Successful People Understand the Importance of Time Management
Today, we’re going to be talking about the importance of Time Management. Isn’t that something that’s so important for every single one of us? Time Management. We all struggle with it, don’t we? I mean, the reality is this, when you look at time, you realize, time is the one thing we all have in common.
Now you guys know how I feel about blaming genetics, good luck, talent and stuff like that for your failures or claiming that other people are successful because they have those things. You know I don’t believe in any of that stuff. But let me tell you, people make the argument that someone is more talented in sports, someone is taller, bigger, this or that.
Let’s say education; someone could potentially be more intelligent than someone else. So your excuse could be, well, he scored higher on the test than I did because he’s more intelligent. Guess what, the one excuse nobody can ever give is the fact that someone has more time than you do.
The reality is this – every single person, every one of you listening to this podcast right now, we all have 24 hours in a day. We all have 168 hours in a week, that is a fact and it’s something that every one of us has in common.
Time is The One Thing We Have in Common
So when you look at some of the most successful people in the world, you look at people who have incredible family lives, you look at people who have absolutely trusted in business. You look at a guy like Bill Gates, the richest man in the world, the thing is this, he built Microsoft with no more hours in a day than you and I have. So the beauty of time is understanding that we all have the same amount of time.
It’s just a matter of what we choose to do with it. Do we choose to invest in our self, do we choose to invest in our education? Do we spend our time with the people we love? Do we spend that time having a good time? Do we spend that time building a business, do we spend that time putting out fires. Do we spend that time doing things that are going to make our future better but are painful today or do we spend that time doing things that make today better but could potentially harm our future?
Or do we spend that time learning and thinking about the things that could possibly make today better and make tomorrow better and make our future better? Right, we’re spending all this time. We’re all spending time, taking long showers, are we spending time getting dressed for hours, are we spending time sleeping? And how much time are we spending sleeping? How much time are we spending watching television? How much time are we spending passed out on the couch from having a long day at work?
How Are You Spending Your Time?
So all these things are things that have to do with spending time. But understand, the one thing we all have in common, no matter how successful or unsuccessful someone is, no matter how old or how young, no matter how intelligent or unintelligent, no matter how talented or untalented someone is, it does not matter. We all get the same amount of time. The question is, what are you doing with the amount of time that you have? Because your time is the same amount as my time.
So, let’s talk about time management and let us understand. For me, there’s one thing that the most important concept when it comes to time management, that is this concept of importance vs. urgency.
Time Management Strategies for Improving Your Time Management Skills
To understand the importance of time management, you need to understand importance vs. urgency. You see, when we’re doing things in life, we can choose to do things that are in this quadrant. A quadrant, by definition, has four little boxes.
If you think in your head of a time management quadrant the way that I see it, what you have is in the top row, you the things that are urgent. In the bottom row, you have things that are not urgent.
It’s the key to improving your time management skills. Then on the left side, you can think of the things that are important. And on the right side, things that are not important. Now, if you’re driving and cannot draw this thing out, don’t worry about it. Just listen to this, it will all make sense.
The card set is this, that everything we do is a combination of importance and urgency. And there are four options when you put these things together. Simple math, you have things that are:
- Important and Urgent
- Important, Not Urgent
- Urgent, Not Important
- Not Urgent, Not Important
So typically, when I draw this quadrant out, and again as you listen to this you may not quickly get the visual of this, it doesn’t matter. Look at those four options, a combination of important, not important, urgent, not urgent.
When I ask crowds, I say, “Okay, where do you think you should spend most of your time?” In every single crowd I’ve ever been in, hundreds of thousands of people, the answers are always that by far the most common answer is, well you should spend your time doing things that are important and are also urgent.
Right? Well, here’s the problem. It turns out that if you spend your time doing things that are important and are urgent, you’re essentially guaranteed failure in life. And the problem is, most people spend their lives doing things that are urgent and important. Now you say, Arman, but what are you going to do with things that are important and urgent?
Defining Importance and Urgency
Well first, let’s define importance and let’s define urgency. Important is something that you got to get done in order for you to get to the next level. Important things, right? Like, for example, working out is important. Focusing on your growth is important, spending time with your family is important, spending time with friends is important. Having fun is important. Doing things in your business, like for example looking at your financials on a monthly basis or more, that’s important. Building systems within your business, that’s important. Telling the person you love them, that’s important.
