4 Ways Successful People Master Their Time

Screenshot 2014-09-23 10.09.05Sept 23, 2014

I started my first small business at age 24.  For anyone who has ever been in a position of leadership or creative authority, who has ever started a project, ran a campaign, or co-founded a dream, you know that how you use your time is pretty darn important.

I recently came across an article in WeWork Magazine on how to save time by doing less.  So, here are 4 things I’ve learned from successful people who get a lot done.

*Note: I like to say time-mastery, instead of time-management, because mastery indicates there is something to learn. This is good news! If you feel overwhelmed, exhausted, or like you’re going around in circles, it doesn’t mean it’s time to throw in the towel, it’s just that you haven’t mastered your time yet.

So, how do we master our time to get everything done and produce extraordinary results?

1. Think like Beyonce. 

Everyone who has ever been successful has had the same number of minutes in each day. The only difference between you and Beyonce (okay, dance moves aside) is her support team. A cram-night every now and then to meet a deadline is okay. But, if you find you are making overwork a habit, it might mean it’s time to empower your support team.

Next Step:  Empower your team. People want to see you be successful. They just do. And in order to be successful, we need support. Ask like this: “Hey! Would you be willing to… ?” Convey the ask with enthusiasm and excitement.  If they say “yes”, thank them for helping out big time! If they say, “no”, say “okay” with a smile. And then ask someone else.  

2. Make hard choices. 

You have the same number of minutes in each day as Beyonce – or, anyone else who has built a business or accomplished something great. It’s not how much time we have, but how we use it. Focus your energy on what only you can do, and empower others in your life to do the rest. Founders know how to say “no” and clear their schedule.

Next Step:  Prioritize. What’s most important? Every week, write down your top 3 priorities. Ideally, these are priorities that will carry you toward your long-term goals.

3. Be less “bouncy ball.” 

We all have used excuses for not doing what we say we will do. Some of mine are, “I have more important things to do. I just don’t feel like it right now.” There is a reason why everyone is not doing what you’re doing. Leadership requires diligence and self awareness. Make it your job to know yourself (including your excuses). A good friend and executive coach said to me once, “be less bouncy ball”. If your tendency is to bounce all over the place with new, sparkly ideas (like, me) then it might be time to compost some of those excuses and get back to work. Slow, focused, consistent action still wins the race.

Next Step:  Identify your common excuses, then ditch them. Start to keep a list of your most frequently used excuses. Choose just two excuses you are not allowed to use this week. Write them down somewhere to remind yourself that you are greater than your excuses.

4. Celebrate.

Celebration is so important! What does celebration have to do with productivity? Well, what would it be like to consistently reach your goals with ease? What would you do?  When we say “time management” or “productivity” what we really mean is getting everything done by the time we said we would with ease.  You want to build in systems of acknowledgment and make success a habit. One tech start-up founder I know installed a gorgeous Chinese gong in his company’s office. They ring it every time his sales team closes a new contract. Another friend took herself on vacation after she signed two new clients.

Next Step:  Build in systems of acknowledgement. Choose one way you will celebrate your next success. And then do it. ❤
In this post: One Founders Productivity Tricks, published on the blog for WeWork, an awesome co-working space with locations in SOMAGolden Gate, and around the country.
Photo by Robin Harper/Invision for Parkwood Entertainment/AP Images