Gaining Control Of Your Time

The last few weeks have been pretty full on from a work perspective.  I’ve been leading a big proposal for a tender that we’re responding to and the process for getting these things priced and governed internally to meet the client’s deadlines has been pretty tight.  I don’t think I’ve worked under 50 hours at any point over the last three weeks.

Today was submission day, so last night was a big push, I was at the office until about 11:30pm last night and back at my laptop at 7am this morning, but by 4pm this afternoon we were at the pub having a few cool beverages to celebrate our hard work.

In many respects, I’m always pretty proud of myself when I look back at periods of time like this where I’m busting my butt working crazy hours and I still managed to get stuff done in my online businesses, write these daily emails and spend time with my family.  Over the years, I’ve become pretty good at managing that balancing act.

This afternoon though, I was chit chatting on Messenger with Scott Duffy and I realized that while I’ve been getting stuff done, I’m not sure that I’ve necessarily been as focused as I could be on getting the right stuff done.

When I talk about “the right stuff” what I’m referring to here is, the thing that I need to do to move the needle on my KPIs.  Scott made reference to my KPIs today which made me think about it.

I set a bunch of targets for myself for the year and I’m doing “ok” against them, but in a few of them, I’m just not getting enough done to make a dent.

And that’s what I mean about doing the right things.

I’ve not only said, “I want to achieve this target by the end of December 2018” but I’ve also mapped out at a reasonable level the things I need to accomplish to get those things done.

If you’ve been reading these emails and posts for any length of time, you know that I think “goals” are kind of stupid.  They are almost always just aspirational thoughts that you conjure up to make yourself feel good but then never really put them into motion.

I’m a fan of targets and objectives.  Once I’ve outlined what I would like to achieve, I spend the time figuring out what processes do I need to undertake on a regular basis to ensure that just by doing the work, I will reach my objective as simply an outcome of putting the effort in, consistently.

The classic example is the target I set when I started Casual Marketer – I wanted to publish 300,000 words on my own platforms in 2016.  I decided to write daily emails to my list at about 1000 words each and if I did that every single day by the end of the year I would have over 300,000 words published.

In fact, I ended up somewhere north of 450,000 words for 2016.

This year is no different – my high-level objective was to totally rebuild the Casual Marketer business so I burned the boats in November/December of 2017 and killed off my paid, Monthly Physical Newsletter.

That forced me to think about how I would turn Casual Marketer back into a six-figure business from almost a zero base again.  My thoughts were to increase my traffic, grow my list and increase my revenue streams and create some new, more leveraged products.

I put some measurements in place and established processes that I could follow to ensure that my actions were directed to meeting those KPIs which in turn should result in meeting my overall target.

Sounds great.

Except, after chatting with Scott today, I realized that I’m a quarter into the year nearly and some of those processes that I need to follow aren’t getting done and certainly many of them aren’t being done consistently.

There’s a bunch of reasons why that’s happening but remember my mantra, “Everything is my fault.”  There’s no point making excuses, you just have to figure out what’s not working and fix it.

For me right now, the thing that’s not working is that I’ve allowed myself to lose control of my time.

I’m not entirely convinced that this is the right way to describe it, I didn’t really “lose” control, I haven’t done a good of a job as I should be doing of maintaining control of my time.

And I’m not talking about the time I spend at my job right now.

If you are doing your online business as a side hustle while having a full-time job, you know that the business sometimes has to be flexible to meet your other work commitments.

What’s actually happening is the time I do have to spend working on the business aren’t maybe as focused on the right things as they could be or I’m spending the time in unproductive ways.

Overall, I’m just not managing my time correctly.

So, I’m working on a bit of a system to get back control of my time and to make sure that I’m getting stuff done.  I’ll try and refine it a bit on the weekend then maybe talk about it in more detail next week.

The thing that I want to get across in this post though is, for most people, the amount of time you have available is often not the problem – I know that’s the case for me.

The bigger issue is how well you use that time and how disciplined you are about doing the right things.  I feel that I’m 80% of the way there because I’ve identified the path to success and know the work that I need to do, the failure is that I’ve not been applying and managing the time properly to focus on getting those things done.

Think about your time.  Have you identified with any level of granularity the things you want and need to do to achieve your objectives?  Are you actually doing those things?

Another question to ask yourself is, “Are you action faking?”  Are you doing things that feel like work but aren’t really going to help you get to your objectives but give you the opportunity to convince yourself and tell others about how much you’re doing?

Spend some time and think about how well you manage and use your time.  Don’t allow yourself to make excuses, just be hard on yourself for a bit and see where you land.

I bet if you’re like me, you’ll realize that you’ve been not doing a good enough job with your discipline and as a result, your delivery is suffering.

Once you do that, then you’re halfway to addressing the situation!

Leave a Comment