Looking For More Time

elitefts™ Sunday edition

“Up until I was about 28, I’d thought that everything I did was in preparation for my real life, which I’d start at some point in the future. Then, one day I realized that I was already living my real life, that I had been since I was born, and there wasn’t any such thing as prep time for it. I’d missed the starting gun.” – Roger Waters

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day


You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way


Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town


Waiting for someone or something to show you the way


– Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon "Time"

The Biggest Trick

I received several questions in regards to planning, organization and time management and plan to write about these topics in more detail in future columns. For now, let me state that the biggest trick to making this work is to look at it the same way you would a training program. In powerlifting, your core objective is to get a bigger squat, bench and deadlift. You have two ways to do this. You can either "train" the lifts or "build" the lifts. I'm NOT a fan of training the lift because this is usually just going through the motions and doesn’t take into account other factors that can lead to bigger lifts. I'm more a fan of building the lift by looking for those items that correlate to bigger lifts and focus on making those better. This also allows for one to bring up weaknesses while taking advantages of strengths. This is done in powerlifting by using special exercises that you know correlate and drive the main lifts. For example, my floor press was always 90 percent of my best bench. I spent my time building the floor press with different waves, supplemental movements and accessories that focused on prehab, rehab and conditioning. In business, one objective may be to increase gross sales. As with training, you can either try to sell more, or build the sale process by looking for those things that have a direct correlation to larger sales. Once these items are determined, you go to work developing people, systems and networks to get them moving in the right direction. Training fails because people focus TOO much on the main objective and not enough on those items that make that objective move forward. Business as well fails because people focus TOO much on the main objective and not those things that help achieve that objective.

The End Game

The end game (main objective) is never the route to success. It is finding those things that affect it, anticipating what may or may not happen and making the decision to take action building the right systems, people and networks. The key words here are DECISION and ACTION. There are reasons why successful coaches, athletes, and business executives are never afraid to share their “secrets.” First, there are no “secrets” and second, the VERY large majority of readers will NEVER make the decision to take constant action to make their objectives come true. They may get “motivated” and get a bunch of work done and make progress. But, as soon as they hit a road block, out goes the motivation and they quit or fail. Motivation is temporary and totally different from deciding to do something. If you truly decide, you cut off all other options except success in what you're doing and taking the hits is just part of the process. If you rely on motivation, you will get some stuff done, but when you look back 5, 10 or 15 years, you'll wonder what the hell happened and where all the time went.

Tired of lying in the sunshine Staying home to watch the rain And you are young and life is long And there is time to kill today And then one day you find 10 years have got behind you No one told you when to run You missed the starting gun. And you run, and you run to catch up with the sun, but it's sinking Racing around to come up behind you again The sun is the same in a relative way, but you're older Shorter of breath and one day closer to death. – Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon "Time"

With your own time management, you need to make time for those things that will build your main objectives...or you will be history. I firmly believe you should have main objectives for each role of your life. I can’t tell you what these roles should be, as mine will be different than yours and they change over time. Some examples may be Coach, Husband, Father, Faith, Training, Education, Manager, Clerk, etc. The objective is to become the BEST you can be at each of these roles. I will say from personal experience, if you get over five main roles, you have too much on your plate and something will suffer and you won't be great at anything. It is also important to note change is consistent and never ending. If you think what worked for you last quarter or last year will work this year, you are out of your mind. You need to have time to focus on those things that will make your objectives get better. If you stay at the same level you are now in ANY of your roles, change will eat you alive. If you're in a relationship and don’t work at it, you WILL grow apart. If you have a business and don’t work on gaining a bigger market share, you WILL go out of business. If you are a lifter and not working on making your lifts better, you WILL get hurt or quit the sport. If you're a parent and don’t make time for your children, there WILL be issues later down the road. While we can’t predict anything in life, we certainty can anticipate the good, bad and ugly and make this part of our planning process. This will reduce problems and the stress of most minor things, allowing you to completely focus on the bigger issues when they do come.

