We all know the common saying that is “time is money”. Because of that, we tend to work and think of doing it all in our businesses in order to succeed. In today’s show, Ken Courtright calls a total foul on this thinking. He imparts the golden rule of what determines what goes into your time, no matter how big or small your company, which is: you can only do what you can do. Get inside this episode to learn to reevaluate the relationship of your time with money and focus on your area of genius.
Listen to the podcast here:
Time Is MONEY
As usual, I’m loving this podcast. We’re going to call this show Time is Money. This show speaks to entrepreneurs, leaders, and heads of sales departments out there. Quite frankly, anybody who’s responsible to make sure that a dollar amount is hit or an amount of revenue comes in and not only comes in but keeps on coming. This is a sensitive topic for me because I wrestled with it during my first decade in business. I would say sometimes I won and sometimes this subject or this topic won. We did not have the growth in our first ten years like we’re having in the last few years. It’s the topic of my time and I don’t mean my personal time as in time away from the office. I mean my time, the actual time I spend working and I work all the time. Let’s take a Monday through Friday generic situation. Your time is, what do you put into those 40 hours? How do you fill your calendar? The bottom line is I made a stark, high-end 90-degree turn right around the year 2000.
In my early days, I would do or tackle anything in front of me. I would sell, make, deliver or even install something. I would do anything and everything at any moment. Some people say, “Isn’t that what all fledgling small business owners do? Don’t you have to do it all in the early days?” I am here to call total BS to that. No matter how big or small a company is, there is a golden rule of your time. Please write this down. Here’s the golden rule of what determines what goes into your time. You can only do what only you can do. Me, Ken Courtright, there are things that I do that I sometimes catch myself, “Somebody else could do this. Why am I doing this?” I’ve got to make sure every step of the way that anything and everything that can be delegated is delegated. A lot of people out there have a tough time with this. I’m a people pleaser as a personality and what’s called a Cygwin. I don’t like to delegate per se. If I can get it done quickly, by the time I would teach somebody else how to do this, I could’ve done it myself.
Being the people pleaser I am, I don’t want to call somebody and say, “Would you do this for me?” To my body, it subconsciously finds that offensive. The reality is I had to mature and become a big boy in business and realize that there is no way I could forecast 5, 10, 20, 100 times growth if I was still filing paperwork, booking travel, and doing something that anybody else could do. I don’t care how big, all activities in a business can be compartmentalized into the following pieces, selling something or someone, building or creating something, servicing something or someone. I say this a lot, and people go, “What about management? I’m a manager.” If you’re a manager, you’re selling someone, you’re servicing someone, you’re building teams, and building teams is selling people on your concepts, that’s it. We’re either selling something or someone, building or creating something or we’re servicing something or someone.
What that means is, everybody, according to Dan Kennedy and Dan Sullivan from Strategic Coach, the major players of understanding time management will tell you everybody has one single area of genius and they need to spend 80% of their time in their area of genius. If you’re spending your time in other areas, it’s not going to produce. Your strength and area of genius lie in only one of the three above areas. Either your area of genius is in selling something or someone, building or creating something or it’s servicing something or someone. That’s it. You can’t be in all three. This isn’t the Renaissance where you’re a master of all.The golden rule of what determines what goes into your time: you can only do what only you can do. Click To Tweet
I’m into building and creating things. I can sell, service, and build but the point of my true genius is I love creating a new product, podcast, and writing a book. It is my area of genius. It doesn’t mean I’m a genius. It’s my strength. In my years in business, I’ve tried three different methods of how I used or chiseled out my time. In my first decade, my first method would be defined as the Anything and Everything approach. I would do anything. I would do everything, and quite frankly, every day was different. If we needed more money, I’d sell. If we needed manufacturing, I’d build something. If we needed research and development next week, I’d find myself at a trade show studying the market. I, in essence, went with the wind. I went wherever the wind blew. I lived in what is known as reactal management. I managed from behind. I reacted to the checkbook and went and sold something. I reacted to people kind of yelling in the office so I’d help them build something faster. I reacted.
