Episode 179 – New Age Time Management; How To Do What Matters Most!
Steve Shallenberger: Welcome to the Becoming Your Best Podcast wherever you may be in the world today. This is Steve Shallenberger, your host, and we have a rapidly changing world. New technology is found in virtually every part of your life. Fresh ideas are disrupting how things have been done in the past and putting companies, literally, organizations and in some cases, entire industries out of business, and it seems like everyone is clamoring for your attention. You are beset by a non-stop barrage of noise, email, voice mail, Twitter, Instagram, Messenger and with much more coming, I might add, of options, and the constant flow of change is everywhere. Old time management really is of calendaring and checklists, just simply are not adequate to stay ahead of the game. You are losing ground in what seems like a sometimes-hopeless battle of time and project management, regardless of whether you use a paper-based or electronic planner or calendar. So that’s why this podcast today is on the New Age of Time Management, doing what matters most.
So what is one to do? Well, the answer is to use NEW AGE Time Management. You ask, what is NEW AGE Time Management? That’s a great question! NEW AGE Time Management is a new, fresh way of doing things, that puts you in the drivers’ seat. It is an approach that puts leadership, effectiveness, and priorities FIRST. Once we have chosen the RIGHT direction, then we can apply solid management and efficiency practices. This is all about doing What Matters Most! NEW AGE Time Management, NEW AGE TM, is scheduling your priorities, not just prioritizing your schedule. NEW AGE TM is about leading a life by design, not by default. NEW AGE Time Management is both a mindset and a skillset. So let’s just take a moment and talk about each one.
The mindset is the determination to be a transformational leader versus a transactional leader. A transformational leader is one that takes time to focus on what matters most and leaves things better than when he/she found them. A transactional leader feels like a firefighter, putting out fires all day long, and has an endless checklist that doesn’t ever seem to go away, and often finds satisfaction from always being busy and frequently getting burned out. A transactional leader is too busy to pause to plan out his/her week in advance. A transformational leader pauses to reflect on his/her vision, goals for the year, and what matters most and then takes time to plan out the week in advance. A transformational leader makes time. The mindset is being determined that you will take charge of your life and no longer be endlessly pushed around by every external environment force that exists. The mindset is that you are an exceptional leader who chooses to take time from Friday afternoon, but before Monday morning at 8:00 a.m. to look at your life by design, rather than by default. This choice puts you in the upper 10% of all people in the world. You choose not to be among the other 90% of those living a life by default, being pushed to and fro. That is a steely mindset that will change your life and those of the people around you.
Alright, so what is the Skillset? Well, the skillset is to have a tool, and the ability to use the tool, that allows you to put leadership and effectiveness (doing the right things), FIRST and get a game-changing result. Doctors have surgical and imaging equipment that allows them to serve their patients very well. First, they have the state of the art equipment and second, they learn how to use the equipment because of their training, and bring the two together. This revolutionizes medical care and provides an extraordinary service. Same with an auto mechanic, a college professor, a wealth advisor, a police officer, the military, a businessperson, in sales and marketing, in the service industry and so forth. In other words, in our quickly evolving world, new advanced tools help you to be the one that is doing the disrupting and staying ahead of the curve. So what are the tools and skills that are needed for you to compete against the urgency timeline, in an ever-increasing set of demands? We call the process Pre-week planning, after the metaphor of pre-flight planning, that a fighter, an airline pilot or private and commercial pilots use before they ever go up in a flight. At least the very best do it. And before ever climbing into the pilot’s seat, it’s taking time to prepare for the flight, to consider the weather, the fuel, the condition of the aircraft, the destination, the weight and balance of the aircraft, and filing a flight plan. So, once these things are complete, we have the confidence and peace that we are ready for a successful and happy flight. Imagine what would happen if the pilot just jumped into the aircraft and flew by the seat of his/her pants. This is the same principle that applies to, really, New Age Time Management. How many of us simply go from week to week, without doing careful pre-week planning, fly by the seat of our pants, and expect a different result, a better result?
Well, the tool is the Becoming Your Best Planner, and let me explain why. It is uniquely focused in both process and design, to guide the application of leadership and effectiveness first, to your week and life, and then invites a management efficiency focus to do the job well. It is the only tool that we are aware of, that provides this type of a process for you. It is available in both a paper-based, it’s the Becoming Your Best Planner, or a soon to be released NEW AGE TM app, called Life Organizer. This should be coming out in the next couple of weeks, so just watch for it! This is a tool that makes your job much easier. If you have a Becoming Your Best Planner already, you only need to apply the 3-step process of having a GREAT week because you already have the tool. If you do not have a Becoming Your Best Planner currently, I invite you to invest the small amount of money into your life to get to a whole new transformational level, really. And you can simply go to Becoming Your Best the website store at becomingyourbest.com and order your planner. All you need to do is apply the newage code, for a 30% discount to get you going. This is a one-time offer, and we may not leave this code in there for long, but we’ll certainly put it in long enough for people listening to this podcast, to take advantage of. So, the code to get your discount will be newage, then you can just order your planner. Now, although this is part of our business, I assure you it is not about selling another organizer or planner, this is not the idea. This is a tool that can change your life and affect every aspect of your life, personal, relationships, professional, civic. And I might add that if you do not have a BYB Planner and need the format to start today, simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you a sample weekly planner sheet that you can use today while waiting for your full-year calendar to come to you, in the mail.
