Create the time required to invest in your four ultimate alternative assets!

The CapitalQ “End Game” Business Investment Formula is all about recognising that despite your trade, profession or skill, you must become an “Investor” in order to achieve your “End Game” in business.

Further, it is all about investing in four key assets, they are what we refer to as the ultimate alternative assets and they are –

  • Yourself
  • Business Systems and Processes
  • Marketing Weapons
  • Good People

You can read more in these previous Blog posts –

In a Way You have Already Begun

Now whether you realise it or not, just taking the time to read our Blog is part of your investment in yourself, we sincerely hope you agree 🙂

And while investing in yourself is ultra-important and the ultimate leverage-able investment, acquired information and knowledge which is not acted upon is worthless.

Our last post (How to Achieve Your Business End Game – Step 1 “Choose to Take Action”) discussed the need to “Take Action” and provided some ideas for avoiding getting stuck thinking you are achieving by learning, but actually achieving nothing because you are not actually implementing.

So, we are assuming you have now made the commitment to yourself that you are going to take action towards achieving your “End Game” in business (and that the commitments you make to yourself count for something).

Now, the next step is you MUST…

Create Time!

You must do so in order to provide yourself the additional available time to start working on (read investing in) the things you must in order to take your business to the next level (your four ultimate alternative assets).

You must also start freeing up your time in order to begin the process of creating the additional available personal energy, and hopefully also the creative impetus, required to unlock the answers to your business success roadblocks from within yourself.

And the great thing is that the way you start freeing up your time, actually includes starting your next investment (more on that another day).

Consider Your Time Differently

The key is to stop purely focusing on what you can get done with your time.  Just being busy doesn’t mean you are truly achieving something.

Instead, start thinking about the lost opportunities.  This means think about what else you could have gotten done if you didn’t spend (read ‘waste’) your time doing the thing you did?

Further, think of the return on investment of your time.  Even in my case, as a Director of an Accounting and Business Advisory business, if I spend an hour working on a Client’s accounting I can charge them somewhere between say $200 to $350 depending on the type of work I am doing.  Not bad!  But, if I spend that hour creating an article for The Q Review which then reaches 20,000 businesses and which not only helps CapitalQ Community Members grow their businesses (the more you grow your business, the more we can help) plus could bring even say just five new business owners into the CapitalQ Community (adding to the number of Clients we serve).  Which do you think is the better investment of that hour?

Time Creation Exercises

Let’s commence a series of simple exercises which will provide a massive return on the relatively minor investment of energy and time…

The purpose of these exercises is to –

  • One – Get started, get you moving in the right direction, even if just in a small way,
  • Two – Focus on the low hanging fruit (the easiest to reach) when it comes to actions you can implement that will start to make a difference straight away,
  • Three – Focus on the quick action steps that have the highest payoff, the biggest return on investment for the least amount of work.

So the action steps below are not an exhaustive list, and they do not go into such great detail so as to require vast amounts of time and energy to achieve them.  But they will all get you moving in the right direction, are easy to achieve and provide serious bang for your buck! Just don’t over think things, the key is to get some things done, not to get ‘everything’ done.

The aim is to eliminate Time Thieves!

We break Time Thieves into to two broad categories, Universal Time Thieves and Personal Time Thieves.

Within each, for these exercises, we cover three sections as follows –

Universal Time Thieves

  • Emails
  • Your Phone
  • Your Business’ Accounting

Personal Time Thieves

  • Your Day
  • Your Week
  • Your Month

So today, let’s start eliminating Time Thieves associated with the first section of the Universal category…

Universal Time Thief 1 – Emails

Your email is highly likely the biggest time vampire in your day (well maybe after your phone, but we will get to that).

Not only do we business owners receive so many emails we often can’t stay on top of them (even if it is all we do).  But even worse, they steal our attention when we are at our best.

First thing in the morning they steal our attention away from the high value tasks we should, and intended, to do that day, often meaning we never get back to them at all.

Further, they interrupt incessantly throughout the day, often drawing our attention to check for them even when deep down we don’t really want to, and when we certainly know we shouldn’t.

Then for many, they ruin our night’s sleep when we check them last thing in the evening, filling our heads with anxiety and unproductive thoughts.

So, one of the lowest hanging fruit (the easiest fix to reach) in your business life to help create more time and more mental space, is to address how your emails are dealt with.

Time Creator Action 1 – Unsubscribe to Every Email that You Can

This is harder than you might think.  For each email you regularly receive you can usually come up with a justification why you want to keep receiving it.  Even if you haven’t really found time to read the last five, nor have ever actually taken advantage of the offers provided.

But you absolutely must cut the cord and break free from as many as you can.

I know a lot of them contain great information.  Or offers.  Or you think they help you keep your finger on the pulse.  But let’s be real, there is no shortage of information available to us in this day and age.  In fact, there is an overload.  Let’s be the ones who decide what information we seek out, and when we do so.  Unsubscribe, unsubscribe, unsubscribe! I assure you, if it’s really important, you will find out about it another way.