Urgent things are things that must happen now. Like for example, you have a business and you haven’t been looking at your financials. Urgent things like for example, you got to make a bank deposit. You’ve got an employee that has broken a policy or system and as a result, he or she is hurt and someone’s got to do something about that. Or you have an employee who quits on you and now you got to go hire someone to replace them or you got to fire an employee who didn’t do the job.
Or you have an upset customer because someone didn’t provide good customer service to them. See what all these things have in common is something very, very important and that is that anything that is urgent today at some point used to be important but it was not urgent.
Meaning, they were something you could’ve done that at some point in your past was important but not urgent yet. And by you not doing that task, by you not following through that thing that was important but not yet urgent, now you have to put out a fire.
An Example to Help You Understand the Importance of Time Management
See, that’s the critical thing of time management that you don’t understand. And when you understand that concept, everything else starts to come together. The example I love to give with this is, look you’re sitting at home, and God forbid you to have a heart attack, is it important to get to the hospital?
Yes. Is it urgent to get to the hospital? Yes. In fact, you have an ambulance that could come pick you up, and some of them have to write ‘urgent’ right on the side of it. And then when you get to the emergency room or urgent care, obviously important and urgent.
But the question is this, is that heart attack something that was always urgent? No. See, six months ago, you could have invested in doing things that were important, not urgent. It wasn’t urgent to go to the gym. It wasn’t urgent to focus on eating less and eating healthier. It wasn’t urgent yet but it was important. But see, you didn’t do that important thing. You didn’t go to the gym because at that time what was more urgent was, for example, going to work.
What was more urgent was doing something else that you thought was going to be more important? And see, here’s what we do our language is more important here. So if you’re not a native speaker of English, some of these may not necessarily make sense to you.
But if you take these words, go look at the definition, and it will make a lot of sense. Assuming most of you are people who speak English very well, here’s what we do. We take things that are urgent and they are not important. But we call them important.
So we say, I got to go to the hospital because it’s important. No, it’s not, it’s urgent. I mean yes, it is important as well as urgent. But see we take things that we’re doing right now because they are so urgent, but then we convince ourselves that the reason we’re doing this is that it’s important. We label them as important. Well, guess what, yes it is important to get to work, to put out that fire.
It is important to get to the hospital. It is important to do these things. But the reality of that is, the reason you’re doing it is that it’s urgent. So what if, every single day, you focus on doing important things. Because the reality is this, if you do important things today that are not yet urgent, you’re going to have fewer urgent things to do in the future.
When I teach this concept to people, they try it. In the first place they realize that an issue is this, they try to do things that are important and not urgent yet. And what they realize is they don’t have enough time in the day.
Becoming Better at Managing Your Time is Hard Work
You’re absolutely right. Because today you have to do a bunch of urgent things. As you’re listening to this podcast, in the next 24 hours, you have a bunch of urgent things you have to do. And those urgent things are almost certainly going to take up your day. So what are you going to do, how are you going to make these important things done? Well guess what, that’s the problem with time management, is that today you’re going to do important things.
You have to understand that the first few days, the first few weeks of switching to the system of doing the important and not the urgent, is very, very taxing on you because you’re going to have to create more hours in a day.
You’re going to have to wake up earlier, you’re going to have to be more efficient, you’re going to have to cut out the TV, you are going to have to cut out the time that you waste usually during the day, and you’re going to have to, unfortunately, make sacrifices.
Because today you have to do not only do the urgent things that are coming up because last week and yesterday and the month before and last year, you didn’t take care of the important things.
But what you also have to do is now you have to do the important things that are going to help you in the future. But think about this, if today you knock out your urgent things but you can also knock out five important things. Or hey, maybe, three important things.
Or heck, sometimes when I coach people I say, do one important thing today that is not yet urgent. And I don’t mean something that you do every day. So if you’re like me who works out every day, don’t be asking yourself and say ‘well today, I’m going to work out’.
Time Management Strategies – Do One Thing That is Important, But Not Yet Urgent
That’s something you’re doing already. Do one thing that is important and not urgent yet. This is what those who understand the importance of time management do. That you wouldn’t have normally done. Now, if you’re really good, do two. If you’re a freaking superstar, do three. If you’re a crazy rock star who kills it and you got some extra time, do five. But you don’t need to do five, one, two or three is more than enough.