Around 2000, a gentleman named Steve dropped me an atomic bomb. He said, “Ken, I’ve assessed how you’re operating and you live in reactal management.” I said, “What do you mean?” He says, “You need to switch over to the powerful method of running your calendar called causal management.” I said, “What the heck is causal management?” He said, “It’s simple. You set your week. You don’t let your week set you. You cause things to happen.” I said, “I’m not catching it.” He sat me down and had coffee. By the time he was done, I said, “This is a great segue or analogy to my next little talking point on this podcast.” Many people know the story of the large five-gallon glass milk jug. There’s a guy on a stage and he puts these kinds of large rocks in it and it fills up until it’s overflowing. He says to the audience, “Is it full?” Half the audience says, “Yes. You did a great job. It’s full.” The other half’s unsure. He takes out a couple of bucket loads of pebbles and he puts them in and shakes them. He puts them in and they all settled and the pebbles are overflowing. He says, “Is it full now?”
The other half of the audience says, “Yeah.” The other quarter of the audience, half of the other half was still unsure. He goes, “Right.” He grabs some sand. He takes a couple of liters of sand and he pours it in and shakes it and the sand overflow. He goes, “Is it full?” One guy in the back says, “No. You can still add water.” Everybody needs to picture their week like that five-gallon jug. The point of that story is you can’t do it backward. You can’t put the water in first, sand, pebbles, and the big rocks because you’ll only get a few big rocks in. They won’t fit. In life and in business, businesses move forward when the big rocks are put in first. The big rocks concept is known as causal management. Whatever big rocks move your company like certain sales and marketing, whatever is the mover you’ve got to make sure as a business manager, leader or owner that you’re putting the big rocks in first.
Many time management experts will tell you, “You’ve got to put your big rocks in the morning in case the day gets away from you.” Dr. Stephen Covey took causal management to a whole new level. He wrote the famous question, “What one thing if done consistently and superbly well, gets you everything you’ve always wanted and takes away all your pain?” Many of you reading can answer this question numerically. If we ran twenty commercials a week, we’d be done and set. If we knocked down 300 doors a month as a company, we would hit all our numbers. If we showed three presentations a day per sales rep, we’d hit our numbers. If we as a company maintain 35 active sales reps, we can hit our numbers. If you can answer that Stephen Covey question numerically, I need to suggest to you all that 60% of your week or if you do a Monday through Friday or three days in a row, 60% your week needs to be spent doing whatever it takes to ensure those numbers are hit.
This allows you to do what is called Relax in the Numbers. If you can use causal management and come up with a number and you can build your big rocks into your calendar in the mornings, then you can build a company that will allow you to truly relax in the numbers. Relaxing in the numbers is the holy grail of many businesses. If a business could figure out the recipe to guaranteeing a consistent number hit, they could relax. This pursuit let a gentleman named Tim Ferriss to write his famous book, The 4-Hour Work Week. The underlying principle of that book is most results come from short bursts of focused effort, not grinding out, doing anything, and everything business approach. Tim Ferriss decides to write a book and to prove to the world that you can put in tiny, short bursts of focus effort and get tremendous, but you’ve got to do one thing. You often have to shut off all other forms of communication.
At one point in the book, Tim told the world that there are two times a week he checks email. Most people reading that would probably take a double-take and say, “What? I can check email only Monday at 10 AM and Thursday at noon?” That’s what he did. People would say that’s impossible. Yet, the truth is Tim proves in that book that people email. Email does not run people. As I’m recording this podcast, it’s a Monday. My autoresponder on my email tells the world that I’m away from my desk until late Thursday. I do this because I practice the highest level of causal management, how I run my calendar and my life is known as Scheduled Creation. I have found that our company’s greatest growth comes from the times when I shut the world off, truly think and I create. I either create podcasts, write books, studied the market or created new products. I live the rule that I can only do what only I can do.
