The phone rang. “Joe Connolly with The Wall Street Journal and WCBS Radio,” he announced. “Keith, I just finished reading an article in The Wall Street Journal about you and your unique approach to prospecting and cold calling. It seems this article originally ran in Inc. magazine?”
“Yes, Joe, that's right.”
“We're hosting our Small Business Breakfast next month and wanted to see if you would be interested in sitting on our panel of experts and answer some questions on the topics of your two books on time management and cold calling. There will be about 600 to 700 people in attendance, all local professionals.”
“Thanks for the invitation, Joe. What are the details?”
We concluded our conversation and several weeks later I was on stage in front of an audience of 600 to 700. A question came my way. It was on how to best manage your time.
“What strategies would you suggest to better manage your time?”
My response; “Stop. Stop trying to manage something that you cannot manage in the first place.”
Blank stares. “Let me explain, I continued. But first, let me tee it up with a question I have for all of you. How many of you are familiar with the expression, time is money?” About everyone raised their hand.
I then asked, “By a show of hands, how many of you manage your money in some way? Whether you use a stock broker, financial adviser, accountant, bank; raise your hand if you manage your money in some way.”
A few seconds later, several hundred people raised their hand, a good 90 percent of the audience.
“Finally, how many of you manage your time as diligently as you manage your money? Raise your hand if you have a consistent, weekly routine that you follow from the time you wake up in the morning up until the time you end your day, [whether that's when you end your workday or go to sleep] that contains the specific, measurable activities and tasks you engage in that move you closer to your goals, while keeping your life in a happy balance?”
I thought I might have to repeat the question. Not a hand went up. I'm not surprised. After all, it was my clients who inspired me to write a book on time management in the first place.
In a room filled with highly successful professionals, there wasn't one person in the room who could confidently raise their hand and say, “Yes! I have that!” And yet these people are still successful (however you define success).
“On the surface we believe time is money, yet when it comes down to it, we're not managing our time and ourselves the way we manage our money.
We don't give our time the same respect, diligence and planning it deserves the way we do money. And rather than make time our ally we make it our adversary, continually trying to ‘beat' the clock.”
(We've all tried to make a half hour drive in 15 minutes, and are still shocked when we can't make it ‘on time'!)
“And the kicker is, once you invest your time, you don't get it back. You can't double it, invest it, save it for a rainy day or slow it down.
That's why it's critical to your success to develop a healthy relationship with time and shift from trying to ‘manage your time' to managing what you can control, which is yourself and the actions you take each day. You can control where you invest your time, rather than other people, situations or problems doing it for you. That's why the foundation to living your potential is developing a consistent routine.”
We resist what we need to learn the most. If you don't excel at the basics, then how can you expect to manage your sales objectives? If you can't master your time and control your day, then how can you expect to manage your business?
The answer's in mastering the basics. If you want a great lifestyle, then you'll have schedule one.