All I need you do to is get your brain in the place where every day it’s doing something that’s important but not urgent yet. And by doing that, what you’re going to do is if you do three important things today that are not yet urgent, one of those might possibly save you some time tomorrow from doing urgent things.
Another one might save you some time next week, and another one may save you some time two months from now.
But here’s what I want you to realize, when tomorrow comes around, you’ve got one less urgent things to do. And the thing is urgent things typically make more time because they are messier. It takes a lot less time to work out for 25 minutes and a lot more time to deal with a heart attack.
For one, you may be in the hospital for a week. Second, you might have weeks and weeks or months of your life that are ruined because of a heart attack. God forbid, people die from this stuff. There’s permanent damage to your body. Forget putting all that stuff aside.
Let’s say you lose a month of your life, how does that compare to 25 minutes a day? You see, when you don’t do the important things, the urgent things weigh a lot more of your time. If you’re checking your company’s financials and you have financial systems set in place, now you don’t have to make those urgent deposits. Now you don’t have to do those things where you’re managing cash flow last second because you have systems in place to do those things.
If you have a sales funnel set up within your business that’s bringing customers in on a regular basis, you don’t have to do those urgent things like scrambling last second. So it’s the importance versus the urgency.
But here’s what I want you to understand if you knock out three important things each day, here’s what will happen. Let’s assume, one of those is for tomorrow, one of those will be an urgent thing tomorrow, one will be an urgent thing next week and one will be an urgent thing next month. Here’s where this becomes incredibly powerful> Now tomorrow comes around and let’s say you normally have 10 urgent things to do.
Build Positive Momentum by Doing More and More of These Tasks
Now, of course, we all have different numbers and probably a lot more than 10, but let’s say you have 10, now keep in mind you’ve now knocked one of those out which means you technically have nine urgent things to do. This means that now, not only you can do three important things today but technically you could do four. You could get four important things done today instead of three.
Or if the only way you could get three important things done today before, was by missing out on sleep or skipping time with family or something else that you love to do. Well, guess what, now you can get three important things done and you can get an extra little bit of sleep as well.
But here’s what happens, as you get to next week, next Tuesday let’s say rolls around and next Tuesday, here’s the crazy part, remember one of the things you did on day one affected this week, well guess what, you’ve actually knocked out two urgent things for this week. Why? Because you did something Monday that knocked out an urgent thing.
But then last week, there’s some random thing that you did that knocked out something today. So today, instead of 10 urgent things, you only have 8. Holy cow! Now we can sleep a little bit more or now we can get one more important thing done.
But see Wednesday comes around and again the same thing, yesterday you knocked out one of the urgent things and last week you knocked something out that was going to come up urgent. And for three or four weeks this is the way it works, and then suddenly the magical fifth week comes around.
And in that fifth week, it’s incredible, you have not been doing this for 4 or 5 weeks. You’re focused on doing important things; knocking out three important things a day. And guess what, it’s the fifth week of this thing and suddenly a day comes along let’s say, to Tuesday or Wednesday, that Wednesday comes along and now there’s something you knocked out yesterday, there’s something you knocked out last week and there’s something you knocked out last month that would have taken your time today.
So now on this day for the first time, you can go back to getting as much sleep as you like or spending the time with your family or doing the things that you love.
By the way some of you, the important things you’re not doing have to do with the family. So what it may mean for you is now you can spend your time working. Whatever the balance between importance and urgency is. Check it out, how cool is that! Because you’re still now knocking things out in the future.
A Couple Months of Positive Momentum Will Change Your Relationship With Time
So now the second month comes around, or the third month comes around or the fourth month comes around and suddenly every day you’ve got three less urgent things coming up.
And some of you are going to say; you know what I’m going to invest in my future. And you now do five important things instead of three. And now you’re knocking out two things for tomorrow, and knocking out two things for next week, and one thing for next month. And check out what happens, and now tomorrow comes around, and you are down to doing seven urgent things and now you’ve got one more knocked out.
So you’re down to six. By next week, you knocked out two yesterday, you knocked out two last week and you knocked out one last month. So now you’re literally left with five urgent things instead of ten.
Now another month or two goes by, and now you’re literally dealing with five urgent things a day and you’re knocking out five important things. And you say, ‘Okay, I’m going to make another push in my life. And I’m going to go and I’m going to get up and four o’clock in the morning instead of five o’clock or whatever. I’m going to knock out one important thing’. So now you’re knocking out six important things today and for a while, some areas in your life suffer.