Now, this skill, along with the tool, is understanding the simple 3-step process of pre-week planning to get to high-performance results of what matters most in all areas of your life. The more that you do this, the better that you get. In other words, your ability to use the right tool to get superior results improves. So, in summary, not at the necessarily quite at the end of this podcast, but let’s just review, once again, what is the mindset and skillset? The mindset is a transformational leader, that takes time to do pre-week planning. Why? Because you care deeply about the results. You realize that if you do pre-week planning, you will get a vastly superior result from doing what matters most. You will realize greater happiness, health, peace, confidence and high-performance results. That’s the mindset. It’s saying, “I will do it because it’s vital to my success and happiness.” The skillset is to open the BYB planner to the weekly view and apply the simple 3-step process of leadership and management. Mindset – Skillset (the tools and the ability).
Here are the three steps to pre-week planning. Open to the weekly view and you will see a reminder of the three steps in the upper right-hand corner of every single week of the year. It’s just a quick queue to remind you that this is the process. Before you jump into pre-week planning, it’s helpful to briefly review your monthly calendar in the planner to see what is happening in the coming weeks and months. This really helps you to queue up your week and to be well prepared for things in advance and avoid crisis in the future for both you and others. This part takes just a few minutes, you just flip through the months and I can look anywhere from one, two, three, four, five, six months out, just quickly. That sets you up, then, for step 1, which is, write in your roles. So, right across the top you’ll see some gray boxes, and notice the first one is common for all of us, personal; but other roles might be that as a spouse, a parent, work or professional, school perhaps, civic/church. So, you’re going to get really fast at this, it might take you 30 seconds at most, once you start doing this from week to week. You know what your roles are, doesn’t take a lot of time to sit there and think about them, or ponder about them, once you have them. One of the things that immediately starts happening is that this process of simply writing down your roles, helps you think of your life in terms of greater BALANCE and about what matters most! So it’s really a filtering process, that’s step 1.
Step 2 is right under those gray boxes or some white boxes, and this is where you can set action items for each role for the things that matter most, to do this week. For example, in your role as a spouse or a partner, let’s say, what is the most significant set of actions you can do to maintain a happy, close relationship? This, by the way, is exciting, as you apply your intellect and imagination to the possibilities. In this case, for example, you might write a note of appreciation to your spouse or partner, you may go on an exciting date; not just a date, an exciting date! Or another may be to go to lunch and just listen to your partner, see how they’re doing. Or maybe the role that you’re reflecting on is professional, or work. What actions matter most and help you to be among the high performers and someone that can be counted on, in your business? An example of an action might be cultivating a new client or relationship that is important for business or call your five most important customers/clients and do something to help make their life better. Okay, well that’s step 2. Step 2 might take 10 or 15 minutes, it’s the one that takes the longest time, but it’s not very long.
Step 3 is to schedule a time for when you will do each action. In other words, write in when you will accomplish the actions that you have identified. Steps 2 & 3 together, can take maybe 20 minutes, not very long. Step three goes pretty fast, it’s more execution and thinking where does this best fit? How do I create a balanced week? Now, set back and look at the whole enchilada. How does this week feel? How does this week look? How can I improve upon it? You may say to yourself at this time, Good, Better, Best, Never Let it Rest, ‘Til the Good is Better and the Better is Best! I often let the words of that quote and poem go through my mind as I, just look at the week and say, “Okay, how can I notch it up a little better? How can I make it a little more balanced?
Once completed, you will feel more prepared, at peace, confident, focused for your week, and ready to go. You will have considered your week from the high road and you’re ready to attack a great week. And, you have considered your whole life, balanced and full. Your health, attitude, relationships, and profession are all in focus. For those that use an electronic planner, it now only takes a few minutes to transfer your ACTION dates and times into your electronic calendar from this planning tool.
Incidentally, it’s interesting to note that among those that are most successful in time management, use both a paper-based calendar, like the Becoming Your Best Planner and the electronic. In other words the paper-based allows you to go through this level of thinking, of setting up the right direction and the discipline of forming your week out and looking at the balance and then transferring it into your electronic for those that use the electronic. It doesn’t have to be both, but they are a powerful combination. This then, syncs up and for those who may have a group, type Calendar embedded it within your planning, is this kind of thinking.
