This material speaks to entrepreneurs out there, to leaders, heads of sales departments, and quite frankly to anybody responsible that a dollar amount is hit or an amount of revenue comes in. And not only that it comes in but keeps on coming. Time is money. Everyone knows that. But the secret to controlling what goes into our time is understanding time management, understanding the science behind human performance.

Time is Money - Old Watch and Coins

The way we spend our time is a very sensitive topic for me because I wrestled with it my first decade in business. I would say I won sometimes. Or this topic won. It’s the topic of my personal time and I don’t mean “my personal time” as in time away from the office. I mean the actual time I spend working; and I work all the time basically.

The bottom line is, I made a very stark high end 90 degree turn right around the year 2000. I realized this personal time is what I actually put in those hours, how I fill my calendar.

In my 24 years in business, I have tried different methods of using or chiseling out my time. Here is an overview of the three time management approaches I used to jam items into my schedule:

  1. Reactal management. You could do anything and everything, which can lead to people being efficient. This is the method I used in my early days and the method I will mainly focus on in this material.
  2. Causal management. This is where you physically cause things to happen. You figure out what your area of genius is, you find out the important things only you can do, and focus on it in the early parts of the morning. That needs to be done early because you know that the day can get away from you. That is why I recommend strongly that you get to work an hour earlier than you are currently doing. Assess your day. Get the difficult tasks done first and then do the rest of your day. Let it hit you in the face like it usually does.
  3. Schedule creation. This is the utopia or the highest level of causal management, which means you don’t get the important things done just in the morning. You stop the rest of your life and concentrate on what you want to achieve until you hit the numbers that you know you need to hit. This is when you discipline yourself to block off hours, maybe days sometimes, like I have done in the past. I would leave the country to write a book just so people knew that I was not touchable. That is the epitome of scheduled creation. Those are of course, the important things.

The difference between method 2 and method 3 is that method 2 allows you to do a little bit of what is truly important but then stay busy all day long. Confusing activity with accomplishment. Scheduled creation says you are going to do what you need to do until it is finished. It’s a mindset shift.

I will now focus on the first method, and in my next materials I am going to show how I went through all three phases to become a high achiever.

Reactal Management – The Anything and Everything Approach

In my early days, I would basically do or tackle anything in front of me. I would sell something. I might deliver something. I might even install something. I would do anything and everything. At any moment. Some people could stop and ask “hey, but isn’t that what all fledging, 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.

We definitely did not have the growth our first ten years like we are having our last 8 to 10 years.

So, in my first decade, my first method would have been defined as “the anything and everything approach”. I would literally do anything and everything. If we needed more money, I would go sell. If we needed manufacturing, I would build something. If we needed research and development, next week, I would find myself at a tradeshow studying the market. I just went with the wind. Wherever the wind blew, I went. And quite frankly, every day was different.

In essence, I lived in what is known as “reactal” management. I reacted. I managed from behind. I reacted to the checkbook and went and sold. I reacted to people yelling in the office, so I helped them build something fast.

No matter how big or how small a company is, there is a golden rule of your time.

Here is the golden rule of what determines what goes into your time – you can only do what only you can do. I often catch myself doing things somebody else could do, and just ask myself: “why am I doing this?” I have 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 am a people pleaser as a personality. I don’t like to delegate per se if I think I can get it done quickly. How many times have you told yourself this: “by the time I would teach somebody else how to do this, I could have done it myself”. Being the people pleaser I am, I don’t want to call someone and say “can you do this for me?” My body consciously 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 can forecast five, ten, twenty, hundred times growth if I was still filing paperwork. Or if I was still booking travel. Or if I was still doing something that anybody else could do.

Spend Your Time in Your Area of Genius

All activities in a business can be compartmentalized into the following pieces:

Selling something or someone,

Building or creating something,

Servicing something or someone.

What about management?

I am a manager. If you are a manager, you are selling someone, right? You are servicing someone. You are building teams and building teams is selling people on your concepts.

So, we are either selling something or someone. Or building or creating something. Or we are servicing something or someone. What that means is everybody according to Dan Kennedy. He and Dan Sullivan, from strategic coach, the major players of understanding time management, will all 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 are spending your time in other areas, it’s simply not going to produce. Your strength, your area of genius lies in either one of the three departments of business. So either your area of genius is in selling something or someone, or it’s building or creating something, or it’s servicing something or someone. That’s it. You can’t be in all three. This is not the Renaissance, where you are a master of all.

Me personally, I am into building and creating things. I can sell, I can service, I can build. The point is my true genius is creating new products. I love creating a podcast. I love writing a book. It is definitely my personal area of genius. It doesn’t mean I am a genius. It’s just what my strength is.

From Reactal to Casual Management

Around 2000, a gentlemen named Steve dropped me an atomic bomb. He said “Ken, I’ve assessed how you are operating, and you are in reactal managing. You need to switch over to the powerful method of running your calendar called Causal management”. What is that? I wondered. The answer is simple. You set your week. You don’t let your week set you. You cause things to happen.

This powerful technique of time management is the topic of my next material. I will try to explain why we do what we do and why we sometimes do not do the things we know we should do. I am hopefully going to provide it in a way that many of you can instantly become more productive. Stay tuned.

Ken Courtright