Time Creator Action 2 – Create Rules to Automatically Delete Emails You Don’t Need to Deal With

Next, start creating as many Rules as you can to automatically Delete as many emails as you can from all the sources where you –

  1. don’t need to deal with the emails,
  2. don’t even ‘really’ need to see the emails, but
  3. for some reason you can’t unsubscribe to the emails.

An example might be emails from your Bank advising you a new Statement is available.  Often you can’t opt out of these specific emails, nor can you likely stop receiving all emails from your Bank, yet the ones advising you a new Statement is available really don’t need to be taking some of your highly valuable attention.

Another might be the daily email you receive from your Anti-Spam system (if you have one), telling you of all the emails it caught.  Who cares!  Yes, I understand occasionally one will get caught that shouldn’t.  Don’t worry, if it’s important, the sender will reach you another way.

Time Creator Action 3 – Create Rules to Automatically Forward Emails You Don’t Need to Deal with but Someone else Does

Then, start creating Rules for all the emails you already forward on to other people to address.

If all you are ‘really’ doing is wasting time forwarding the emails manually, automate it so you aren’t wasting that time and mental space.

Yes we understand you might be used to, and feel more comfortable, receiving the email first, maybe checking it, maybe not, before passing it on.  But it is time to be brave, to trust in your Team, to run the risk one of your Team might make a mistake (it is highly unlikely to be fatal), so just do it!

(We will get to finding more that you can delegate later, but for now, you are on a roll, so don’t lose momentum just focus on the ones you already generally pass on.)

 

Some additional comments at this stage… 

Notice, I haven’t included in the above the action of clearing out all your old emails. 

For those of you who that might bother (fellow OCD sufferers) it won’t really be a problem, you will do that anyway, I won’t be able to stop you, you couldn’t stop me 😉

For the rest of you, I don’t want the clearing of your Inbox to be an impediment to start making these changes to how you manage your email.  If you wait till your Inbox is completely cleaned out and you are fully ‘on top of your emails’ before you start making changes, there is a fair chance you will never get started.

Further, when creating the Rules above, do so within your Browser, not within Outlook or Mail or whatever email client you use on your computer.  That way, the Rules are applied before you see your emails no matter how you access them, not only when you open your computer.

 

Time Creator Action 4 – Go Back and Do Actions 1, 2 and 3 Again but this time “Be Ruthless”

I hope that doesn’t sound condescending, sorry if it does.  I know many of you will have felt you were being ruthless the first time.  I thought I was being ruthless myself the first time.  The truth is, I wasn’t.  It really is amazing how little of the emails you receive you really, genuinely, need to see and to invest attention, time, energy and focus on.  I can honestly say, that since I got serious about these strategies, probably 3 to 4 years ago, I have not once had a real problem arise as a result of an email I didn’t see.

Time Creator Action 5 – Add a Notification to Your Email Signature, that you “Don’t Monitor Your Emails throughout the Day”

Any of you that have received personal emails from me will have seen my notice in my email signature.  It goes something like this (sorry I have my email closed so can’t copy word for word but…) –

“Please note, in order to maximise my output and to ensure I pay maximum attention to each task I am performing, I do not monitor my emails throughout the day.”

I think that politely lets those whom I correspond with via email know how I work, so there shouldn’t be any misunderstandings.

And by doing the same, you will have obtained permission (both from yourself and your contacts) not to constantly check your emails throughout the day.

And even better, you have obtained permission (again from both yourself and your contacts) to not respond to every email instantly.

Time Creator Action 6 – Set a Schedule for When You Actually Will Check Your Emails

You chose your schedule as suits you and your business.

But the best practice is to avoid email first thing.  It puts other people’s problems ahead of your own priorities.

Instead aim for around mid-morning, but whatever time you chose, make sure it is AFTER you have done some real, high value work.

Then, best practice is probably to check your email again late afternoon, say around 4pm, just to give yourself a chance to put out any fires before you leave for the day.  And to add anything of genuine importance to your To Do list for the next work day.

Of course, the schedule above has a further implication, your emails are closed outside of those fixed times!

Closed is probably best, but of course it isn’t always practical.  Sometimes you need to write emails outside of those times.  Or refer to previous emails received.  So what I do is leave my Outlook open, but I take it ‘offline’ so it does not download (nor send) any emails during this time, but I can still access previous ones, write new ones (which will send when I go back online later in the day), etc.

Finally, do not under any circumstances check your emails at night!  I know it might make you feel like you are getting things done, that you are doing the extra work, out of hours, that business owners and entrepreneurs do.  And I know you might argue it helps you get a head start on the next day.

All of these arguments are either incorrect, or false economies.

You are not ‘really’ getting things done.  Business owners and entrepreneurs who work super long hours and really get things done are working on high pay-off tasks during those times, not addressing other people’s problems via email.

And for the most part it isn’t giving you a head start on tomorrow, if anything it is stopping you using your time for its maximum value, which includes getting a good night’s sleep so you are at your best tomorrow, ready to make a real difference in your business.

Keep an eye out for the next post in this series where we will address the next section of Universal Time Thieves.