This is the NEW AGE Time Management approach. This approach and process puts you in the driver’s seat to lead your life by design. You may ask, what happens if I “blow it”? Well, you can’t blow pre-week planning. You go through those three questions and you can get better and better at it, but it’s really hard to blow it. But, in terms of, “What happens if I blow it and I miss doing a weekend here or there?” Well, that’s a good question because it comes down to the Mindset and Skillset and we just need to really think about both. The mindset is being determined that you are the one taking charge of your life and that you will make time for the pre-week planning, so that’s just locked in there, solid. And that you are definitely going to improve your skillset. You will try, try, try again until you consistently do your pre-week planning every single week, until it just becomes locked in habit. And that will happen! And especially because you can’t stand what happens without it! For those who are listening, that are fully in the practice of pre-week planning now, using the tool, may this podcast reinforce all that you are doing! In addition to continuing the habit in your life, now, go out and help your team and family and friends, to develop the habit in their life. This is a great influence and will have an impact on high performance. And for those that are not currently doing pre-week planning, set yourself up now to win. Invest in yourself and get the Becoming You Best planner, that’s very unique, and in the meantime, email us and we will send out the one-week sheet so that you can use it now, this weekend, to get started, while your planner, your 12-month planner is coming, so that will help you get going.
Now, what are some tricks of the trade? Well, here’s just a few of them. Find a time that works well for you to do the pre-week planing. I think that’s golden. That really is a big help. I was talking with an extraordinary and successful woman, she’s a leader, entrepreneur, and mother. I was just talking to her yesterday, she’s from the Dominican Republic. She indicated that she really needs to complete her pre-week planning on Friday afternoon because that’s the ideal time for her to do this. She does it before leaving work to be sure that it gets done. And then, she still has time to reflect on ways to improve on the week to come, during the weekend. Now, others start on Friday afternoon, putting in their roles for the next week, because that only takes what, 30 seconds, as you get really good at it, because they don’t change, they are almost always the same roles, and then considering the actions that are most important. And you may start filling those in perhaps on Friday afternoon, but certainly on Saturday and/or Sunday you’re seeing the plan come alive, you’re maybe watching a show or just hanging out, you can open your planner and then, wrapping things up by Sunday afternoon, so you have your whole week rightly framed up and ready to go.
Here’s another trick of the trade: Put a reminder in your phone. We have many people that set a reminder in their phone for the alarm to go off on Friday afternoon, it’s just set, it’s repeated, every Friday, 04:00, somewhere in that range, and it’s the trigger that reminds you, “Oh yeah, I want to do my pre-week planning”, and then another trigger or alarm reminder on Sunday afternoon, to remind you to complete your pre-week planning. That way you sit back and you are ready to go before Monday ever comes.
Here’s another trick of the trade, number three: People ask this question, on the paper-based planner, on the sides on each side of the week there are to-do columns. So what is that for? As you are going through the week, this is a perfect place to put down things that maybe haven’t been in your original plan but they are spontaneous and come up, it’s something that needs to be done on a timely basis. So just get your pen and pencil, write it down right now in that to-do space and it will be the tickler to help you get it done. What happens if you don’t write it down? Well, there’s a high risk of forgetting. And whatever you do, avoid, this is the next trick of the trade, is avoid sticky notes. When a to-do comes up, go right to your planner, if you use a paper-based or write to your electronic and write down that to-do, right then. Then, you will easily be able to find that to-do, look back, be sure that you’ve taken care of it on a timely basis. Besides that, sticky notes just clutter up your whole workspace, you can lose them, it’s just nice to have things in one place.
Alright, and then, number five is: Have fun! This is a fun process! This is fun stuff. You can doctor-up your planner. So, for example, in the inside front cover, I have glue-sticked in my vision. In the back cover, inside cover, I have glue-sticked in my goals for the year. I’ve also put in a full-color photo of my family towards the front. So this is my planner, this is a motivating thing. You can use then your unique will-power, determination, leadership, and management skill to get to a whole new place in life, a better place, a place of high performance, happiness, health, balance, and joy. This is a great process!
I hope that these ideas will be stimulating for you, inspire and motivate you to become your best particularly in this area and reap the huge benefits that come your way as a result. We need to do things differently. We live in a new world than our parents did, so it requires new tools, a new focus and these are the tools that will help you stay ahead of the curve. I’m wishing each one of you a becoming your best day. And remember, you are a light to others, you’re lifting, inspiring, and building others every day. It’s such an honor to be able to visit together today, I wish you the very best! This is Steve Shallenberger, your host with Becoming Your Best Global Leadership.