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

5 Things To Seriously Do When You Miss Your Goal


 

 5 Things To Seriously Do When You Miss Your Goal

I recently accomplished a big goal in my business. (Whoohoo! Thank you to everyone who supported me along the way!) I’m now working with 10 incredible 1-on-1 clients.  I set and missed this goal so many times in the past year. Each time I didn’t make it, I thought “I know this has worked for so many other people, but it’s really not going to work for me.” I felt like giving up.

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Sometimes, we don’t make our goals (it’s true). We have all experienced rejection letters, getting the answering machine (again), playing full out and not reaching out goal. We tend to say, “keep going!”.

But, that tune is overplayed.

In the last few years working with dozens of change-makers from all over the world (in community programs like Summer of Solutions, Generation Waking Up, and more) there are a few things I’ve noticed about people who are successful in their goals.

First, people who are successful all have wide, strong support circles. They have mentors who they call to ask questions. They surround themselves with others who are successful. Definitely ask for support from mentors in your field, but also ask for support from people in your life who you deeply respect. I have a few friends who I’ve asked to support me simply because I really admire how they are living their lives. I could name 5 people right now who know what I’m doing, know my goals, and would pick up the phone if I called.

Successful people invest in themselves.  I’m not just talking about enrolling in a new training program. Yes, successful people have hired lawyers, accountants, and sometimes coaches. But eating healthy food is an investment. Spending quality time with good friends is an investment. Meditating is an investment. Take yourself seriously. Imagine trying to grow a tree without any soil. It wouldn’t work very well, right? The environment of your life is the rich soil that allows you to grow.

I’ve noticed successful people know their values well, and, they also know the ins and outs of their worst critic’s argument. They seek out hard feedback and really listen. People are scared of negative feedback because they are afraid it will cause them to give up.  Let it refine you. Use it to strengthen your roots. When I was canvassing in college for clean energy, I learned every argument of why nuclear and coal were the way forward. You better believe this strengthened my firm stance for renewables.

Finally, successful people are disciplined with their resources (time, money, etc). You could go out and party all weekend. You could spend 3 hours messing around on Facebook. You could change your website font and tagline 187 times. You could! No one is stopping you. How are you willing to use the resources you have?

Here are 5 things to do to reach your goal next time:

  1. Rally your support team. Who’s in your life might be willing to cheer you on and support you 100%? Who would you love to have on your support team? (And, by when are you willing to ask them?)
  2. Create a thriving life ecology. Do you have morning routines? Daily rituals? Do you stop working at a certain time? Do you take at least one day off every weekend? Are you eating healthy and exercising?
  3. Ask for hard feedback. We never grow if all we hear is “you rock!”. Seek out challenging feedback. Ask boldly. Risk embarrassment. If you’re serious about your work, you better get to know the folks who think you’re completely off base.
  4. Track your hours. I hate doing this. I tend to make decisions based on how I feel, and sometimes this leads to a lot of creativity, and often it leads to a lot of procrastination. Try tracking how you spend every hour of every day just for one week. I guarantee this will be eye opening.  How many hours did you spend getting new business? Networking? Talking to potential clients? What produced the greatest results? How much time are you willing to allocate towards doing those tasks?
  5. Say “no”. You, just like everyone else, have the same number of hours in each day. Would it be okay to see that no one can possibly do everything you are trying to do? “No” is a powerful statement. It frees up energy for your “yes”. Your “no” might mean logging off Facebook for a week, or choosing not to respond to texts during the workday. Or, it might be not going to that weekend festival or not taking on that new, exciting project until this one is complete. It might be saying “no” to a certain person who has been asking for a lot of your attention.

The most important thing to recognize when you don’t meet a goal is that it usually has nothing to do with you or the goal. It simply means you didn’t do what you said you would do.

Are you willing to create some support systems? And, are you willing to make your goal this time around?

Love,

Mary