Time Management Magic: How To Get More Done Every Day

Time Management Magic: How To Get More Done Every Day and Move From Surviving to Thriving is written by Lee Cockerell, retired Senior Operating Executive of Walt Disney World Resorts. In his book, he shares the time management lessons he learned in his executive career and now teaches in his Time/Life Management seminars. It’s a short book but full of useful tips.

We're always looking for ways to improve our time management skills so that we have more white space in our lives. Today, I'm sharing three lessons I learned from reading Time Management Magic.

Time management magic. How to get more done.

Lesson 1—Schedule Your Priorities

If your priorities have become habits and get done without reminders, you’re in great shape. But if you are not keeping up with your priorities, you need to put them into your schedule. For example, exercise is something we know we need to do. And if you regularly work out at 6:00 am every day, you don’t need to schedule your workout time; you already do it. But if exercise is a priority and you are not making time for it, you need to block it out on your schedule—just like any other appointment. Every day there should be a specific time slot for you to go to the gym, go for a run, whatever your workout routine is. Making an appointment for yourself and writing it down will keep you accountable. And scheduling your priorities can work for any area of your life—date night with your partner, one-on-one time with your children, time with friends. In the book, Cockerell uses an example of scheduling a weekly phone call to his mother.

Lesson 2—Use checklists, systems, and procedures

“…You can’t have a successful organization if you are plagued by disorganization and lack of consistent performance.”

Whether you are running a one-person side hustle, maintaining a household, or are the CEO of a major organization, checklists and procedures can make life less complicated. If you are doing a home renovation project, you don’t have the drywall guy come out to hang drywall if the plumber hasn’t finished with the pipes. There’s a procedure you follow when doing home renovations. If you are launching a new product in your business, you likely have a checklist of all the tasks involved. That checklist keeps you organized so you can have a successful launch. There’s even a system for skincare. You don’t put on night time moisturizer until you wash off the day’s makeup. Checklists, systems, procedures—they keep you organized so life runs a bit more smoothly. 

{Read my post 12 Checklists That Will Make Life Easier here.}

Lesson 3—Use Signifiers On Your To Do List

Am I the only one who will make a list to make a list? I’ll write down all the things I need to get done and then rewrite the list so that the number one thing is on the top and the last task is on the bottom. It works, but I’m writing the list twice which it’s not a good use of my time.

Instead what I should be doing is making a list and then using signifiers to show me what is urgent vs. what is necessary vs. what can wait. The following what a list might look like using Lee’s signifiers. (You could use different signifiers.)

A-2 write post
*draft sequence
B-1 send email
B-4 book flight
A-1 design opt-in
B-2 order math
B-3 make appointment
C-1 pick up dry-cleaning 

Things marked by an asterisk are urgent and must get done. Things designated by an A are necessary, A-1 being more vital than A-4. Tasks denoted with a B are important, again B-1 being of higher importance than B-4, but all Bs are less urgent than the As. The Cs are of limited value. They can be put off or even handled by someone else. 

What I love about this idea is that it eliminates the need to write your list in a specific order. You write down what needs to be done and get it out of your head. Then you add signifiers to show what should be done first, second, and so on. 

The key will be not to let it overwhelm you. If you spend five minutes trying to decide if a task should be an A-1 or an A-2, you’re going to exasperate yourself. And you’re not saving any time. Just pick one and move on. Or maybe it would be easier for you not to use signifiers. Any time management system should be helpful, not a hindrance. 

Other Key Ideas From Time Management Magic:

“Plan each day as diligently as you plan your vacations…Think of it [your plan] as a GPS or a map: without it, you will not get to where you want to go.”

“Efficient is being able to get things done. Effective is doing the right things in the right order, and making sure you address everything that is urgent, vital, and important, in every part of your life.”

“Time/life management is probably the most crucial skill a person needs to be successful and happy.”

While I usually suggest you buy the books I talk about, I feel like Time Management Magic is a little pricey for its content. Brand new, it’s $15.99 for 137 pages. If you are interested in reading it, try getting it through your library or inter-library loan. The Kindle edition is $7.39 which is more reasonable, but I am partial to owning physical books. (Prices at the time of this posting.)

What are your favorite time management tricks? Or what is your favorite book about time management? Please let me know in the comments. I’m always looking to add to my TBR list.
 

Who Else Wants To Create Work That Lasts?

Who Else Wants To Create Work That Lasts?

