Principle #1 – Time management is a choice
No matter what anyone says, time management all comes down to one thing; controlling what you do next. That’s it! Good time management is simply your ability to choose between the important tasks and the unimportant tasks. To determine this, you must know your area of importance (AOI). All it takes to reveal your AOI is one question, regardless of what you do. The question is:
“What do I do that has the biggest impact on ________________”
If you are an employee, ask your boss “what do I do in my position that has the greatest positive impact on the company?”
It allows us to determine whether a task is important or not. It guides all our decisions throughout the day. If you develop this skill properly, you will learn how to control not only your work, but your life.
Principle #2 – There will always be more
Here is a hard truth: you will never get caught up. Ever.
Let’s test this theory for a moment. If you were able to cross everything off your to-do list for this week right now, do you think you would be able to come up with something else that you need to do? Perhaps work for the next week or the next month? Maybe something that you told yourself you weren’t going to do because you didn’t have the time? I guarantee you that you will always be able to think of more work for yourself to get done.
That magical day where you complete every single thing you want to do will never come. No matter how productive you become, there will always be more work that you could have done. The majority of people are already working at over 100% capacity at their jobs. There is and will always be something else.
This isn’t your fault; our brains have been programed to fill in that gap with busy work. This is why so many people have a hard time on long vacations. They are so used to filling in free time with work that once they our removed from that environment, their brains don’t know how to occupy the time and they start to feel anxious. Our society is slowly forgetting how to live outside of work!
Let go of the thought of catching up and enjoy the freedom that the realization brings. The good news is that although there is not enough time to do everything, there is enough time to do the most important things. That is the underlining principle of this book. Focusing your time on getting the right things done.
Principle #3 – Real work is the only work that matters
There is always enough time in any day to get your real work done.
What is real work?
Your real work comes from your AOI. Everything you do that relates to AOI is considered your real work. Anything else is pseudo work. Pseudo work is a low value task that contributes little or nothing to your AOI. Being able to distinguish between these two types of work is the key to becoming more productive and the best at what you do.
People who develop this skill will far exceed their peers. 99% of the population spends most of their time on pseudo work, producing a cataclysmic amount of inefficiency in the work place. We all have more time than we realize; we just have to learn how to manage it properly. Master this and you will have officially joined the 1%.
Now that we have reframed your view of time management and laid the foundation that this book is built on, let’s move on to three concepts you need to understand to increase your daily productivity. These are the critical areas that stop people from getting their real work done.