What Not to Do

A lot of people ask me, “How do you find the time to do what you do?”

I hate the phrase, “I don’t have time.” We all have the same amount of time and no one can “manage time”. They can only manage their actions. I have five kids, work full-time, and run a business consulting business on the side, blog, affiliate market, network, and go to meetups. It’s both easy and pointless to say what I do because that’s just truth. It’s just what is. It’s what happens when those facts are contrasted against what I’m not doing that gives meaning and a glimpse into an answer to this question.

What do I not do to make business, blogging, and networking a priority?

  • I don’t work on my house anymore – I used to work on my house a lot. I would change things, add things, subtract things. I would dig holes, go to the hardware store, and spend a lot of money. But more than that, it takes a lot of time to do these things. A house is not an asset, it’s a liability – and unless you’re renovating the kitchens and bathrooms, the changes you’re making probably aren’t adding very much value at all. Contrast this with the amount of money you could be making by investing in your knowledge, learning a new skill, or practicing your sales techniques.
  • I don’t watch TV, read the news, listen to the radio, or browse Facebook – I realize I sound like a pompous person by saying this, but it’s not like I’ve never done it before (I used to be a huge news consumer). If you do this you will notice a HUGE change in your lifestyle (for the better). Instead of letting anyone and everyone bombard me with stuff I don’t care about , the only thing I am ingesting is the things that I am seeking out. Therefore ALL of my time spent in the car or in front of the computer is spent either learning or producing something. Imagine how that time transformation can change your life.
  • I don’t get alerts on my phone for anything other than a phone call or text message – Task switching is a productivity killer so I disable all notifications from apps other than text messages and phone calls, but I have even trained myself to not pay attention to text messages throughout the day. Often times I will have to remind myself to check my phone because I faintly remember feeling my phone vibrate. This is intentional as text messages are rarely important and email is even less important. The biggest productivity booster you will get is turning off email notifications on your phone.
  • I don’t go shopping or pay the bills or make a meal or do laundry – Not everyone can do this, but it’s one of the reasons why I have the time to do what I do. Shopping is a huge time suck. So is everything that comes with taking care of a household. My wife does a great job of this so that I don’t have to. I will help her carry laundry baskets or carry a kid to bed, but she and the kids now do most of the housework. I’m very blessed to have someone make my breakfast, lunch, and dinner, do my laundry, and make sure the bills get paid so I can “focus on my business” – just like the marketer’s say :).
  • I don’t change my own oil – I used to do this. I used to spend hours changing my oil so that I could save $10. Now I pay $10 more to only have to spend 10 minutes changing my oil. I practically get paid to get my oil changed. I still mow my own yard, but that is because I use it as exercise. I don’t pay to go to a gym because that seems like an even bigger waste of time, but I do recognize the value of exercise for both mental and physical help. I even tell my clients that when we get stuck on a problem in a meeting, “Let’s go for a walk.” Often going on a ‘walking meeting’ will help you discover new ideas.

Want more? Check out Tim Ferriss’ list of 9 habits to add to your not-to-do list. If you have your own productivity tips or want to share what’s been working for you, please leave a comment below. Thanks for reading.

Sacrifice for the Greater Good?

I saw a film last night about sacrifice.  Sacrificing the lives of a limited number of people in order to save an even greater number of people.  President Obama also lifted the stem cell reseach ban which prevented human stem cells from being destroyed and researched for possible future organ growth.  Again, sacrificing the lives of a limited number of people in order to save an even greater number.  They both raised some interesting questions in my mind.

Why can’t we just have everything that we want, all the time?  Why must there be a cost associated with such a great good as saving human lives?  What other costs do we have with the good that we want for ourselves and our loved ones?  Well, if we decide to get married, then we put away the complete freedom to to what we want with our time.  We now have to share our time (among other things).  The same things happens when we have a child, and another child, and another child.  For every new relationship that is added into the family, there is a trade off of the kind of time that can be spent with other members of the family.  For many people, having children is the goal of the marriage, but that same goal can end up poisoning the marriage, since the kind of time spent working on the marital relationship changes so drastically.

Time is limited.  We cannot just add something new without subtracting something current, in most cases.  Any changes that we make to our live will be adding or subtracting something.  When we subtract something, usually we see the replacement as greater than what was subtracted.  But, that doesn’t mean that thing that was subtracted is without value.  In fact, it may be something of HUGE value.  We just have to understand what is truly important to us on a core level and always work toward the greater good.

Be careful sacrificing things for others, it may not be your place to do so.  Even so, we have to be willing to accept the consequences.  Go on and see what your changes will cost, and if it is worth it.