I believe God put me on this earth to do certain things. I don’t think he put me on the earth to answer email. I’m pretty sure God did not put me here to have Skype meetings. I don’t think. He put me on this earth to read, study markets, assess things and create things. The titles of my to-do list are the following. I have a to-do list. It’s not exaggerating. It’s over 600 columns wide at this point. The columns are only titled for different things. They’re either today/tomorrow, soon, others or great ideas. What happens is throughout the week, I get little to-dos that come to me, “I’ve got to do this and this.” It could be things I have to do personally. If it’s me, it either goes under today/tomorrow or it goes under soon. Meaning, it doesn’t have a hard deadline, but only I can do it. If it’s anything anybody else can do, it goes under others. If it turns out to be a great idea to move our company forward, it goes under great ideas.
We, as a company, I have over 500 great idea columns. Each column has five ideas in it and that’s a result of since about 2000 using this method. Over the weekend, what I do is I look at all the prior week’s new to-dos and I sort them but what I and only I can do. After, I determined, “Do I have to have this done by Monday or Tuesday?” It goes into today or tomorrow because I’m going to technically open it Monday morning. If it’s something that can wait a little bit, it goes under soon and everything else gets delegated to others. I forward that Monday morning to the other people that have to jump on those items and get those moved. The key is I do this exactly how Tim Ferris described it years ago. I’m years into this method. I’m telling everybody, reading, even if this was day one of a new company and I had no employees and no help, now we have 82 employees and four offices, I did this when we had ten employees. I did this when we had four. Quite frankly, you can use virtual assistants, interns, and helpers. The bottom line is you can only do what only you can do.Most results come from short bursts of focused effort, not grinding out doing anything and everything. Click To Tweet
The bottom line of how I determine what energy and effort go into the time God gave me is, I determine, “Is this something that only I can do?” It goes into today/tomorrow or soon, “Is this something somebody or anybody else can do?” It’s got to go into others and get pushed out, “Is it a great idea that I bumped into, forwarded to me or I thought of?” It goes into the great idea column. I found out and it looks like for the third time in four years, we’re going to hit the Inc. 5000 list again. That’s fantastic and it’s poignant that I put this in in the time management phase of this podcast series because I’m not going to stop using this to-do list method until we stop growing and we doubled again and it looks like we’re going to double again this time. I’m going to keep using this method until we stop doubling each year.
Here’s a quick review. There are three different ways to gem items into your calendar. Number one, you can do anything and everything. Each day is different. Your results, I can almost assure you, you’re going to be efficiently ineffective. Number one, try doing anything, doing everything and blitzing through your week, you’re going to end up exhausted every single week and you’re going to be efficiently ineffective is my guess. Number two, it’s causal management. Figure out exactly your area of genius you jam those in in the early parts of the morning. I recommend strongly that you get to work an hour earlier than you’re currently doing. Assess your day, get the big rocks and do the uncomfortable stuff, but produces the most first do the rest of your day. Let the rest of the hitch in the face as it usually does. Number three, you can do the highest level of causal management called Scheduled Creation.
The reason this is key in scheduled creation is, you stop the rest of your life and you live in causal management, meaning you don’t put the big rocks in the morning, you put the big rocks in until you hit the numbers that you know you need to hit. I’m going to go 90 degrees and add a little nugget here. I believe in and what I do typically is in the weekends when there are no phones, Skypes, no nothing, I assess the coming week and I said, “If this week finishes, what causal management, big rocks can I put in to ensure the numbers were already hitting continue to grow, ensure the podcast continue to get created at a high level, and books continue to get written?”
I’ve got a book coming up. What is it? When nobody’s attacking me, when the world is silent, I set the schedule. I strongly recommend that you don’t set your schedule during the week. During the week is the time of performance. During the weekend is the time of thinking. That works for me and I strongly recommend that. Here’s the key. Remember business utopia is when you can relax in the numbers. I can from years of experience tell you it is a lot easier to relax in the numbers when you put the big rocks in first and put the big rocks in succession until certain numbers are hit. See you guys on the trail. If this podcast hits you and you don’t mind helping me out, jump into iTunes on a desktop and drop me a review and subscribe to the podcast. You guys are awesome. See you.