Here’s how I get it done

Here’s how I get it done

It’s just about another week before my third book, The Great Team Turnaround, is out! I’m hoping you’ll consider picking a copy up as it shares everything I know about building great teams ❤️

So I gave a talk the other day…

This past weekend I had the great pleasure to speak with an Executive MBA class at GA State on the topic of, what else, entrepreneurship. The class was made up of 35 adults already into their careers, with the hopes that this 2-year program would help them move up the ranks in their profession or give them the experience to move into something new, possibly even starting their own business.

While, to be sure, I love speaking to young people, a group like this is great because they ask real questions. Things like: How do I think about starting a business when I have a family to support? How do I manage team members from a values perspective? How do I find my Purpose?

Along those lines, I received a question during my talk that I often get when talking to “adults” once they hear the numerous things I’m involved in (founding companies and nonprofits, writing books, etc.), and the fact that I have five children at home that I love spending time with.

“So, seriously…how do you do all of that?”

The funny thing about my talks is, no matter how many companies I’ve started (or sold), or books I’ve written, or nonprofit boards I’m on, or anything else I’ve accomplished in business, the thing that gets the entire audience gasping is the fact that in the midst of all of that, I have five children at home.

Which usually leads another parent in the room to ask me how I get all of that stuff done.

And I get it, it does sound like a lot. But I wasn’t always good at achieving more than one thing. I feel like from age 14 to 21, all I focused on was tennis. And then from 21 to 31, I mostly focused on Spunlogic, my first company. And I essentially gave up tennis when my now 16-year old was born, because I didn’t have time in my life for more than two things: Spunlogic and Family.

Over time, however, and with a little luck, I’ve managed to become decent at focusing my time on things that are important. Here’s how I think about it:

Purpose

If you’re a consistent reader of my stuff, then you might be tired of me talking about Purpose. I get it, but trust me, it’s THE most important thing to help you decide how you should be spending your time!

Ever since I found my Purpose (yes, I always capitalize ‘Purpose’), I’ve known how I should be focusing my time. If it’s not allowing me to have an outsized, positive impact on the world, then I really have to think twice about doing it.

The most important thing I ever suggest to you will be to find your Purpose. I promise it will be life changing (and life affirming), and will help you accomplish more than you ever dreamed possible.

Focus

Once you have your Purpose, the next thing you need to do is decide what you’re going to focus on. I use a simple Venn diagram for focusing my time:

If I’m spending time on something that doesn’t hit at least one of these focus areas — Family, Dragon Army, or Doing Good — then I have to really question whether or not it belongs in my life. And when something hits all three at the same time, that’s the sweet spot 👍I’m also extremely diligent about what ends up on my calendar (see below), because I know that the more I simplify and focus, the more successful I am.Here are some tips on how to figure out what you should be focusing on.And the most important aspect of this is…

Learn to say “No!”

I love the concept of there being two answers to the question, “Should I spend time on that?”:

  • Heck yeah!
  • No

The point being, unless something is a certified, “Heck yeah!”, then it’s probably not something you should spend time on. It has taken me a long time to get good at saying “no”, and honestly it is still something I struggle with. Deciding not to do something is a decision; deciding to do something is a commitment. Try to take control of your life, and start by saying “no” to things that don’t fit.

Time management and calendar hacking

Monday morning is typically when I write the first draft of this newsletter. Depending on how much I get done, I will do some editing and revising on Tuesday morning and then send it out, otherwise if it still needs a lot of work, it might go out on Wednesday.

But this Monday morning — like all Monday mornings — I first start by spending about 15 minutes looking at my calendar for this week and next week, scrutinizing every entry, making sure they’re color-coded to the right category so I know what kind of things I’ll be doing, and ensuring there are large gaps in my schedule throughout the week. Those gaps are important because you need space in your week to think, problem-solve, and catch your breath.

Delegation

The only way I’ve ever grown my companies is by giving other leaders in the organization a chance to step up and do, quite frankly, what they can do better than I can.

This, of course, requires that you have people you can trust around you, and that you’re willing to let go of some things. Every time I’ve done this with something important, the person I delegated to has out-performed my expectations.

Time Hacks

Lastly, look for ways that you can take advantage of your time in order to squeeze more into your week. Here are some ways I do that:

  • Washing dishes and watching shows. One of my jobs at home is to do the dishes, and with five children and a wife that’s an incredible cook, I spend about an hour every day washing dishes. So I set up my iPad and put in some earbuds and watch a TV show or movie while I unload and load the dishwasher.
  • No Clash Royale until I’ve worked out. I like playing the mobile game, Clash Royale. I’ve been playing it for years, and even though the games are only three minutes long, it’s easy to get sucked in and waste a lot of time playing. I have a rule: unless I’ve worked out, I cannot open the app.
  • Keeping books around and having a reading goal. I’m a pretty massive reader. I expect this year I’ll average more than a book a week (here’s what I’ve read so far this year). Because this is important to me, I always have books around the house, reminding me that, even though I’ve worked out that day and deserve a Clash Royale battle :), it is probably better if I grab a book and read a little.
  • Listen to books when working out. Continuing with the reading theme, I also listen to a book while I run. In this case, I’m able to accomplish two of my goals — working out and reading books — at the same time. (And in case you’re worried about my safety, I now run with these headphones so that I can hear the traffic around me.)

The Point

We all have the same numbers of hours in our day, though not all of us have the same number of hours we control. But for those hours you have control over, work hard to maximize them and focus your efforts in the right areas, and I promise you’ll end up doing way more than you thought you could.

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