A Waste of Time

I'm willing to bet most of you waste MUCH more time than you think you do and if just half of that was spent doing the things you need to do to get better (usually the same things you don't like to do), you'd be shocked at the difference. However, being complacent and content is much easier than actually expanding your own view, education and resolve. At the end of each day, you need to ask yourself one very real question and answer it honestly. Did what you do today move you closer to your objective, maintain your current status or move you backwards? If you're not doing something or spending time moving toward improving your objectives, then you can't bitch when they don't happen.

Every year is getting shorter Never seem to find the time Plans that either come to naught Or half a page of scribbled lines Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way The time is gone The song is over Thought I'd something more to say. – Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon "Time"

Planning Tips

Here are some tips I use to help with basic daily planning: I used several different planning systems but have found a way to get them to all work together. I use Toodledo to keep track of my "Matter To-Do" list. This is a giant list of ideas and stuff that needs to be done. This is broken down by role and context. This is NOT used for anything else except collecting the ideas, to do’s and delegations. It's very easy for me to use because I can enter the data into my phone, or any computer I'm working on. When I'm busy, it's SO much easier to just type and post, rather than trying to “remember,” looking for a Post-it, or pulling my planner out. Another program I use is Basecamp. This is used for major projects that involve many steps and people. This isn't used for my to do list, other than what I need to do for each project. This does, however, let me see what's being done with each project and schedule delegations to keep each project moving forward. I also use Evernote to keep track of notesthat deal with specific projects I'm working on that I may need quick access to. I also have access to this at all times, from every device I own. Some examples of what is in there now are:

        1. Passwords


      • Legal



      • Article Ideas



      • Staffing Prospects



      • Sales Ideas



      •  Codes



      • Leadership Notes


I have over 50 notebooks in there, but I know what is in there and can access it within seconds. Much of this column is being pulled from the “Articles Ideas” notebook that contains e-mails, articles, Q&A questions, my own notes, and articles I begin to write, but run dry before they are completed. My e-mail inbox is also a planning and organization tool for me. It's VERY rare that I have more than 15 e-mails in my inbox at one time. I shouldn't have five inboxes I manage, but this rule is the same for all of them. What I do have are folders within each one to organize the mail I do have. The first rule is that every e-mail does not need a replay. Most e-mails I get are notices, updates, CC or FYI’s. I also have a large percentage of e-mails that I redirect to other staff members. What I'm left with, will be filed on one of MANY folders, or answered when I get the time. If there are e-mails that I know I'll need to refer to later, they get placed in Evernote. If it's a general idea that might be cool, it will get copied and pasted to Toodledo. While this all sounds complicated, it's SIMPLE and takes very little to no time and can be managed mobile. The last aspect of my planning process is the use of an old-school planner. I tried to use almost every digital, online and phone planning system I could find and none of them worked as well for me as a standard Franklin Covey planner. This is how I personally use it:

        • I keep all of the month tabs in my planner, but I only keep three months of pages (last month, current and next month). I do this so that I can quickly look and see how many weeks there are left until a specific deadline.


      • For long-term planning, I stick one blank page between each month tab. On this page, I put the long-term general stuff I know will happen in that month. For me, these are things like the annual equipment sale, staff reviews, when to start the Make-A-Wish manual, major promotions, when I start a diet phase, etc. These are all things that usually happen every year, but all take a lot of time (projects). If you forget by just one month, you're screwed and rushing everything to get it done. For example, last year I forgot to schedule a semi-major project and before I realized I forgot, we were one month behind. This year, it IS on in the planner and it’s also one month sooner, as it ended up taking longer than expected.



      • For the current month, I will schedule deadlines one week in advance, based off the last month and what I see on the blank page (I'm adding to these blank pages all the time). When I schedule the current month, I do so using my master list from Toodledo. I make lists for each role and write in the TOP THREE objectives that HAVE to be done that month – these will be marked as "A" items. I then stick in the other stuff that I'd like to get done that month, but these are noted as "B" and "C" items. I also have a list of "D" items. When these are planned, they're done so while reviewing Evernote, Toodledo and Basecamp, as well as the “blank” page (that isn’t blank by the time I get to the month). I devote half a day to this phase. This is the master guide for the entire month, so it takes time to really think about what is truly important compared to the things I'd like to do. It also takes time to think about what realistic time frames it takes to accomplish each task and who will need to be involved to help move it forward. When this is done, it is what drives my business and life for the next month.