We all want to create work that lasts. Work that stands out and gets noticed. Work that’s read, shared, talked about, and purchased. But there is a lot of noise out there. How do you get noticed? And how do you ensure that your work keeps selling? That people come back to you again and again? That buyers become part of your 1000 True Fans?

Read More

Book Review: The Power of Broke

By: Daymond John with Daniel Paisner

Book Review: The Power of Broke || One Book Blog

You are likely familiar with Daymond John from his position as one of the sharks on the tv show Shark Tank. The Power of Broke is his latest book and focuses on how having no money but being very hungry and determined to succeed can put you ahead of the person who has access to all the resources.

Daymond opens with what he calls "SHARK Points. 

  • Set a goal.
  • Homework. Do yours.
  • Adore what you do.
  • Remember, you are the brand.
  • Keep swimming.

Then he introduces you to several different entrepreneurs operating different kinds of businesses and shows you how they used other assets such as time, hard work, personality, etc to compensate for a lack of cold, hard cash to invest in their business.

One quote from Rob Dyrdek resonated with me because I love observation & research. Rob says, "I learned by watching other people, people I admire." And "It doesn't cost you anything to do a whole bunch of research," he says, "so go ahead and do it. Everything you need to know, it's out there. Tap into it."

The book includes notes called Power Facts. They are motivational details such as, "Coca-Cola sold just 25 bottles in its first year of operation." Or "Walt Disney was turned down 302 times before getting financing for Walt Disney World." Now how many of us would've quit well before 20 rejections, let alone 300? Right? And that's one of the points of the book—Keep going. Keep trying. A lack of money should not prevent you from succeeding.

The book also includes some snippets from Shark Tank. Things that contestants did right, some things they did wrong.

Daymond wraps up the book with 8 Broke Power Principles that are "pulled from the lives of the trailblazing individuals I've just introduced to you."

It's not my favorite business book. It's not a book that I will reread. But part of that might be because I'm not running a product-based business, so much of what I read didn't apply. And the things that did apply, I've already heard elsewhere. If, however, you are a fan of the show, or of Daymond, it is a well-written book and you will likely enjoy it for the stories.

Daymond's book is available at Amazon.

I received this book for free from Crown Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review—Spark: How to Lead Yourself and Others to Greater Success

By: Angie Morgan, Courtney Lynch, and Sean Lynch

“Sparks are people who recognize that they don’t have to accept what’s given to them…A Spark is also a moment when you realize that you have the ability to be a part of the solution you seek…When Sparks are ignited, they’re a catalyst for personal and organizational change…Sparks are not defined by the place they hold on an organizational chart…Sparks are essential to the growth of any organization…Becoming a Spark is a choice…”

The authors believe that leaders are not born but made and in Spark, they lead you through the process of becoming a leader, showing you the traits you need to cultivate in order to be effective. And even if your title doesn’t reflect a leadership role, you can still be a leader. “A certificate or degree doesn’t make you a leader. You make you a leader.”

Spark contains an introduction, eight chapters, and a conclusion. It's a quick read (about 200 pages) but has great content that makes it a book you could to refer to again and again. At the end of each chapter the authors have listed “Spark Actions” which aren’t necessarily actions in a to-do sense, but instead things to consider such as “Understand the expectations others have for you—other people often have unspoken standards they’re measuring your performance against.”

As the authors are all former military officers, Spark has a strong military influence and many of the examples they use include stories from their military careers.

Two things I really liked about the book:

Chapter 2 spends time encouraging you to think about your values. What does that have to do with becoming a leader? If you are clear on what what is important to you, when you are in a position of having to make difficult choices, it’s easier to make the right one. “…If you’re not sure of what you value, you’re in a vulnerable place.”

The other thing that struck me about the book was how much of it applied to parenting as well as business. To maintain your credibility in a business relationship, you have to do what you say you will do. To be credible as a parent, your kids will expect you to do what you say you’ll do. There are further applications in the book so if you are a parent, I would encourage you to read Spark for that reason alone. Implementing the leadership ideals in the book would help us all be better parents.

 

Book Review-Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future

Book Review-Reinventing You || Words with Jennifer

There are many reasons why we might need to reinvent ourselves:

  • New phase in life
  • Job layoff
  • To move up within a company
  • To transition to a new field

Reinventing You by Dorie Clark isn't about turning yourself into a supermodel or a NFL quarterback. It is about making a plan to get to where you want to be and once you are there, making sure that everyone knows what you have to offer.