Like you don’t get as much sleep, or you don’t get to watch as much TV or whatever else you like to waste your time doing. So you’re doing this and you make this investment of time and the next thing you know a couple of months goes by and now the day comes around where you have six things already knocked out.
Of course, I get it, life isn’t about ten urgent things a day. That’s not the way it works but the concept applies. It doesn’t matter, the concept applies beautifully. Because imagine now, two of the urgent things got knocked out yesterday, two got knocked out last week and two got knocked out last month. And now six things that you normally have to do today aren’t there. And so you only happen to do four random urgent things that are putting out fires and six things that you do are now investing in your future. That’s what I want you to realize.
There’s a balance to achieve as you knock out the important things. Now you don’t have to sacrifice sleep and time doing the things that you love so that you can get more important things done. But see most people make the mistake of not investing in it at the beginning.
There is no Such Thing as a Simple Time Management Tool
Like I tell people, let’s go on a 21-day challenge to invest in our futures. And I get on the challenge and I start waking up at three o’clock in the morning and they give up after 3 or 4 days. And say ‘Arman, but I’m tired. This doesn’t work for me.’ Well, of course, it doesn’t work for you, I’m not telling you to get up at 3’oclock in the morning for the rest of your life. Let’s do it for 21 days and invest in our future.
That’s the beauty of this. But all of you here’s what you’re looking for when you saw the episode title, Time Management, I know what happened.
Everybody on this was like, ‘Oh my God, this is amazing. Arman is going to solve all my time management problems. And I’m going to give you some formula and as of tomorrow knocks everything out. And I’m going to have so much more time.’ See, that’s the problem with time management.
The people who try to fake you and give you fake time management tools, that’s exactly what they give you. They give you these tools that as of tomorrow, you magically more time in a day. It doesn’t work that way.
True time management means for the next few days, for the next few weeks, for possibly the next few months, you’re going to have way more stuff to do than you’ve ever had to do before. You may feel really overwhelmed. But if you know that, that overwhelm is something you’re doing because you’re investing in your future, that’s what’s going to make it all work.
So the question for you is this, did you turn on this podcast because you want to have an easy time tomorrow? Or did you turn on this podcast because you want to learn time management tools or life management tools that are going to allow you to manage your time in such a way that for the rest of your life you get the results that you want without having to sacrifice the things that you love?
I would assume that most of you want the latter. And if that’s what you want, then this is the secret to it. So now you understand the difference between importance and urgency and you understand that you have to invest in the important things now. So here’s the next thing, how do you get yourself to take action?
Remember guys, I’m a Neuroscientist. So everything I think about and everything I teach about Business, Health, Fitness, Wealth, whatever it is, Relationships, I’m always thinking how does this relate to the human mind. Because see, I can tell you to go do important things in your life, like ‘yeah, that sounds great.’
But guess what, you’re going to turn off this podcast and you’re going to try to do something important and your brains going to go, ‘No, I really don’t want to do this.’ So here’s the trick to it, the trick is to do this thing called “Creating Fake Urgency.” And creating fake urgency is a critical part of making sure that you set your mind and your brain up to make sure you do the important things.
Now here’s something I’m going to do to you that I’ve never done to you before, I’m going to tell you that in order for you to get the secret sauce, you’re going to have to tune in to my next podcast episode. And what I’m going to talk to you about in this next podcast episode, is I’m going to teach you about how to create fake urgency.
I’m also going to talk to you about stress and how you can utilize stress to your advantage instead of your disadvantage. And then I’m going to talk to you about the secret formula of using pain and pleasure to teach your mind of not spend your time doing urgent things and to actually let some urgent things fall through the cracks.
And then what I’m going to tell you about is, I’m going to do this thing that’s going to scare the heck out of you and because of my knowledge of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), I’m going to put some thoughts in your head that are going to make it very scary for you when you’re spending time in urgency.
And I’m going to teach you what you do to program yourself so you don’t spend time doing the urgent things now that you know how important those are. So tune in to my next podcast episode when I talk to you about how to take these things that I talked about today and how to implement them in your everyday life and in your everyday business.
Hey I love you all and I want you to go out there, have an incredible day and always lead with your heart.