      • Every Sunday, I plan the week by looking at the list and sticking items into each daily list. I don't add too much, because then it would never get done. The critical thing is to plug in the A items first and make sure they get done. The others can fall in whenever you want them.



      • As for appointments with set times, I mostly use my phone for this because it will remind me. On Sunday, I look at what is on my phone and move those appointments to the daily pages. My training always gets scheduled first. Not because of importance, but because it's easy for me to slide it up or back an hour. After my appointments and training are in, I schedule "A" time. For me, this is one block of time each day (usually 6–8: 30 AM), when I only work on "A" items. During this time, my e-mail is off and my headphones are on. I use the headphones because I have some staff that come in at 6:30AM, and they know that when my headphones are on, I'm locked into whatever I'm doing and to leave me alone. While I can have "A" time and use the headphones between 9AM-5PM, there's just too much going on in the office that my focus isn't the same (unless we are really slow). I also have back up "A" time between 9:30PM and midnight, in case I didn't get it done in the morning. Having the back up "A" time is extremely important to schedule and I feel one of the biggest mistakes people use when trying to schedule high priority work. You need to know this work HAS to get done – this is part of making the DECISION to do it. So, if you sleep in, blow it off to check out sport scores, etc., then the work didn’t go away and still needs to get done. Every job has work you will NOT like to do. For most, this will make up close to 60-80 percent of all the work you do. For most of those who own a business, this is the critical stuff they need to be doing to grow (or sustain) the business, but it gets blown off 90 percent of the time and then blamed on having too much administrative work to do. Think of it this way, we ALL have the same number of hours in each day. How is it that some people are FAR more productive than others?



      • During the "non-A" time is when I do all of my "administrative work." This is the stuff I can multi-task and doesn't require much focus.



      • I also try to do work of the same nature, all at the same time. Example, answer all e-mails, project management updates, etc



      • When the tasks are loaded during the day, the first thing I do in the morning is rank them "A, B, or C" and then number each by priority. This is how I work through them.



      • The biggest reason why the paper planner works so much better for me is that I take a ton of daily notes. As noted above, I try to anticipate as many things as I can and the only way to truly do this is to become aware of everything that is going on around you. I have notes of what people say, do, don’t do, sales, etc. If it is a bigger note, e-mail or document, I will note in the planner where this doc is stored. For example, one line item may say 1.11.12 EV B3-4. This tells me that the note is listed in Evernote on January 11, 2012, in book 3, post 4. These notes also reference major e-mails, very good to-do ideas added to the to-do program, meeting notes, and follow up comments with managers or other staff. My training also gets put in there, but it goes on a sticky note that sticks on top of all the work and daily notes.


As a side comment, I cannot count the number of times this helped when meeting with teachers and school administrators about my son. It NEVER hurts to have documentation, especially when people don’t do what they say they were going to do.

Home, home again I like to be here when I can When I come home cold and tired It's good to warm my bones beside the fire Far away across the field The tolling of the iron bell Calls the faithful to their knees To hear the softly spoken magic spells – Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon "Time"

This is a topic I think I could write an entire book on, so I will stop here. If there are any questions you have or areas you would like me to touch on more in future columns, please let me know in the notes section below.  

The Finisher

This Finisher will be done at the end of your training session and is only done for one set. It may take a couple sets to figure out how much band to use, so keep the warm-up reps low (4-6) until you find a weight that will be hard to get 8-10 reps with. Once you find this weight, take two minutes rest and get your head on right. While this is not a lung breaker by any means, it will burn and hurt REALLY bad and you need to be mentally ready to push through it. Start on your knees with one grenade in each had. Do as many reps as you can with the goal of total failure between 8-10 reps. Notice: I said total failure. You want to NOT be able to do one more rep. Once you hit this point, pull one band off and keep going. From this point on, you can do any type of extension you can think of, just keep going. When you can't complete one more in the kneeling position, move to a standing position and keep going until you can't move your arms. Shoot for five minutes.