As I mentioned in my review of The Gig Economy, the era of working hard and being good at your job in no longer enough. We're all likely to reach a point in time where we have to reinvent ourselves in order to further our careers or to start a new career. Reinventing You shows us how take control and live strategically now that the "era of gold watches and lifetime employment is over."

It's an easy book to read with a lot of ideas for implementation. Chapter 1 discusses the "why" of reinvention. Chapters 2-11 talk about the "hows" of reinvention. And an epilogue wraps up the book. The are also 2 appendices at the end. Appendix A is a Reinvention Self-Assessment and Appendix B includes book discussion questions that could be used in a book club setting.

Book Review-Reinventing You || Words with Jennifer

There was one big surprise for me in the book. Clark talks about how "former colleagues may wonder how an oceanographer can become an investment banker or how a tennis player can become a sales vice president." The idea that someone would question how it's possible for you to embark on a new career so different from your old one really blew my mind. Maybe it's because I have a creative mindset and creative mentors who work nontraditional careers but it would never occur to me that someone couldn't go from being a mechanic to being a banker or from being a banker to running a nonprofit or to go from selling houses to being an oceanographer. I don't know; it's just a diametrical idea to me. I'd love to hear Dorie or someone else with experience expound on it.

Do you have plans to reinvent yourself, start a new career, find a new path? Do you have a plan for your reinvention? I'd love to hear about it. Let me know in the comments.

Book Review-The Gig Economy

The Gig Economy by Diane mulcahy. What you need to know to succeed and thrive in the gig economy.

“My father had one job in his lifetime, I will have six jobs in my lifetime, and my children will have six jobs at the same time.”—Robin Chase, founder of Zipcar.  This is the quote that opens a chapter in The Gig Economy. It does an great job of describing the ideas of The Gig Economy.

I am so enthusiastic about this book because I loved it. The idea that we can piece together a lifestyle that is designed by us, leaving us time for our interests and passions is so appealing. It gives me the illusion of control—multiple streams of income, various opportunities to make money, not being dependent on any one business or person for a paycheck. It’s ideal for a control freak like myself. Multiple opportunities are open to me and I’m the only one standing in my way of designing the life I want. 

So many good things to take notes on!

So many good things to take notes on!

The traditional idea of working for one company or in one field for most of our adult lives no longer applies. More and more businesses are turning to freelancers or outsourcing work that needs to be done. The job market is changing and we can either be afraid of it or we can embrace the opportunities that are becoming available to us. The Gig Economy show us how we can take advantage of these possibilities.

What is The Gig Economy? It includes “consulting and contracting arrangements, part-time jobs, temp assignments, freelancing, self-employment, side gigs, and on-demand work through platforms like Upward and Task Rabbit.”

The author says there are 10 rules to succeeding in The Gig Economy and those rules are covered in three sections of the book— “Getting Better Work”, “Taking More Time Off,” and “Financing the Life You Want.” The book closes with the section “The future Gig Economy.”

A lot of the book has to do with changing your mindset; 

  • How you think about success-What is important to you? What are your priorities? What are your values? What do you want your family life to look like? Success doesn’t have to be measured by the traditional ideas of income and material accumulation.

 

  • How you think about money—The lower you can keep your fixed costs, the most income security you’ve created for yourself, simply by needing less money to maintain your lifestyle. Is it worth working X amount of hours to pay for a particular gadget? If so, there’s nothing wrong with that. “In the end, a good financial plan isn’t about reducing your spending per se; it’s about making sure that you spend what you have in a way that is meaningful to you.”

 

  • How you think about time off—do you want to have a large block of free time in your 70s when your health may or may not allow you to do the things you want to do? Or would you prefer to spread out that time off, taking off a couple months between gigs to travel, volunteer, write that book that you’ve always wanted to write? And in the end, it’s not likely many of us are going to be able to retire in the way we’ve seen our grandparents or parents retire.

I think the biggest challenge for people will be understanding that this new economy in which we find ourselves doesn’t allow for coasting. We have to always be thinking about creating “income security, not job security.” We have to thinking about diversifying our skills, our network, our knowledge. The book quotes author Dorie Clark, saying, “Many people don’t want to deal with the hustle of a permanent career campaign.” But that’s our reality now. The author calls it the “hustling class”, always looking ahead for changes, skills that are in demand, what we can offer.

I urge everyone to read The Gig Economy. I read a library copy but ordered my own copy because I’m going to have my high-school aged child read it. It will benefit her to understand the changing job market and help her make wise career decisions.