that have been created over the years, such as:

Just in time.

Save time.

No time like the present.

There was a time when.

Time commitment.

Time management.

And a ton of other irrelevant jargon.

So if time is money, as suggested earlier, what are you doing with yours? Are you spending it, or investing it? And how are your time investments working for you? Are you frustrated because there are “not enough hours in the day?” I am.

Groucho Marx had it right. He wanted a 36-hour day. That way he could work 24 hours, and still get a good night’s sleep.

Spending time or investing time is a choice. Here are some examples of choices — see which ones apply to you: 

Spend time watching TV — or invest it reading a book.

Spend time drinking in a bar — or invest it writing or preparing for a sales call.

Spend time reading the local news — or invest it talking to your kids.

NOTE: Invested time with your family pays the best dividend: love.

Is it time management? No! It’s time allocation. It’s how you choose to use your time right now.

How are you spending or investing your 16-18 hours a day?

New pressures are being placed on the immediacy of your time — and for many it’s hours, not minutes a day. And these are time uses that have crept into the work fabric and are firmly planted in your life — and mine:

BlackBerry. Some people (not you, of course) are addicted. They can’t sit down without looking at it and responding to it.

E-mail. How many a day? Ten? A hundred? More?

Texting. The newest of the communication modes. Instant and unavoidable. 

Mobile phone. You spend hours on your mobile device with text, search and e-mail. THEN you start talking. “I don’t spend that much time on the phone.” Really? A thousand minutes a month is almost 17 hours. And most people spend more. I’m not saying it’s all bad time. I am saying it’s 17 hours — you measure its value.

And new time pulls are creating re-allocation of your allotted time, the biggest being social media. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr and Wikipedia demand business and personal attention and time allocation — time you and I never had to allocate before.

Add blogs, e-zines, e-mails and Web sites, and you have hundreds of new hours demanding — no, commanding — both attention and time. Your time. My time.

Want to add up your new allocation of time? Two hours a day is 10 hours a week, if you only play five days. Doubtful. That’s 500 hours a year. My number would be closer to 1,000. How about you?

You’re probably at 1,000 just on your BlackBerry.

Here’s the opportunity — or the rub, depending on how you look at it. In all this allocation or re-allocation of time, make certain you’re addressing the real goals of the process. Here’s what you must concentrate on achieving during these new allocated hours:

Making connections.

Helping customers.

Providing value.

Service in an instant.

Building relationships.

Earning referrals.

Following up with hot accounts.

And, oh yes, making sales.

Cold calling? You have no time to waste on hit or miss. Ninety-nine point nine percent miss. Referrals are 75 percent hit. Start there.

You might want to carve out some hours for reading, family, and having fun. I do.

Free Git-Bit: Want Jeffrey’s best time allocation secret? Go to www.gitomer.com and enter ALLOCATION in the GitBit box. Jeffrey Gitomer can be reached at (704) 333-1112 or e-mail salesman@gitomer.com

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