How Can You Procrastinate Your Way to Success?
‘Time Management’ for many business owners is just an illusive and unattainable goal. Most times it feels like we spend our time jumping from one crisis to the next. We don’t seem able to devote the time and effort necessary to do proper strategic business planning.
We’re doing a constant juggling act of the demands each of us has pulling us in opposing directions. Most of us hope to use our time effectively, but many times it’s just an illusion. Because of this, there are some questions we need to ask ourselves.
- Do you waste too much of your time on insignificant tasks?
- Would you like to have more time to spend on what you do best?
In this article we’ll find out how procrastinating may be a viable strategy to help you achieve more with your time. What’s the first thing that you need to realize? Over the years, time management principles have changed. Secondly, you need to embrace the focus funnel approach to time management.
Why People Struggle with Time Management
If you think about it, there is no such thing as time management. You can’t possibly manage time. What you can manage is what you do with your time. You have to embrace ‘self management’. In todays’ world what we call time management isn’t about logic, it’s about controlling how our emotions affect our choices.
How We Spend Out Time is Dictated by Our Desire for Success
Our feelings as well as our desire for success dictates how we spend our time. Today our inbox, our to-do list and our calendar rule or lives. Because of this a new type of thinker that has emerged, the multiplier.
You See Time Management is About Controlling Expectations
In the beginning, the concept of time-management was only one-dimensional in it’s thinking. Time management was only concerned with efficiency when it was developed in the 1950s and 1960s. The thinking of the time was that with every thing else unchanged, it was better to do things faster.
In the 1980s Dr Stephen Covey introduced the time-management matrix. The matrix evoked a change in time-management thinking, causing it to evolve into it’s next phase which was two-dimensional.
The time management matrix helps you identify what you actually spend your time on. It’s a useful tool if you want to know how to prioritize your work, personal roles, goals and commitments. The theory is based on the the idea that all your time is spent in a four quadrant matrix.
Dr. Covey’s matrix had a Y axis which denoted the importance of a task (how much something matters) and the X axis was urgency of a task (how soon it matters). His matrix scored tasks and allowed you to prioritize each task based on their score.
While prioritizing is a relevant skill today, it does have limitations. The sad fact is that no matter how much you prioritize your tasks, nothing about prioritizing creates more time. You can’t change the size of this matrix. That’s the time that you have. You can significantly alter the size of the four quadrants within the time matrix and devote more of your time to specific tasks.
How to Develop Your Strategy to Solve Todays Problems
It’s impossible for you to use yesterday’s time-management solutions to solve today’s time-management problems. Everything changes completely when you add significance, a third calculation to the equation.
Adding significance takes a two-dimensional square and turns it into a three-dimensional cube. People doing this are known as multipliers.
The three factors work like this:
- Importance is how much this matters.
- Urgency is how soon this matters.
- Significance is how long this is going to matter.
Multipliers view time management completely differently. They don’t ask themselves, “What’s the most important thing I can do today?” Doing that, urgency about a particular task would overpower you and cloud your judgement. Instead, multipliers ask, “What can I do today that will create more results or a better opportunity for me tomorrow?”
While there is nothing you can do to create more time in your day, there are certain things you can do today to increase time tomorrow. Without the significance calculation, we could give too much weight to the urgency calculation.
Don’t fall into the urgency trap. You don’t want to end up always doing things that are urgent. Multipliers realize that their success is no longer related to the volume of tasks they achieve. Instead their success is determined by the significance of those tasks.
A great example of this is managing your social media presence. That is an important task, with real consequences if you don’t maximize your performance. A multiplier would find and employ a terrific Social Management Tool to schedule their social media posts and lessen the time pressure on them.
I use Blog2Social to make my social media posting schedule manageable. It helps me maintain my sanity, and I often have many of my social media posts scheduled for the coming 6 – 8 weeks. If I decide to change something – I can do that with a few mouse clicks.
This post is already scheduled to be published, 45 days from now.
What is the Focus Funnel?
The focus funnel is a visual depiction of multipliers thought process. It is how they decide which tasks they need to spend their time on. It helps guide them to make better decisions on how to spend their time.
At the top of the focus funnel is “Eliminate.” The first question multipliers ask themselves is, “Can I eliminate this task? Is this task even worth doing?”
Multipliers realize that next-generation time management is much more about having a not-to-do list than a to-do list. Anything you say no to today will save you time tomorrow.
If You Can’t Eliminate it, You Need to Automate it
If you can’t eliminate it, it drops down to the middle of the funnel, which is “Automate.” Anything you create a process to automate today will save you time tomorrow. Automation compounds your available time much like what compounding interest is to your money. Compounding interest turns your money into more money, and automation turns your time into more time.
If You Can’t Automate it, You Need to Delegate it
If it can’t be eliminated or automated, it goes into the third funnel, “Delegate.” Often people think that no one else will be as good at a task or it would be faster to do it themselves. To successfully delegate, you need to adopt the 30x rule. The 30x rule says that it pays to spend 30 times the amount of time it takes for you to do a task training someone else to do it
For example, if a task takes you 5 minutes every day, the 30x rule suggests it should take you 150 minutes to train someone how to do it. If you make the significance calculation and think beyond the construct of one day, it makes sense to spend that amount of time training someone else to do it.
A 5-minute task done 250 working days in the year means you’ll spend 1,250 minutes doing the task. Spend 150 minutes training someone to do this task, and you will get a 1,100-minute gain. That’s a 733% return on time invested.
If You Consider the Money Value Of Time, You’ll Delegate
Marketers who don’t delegate should consider the MVOT calculation: the Money Value of Time. Time is the most valuable commodity each of us has. And the time we have available to us is limited.
Even if we are not paid hourly, each of us earns an hourly rate of pay. If you earn $100,000 a year and work 50 hours a week, your MVOT is about $62 an hour.
Are you delegating tasks to others. Are you trying to do it all yourself? For some of your repetitive and time consuming tasks, are you paying someone else to do those? If you aren’t paying an assistant, you are that assistant.
When you come to the bottom of ‘the focus funnel’ there are tasks that you can’t eliminate, automate or delegate. Those are tasks that you need to do.
If a task needs to be done now, you should concentrate on getting that task completed. You are given permission to focus on the task and eliminate the distraction.
If the task can be done later, then you are given permission to Procrastinate on Purpose (POP). Pop that activity back to the top of the focus funnel, where it will cycle through the funnel until ultimately and inevitably you will use one of the four strategies of eliminate, automate, delegate or concentrate to take care of the task.
If something can continually wait, you will eventually eliminate it. Perhaps you’ll discover a technology that will allow you to automate the task. Or somebody will rise to the call of leadership and complete the task for you.
In certain circumstances, you should procrastinate on purpose. There is a major difference between waiting to do something you know you should be doing but don’t feel like doing versus waiting to do something because now is not the right time.
Procrastination is not going to the gym because you don’t feel like it. When you wait to do something, that is not procrastination. That is a virtue.
Inaction that results from indulgence is procrastination. Inaction that results from intention is patience.