Until someone creates a time machine or technology that allows us to slow down time, we all deal with having 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. The interesting thing about time is that it appears to be the great equalizer – it doesn’t matter whether you make a billion dollars or live in a mud hut on a remote island; we all have the same amount of time to do what we do.
The issue for most of us is that time never seems to be within our control. It seems you either have it or don’t, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
The truth is that we’re smart accountants, have a lot of knowledge, and are skilled at our work, but here’s the problem – knowledge is NOT power when it comes to time management. Just because you know how to write things down on a to-do list or color-code your Outlook calendar doesn’t mean you know how to manage your time.
As accountants, we’re so used to using our intelligence and knowledge for our work that we believe more knowledge is the answer to finally getting a better handle on our time. To better manage your time and to create more than 24 hours in a day, you have to understand that knowledge is “potential” power, but it’s not the best power.
True power is in action – it’s in applying or using what you already know. I’m not saying that education isn’t important, but instead of constantly pursuing more knowledge, I believe we should pursue the application of our knowledge, especially if we want to create a 26-hour day.
Throughout the 200+ episodes of this podcast, I’ve been sharing lots of knowledge with you, but until you take action based on that knowledge, you’re not being as smart as you could be. This is in no way a judgment of you; it’s meant to help you see that there is so much more potential power that you haven’t tapped into.
Think about it this way – we all know that diet and exercise are good for our health, but how many of us consistently eat well and exercise regularly? Just because we have the knowledge of what’s good for us doesn’t mean we take the actions necessary to have a healthy life.
The key to moving knowledge into action to create true power is consistently using tools. To leverage your time and create a 26-hour day, you have to take the knowledge I will be giving you and put it into action.
To create a 26-hour day, you need to not let obstacles or distractions stop you as you become disciplined in creating control over your time. You have to be willing to learn, act, fail, learn some more, act some more, fail some more, and be consistent. You’ve got this!
This week I’m going to discuss what you can do to create a 26-hour day, typical time-wasters, and some time creators you will want to start implementing.
What you can do to create a 26-hour day
Of all the things I have studied over the years in my own personal and professional development, I think the ability to create more time and to get more done in less time has been one of my most significant accomplishments. I’ve been passionate about creating a better time management system for accountants because I think a lack of time is one of the greatest struggles accountants deal with daily.
I hear it time and time again – there’s never enough time to get everything done, and there aren’t enough hours in a day. It’s as if there’s a secret that everyone else was given at some point, and we missed that college or continuing education class somehow.
But the truth is that most of us have difficulty with time management because we have a human brain. There is a part of our brain that resists planning, making decisions ahead of time, and being more deliberate with our time.
So the interesting thing is that, In our inability to manage our brain, we also make it impossible to manage our time. This is why the time management system I created specifically for accountants, called The Balanced Accountant Program, is broken down into two parts – learning to manage your brain and then learning to manage your time.
Until you understand your brain better, you will always feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day. To create a 26-hour day, you need to do 3 things:
- Learn the skill of managing your brain
- Understand how you waste time
- Learn and implement what creates time
I will say this repeatedly because the more you plan and manage your brain to ensure you follow through on your plan, the more you’ll get the desired results. The more control you have over creating results with your time, the more you’ll be able to produce, and the more in control you’ll feel of your time.
Many accountants resist making and sticking to a plan because they have a hard time following through. They assume that if they don’t make a plan for everything they have on their to-do list, then they won’t set themselves up for disappointment.
The truth is that a lack of time isn’t really an issue with time; it’s an issue with honoring your commitments to yourself in regards to time. Scheduling things on a calendar isn’t difficult; it’s that you don’t believe you’ll follow through no matter what.
To create a 26-hour day, you have to run your life as if you are the most important person, even if you are a wife, mother, employee, or business owner. You must give yourself the respect you deserve by being in integrity with your time.
Now I’m going to share some of the most common time wasters you’ll want to take an honest look at. Getting a handle on the things you do that waste time will automatically help you create time.
While we all get distracted, especially in our modern time of technology and social media, if you want to create a 26-hour day, you have to address your time wasters. Let’s face it, there’s also a multi-billion dollar industry whose primary purpose is to grab and hold your attention, so it’s no wonder we have such a hard time reducing distractions.
Although it can be challenging, there are things that we can become aware of. The good news is that you can take back control once you have awareness.
Here are a few of the main areas of our lives where we tend to get distracted and waste time:
Telephone/E-mail – If you feel you don’t have enough time at home to do what you need or want to do, look at how long you spend on the phone or responding to e-mails. If you cut back in half what you spend right now, how much extra time would you gain on a daily basis?
Surfing the web – If you’ve ever searched for one thing and then found yourself sucked down a rabbit hole of surfing from link to link, you know what it’s like to get lost in surfing the web. If this is an issue for you, create a mental alarm to go off when you find yourself getting distracted. Get back on track as soon as possible.
Interruptions – Did you know the average person only has seven to 20 minutes a day of uninterrupted time? But here’s the key – there’s a difference between a distraction and an interruption. Other people cause interruptions, however, distractions can be from others or ourselves.
Socializing at work – Know that it’s perfectly normal, but be aware of its impact on your and others’ time and productivity. If possible, schedule times so that you decrease interruptions without losing the social aspect of connecting with others.
Procrastination – procrastination is one of the most damaging time stealers. If you suffer from procrastination, just know that you don’t have to eliminate procrastination to save time. When you procrastinate, you’re choosing inaction over action.
Personal disorganization – for many of us, being disorganized at work and home steals hours and hours from us each week. Organization doesn’t have to be complicated to save time, especially if you follow some of the suggestions I’ll discuss regarding creating time.
Cleaning your desk (the paradox) – so why would cleaning your desk be a waste of time? For many accountants, our perfectionism can kick in, especially near lunchtime or the end of the day just before you end your work day.
Inability to say No – this is a big one, especially for women. The inability to say No can cause you to take on projects you don’t want to do but currently feel obligated to take on. This can only lead to the wasting of your precious time.
Lack of delegation – poor delegation skills have three significant adverse effects, depending on your delegating style – the first negative effect is when you fail to delegate at all, or you do it infrequently; the second negative effect is improper project completion or missed deadlines; the third negative effect is severely decreased employee morale.
Indecision – being frozen from taking action leads to lost opportunities and the waste of massive amounts of time. Indecision is caused by the fear of making mistakes, usually from a lack of self-confidence.
Unimportant paperwork and reading – how many hours a day do you spend doing paperwork and reading? How much of it is a waste of time? How much time is spent on paperwork and reading that does NOT move you forward? Be honest with yourself.
Poorly planned meetings – meetings are essential to business, but more often than not, they waste valuable time because of how they are conducted.
Hopefully, you recognize some of the typical time wasters in your life and can use that awareness to stop wasting time. Now that I have given you things to stop doing, I’m going to encourage you to start doing other things that will create time.
People are often amazed at how much I get done. I have a full-time accounting job working in the office 4 days a week and 1 day from home; I am the Community Manager at CPA MOMS; I create the weekly newsletter; I create and manage social media content; I produce, record, and edit a weekly podcast and blog; I am currently publishing a book; I have coaching clients and attend a mastermind group throughout the month; I have plenty of free time to read, listen to podcasts, and relax; I also have a husband, two dogs, 2 young adult children, and 2 young adult step-children.
Amazingly, the more I create, the more I can create. The way I am able to do so much is due to what II learned from my mentor, and that’s by faithfully reducing the number of things that take my time and doing the things that create time. Here’s what she taught me:
Make decisions strongly – Decisions free up power to take immediate action. Decisions made ahead of time are the key to creating more time. There is no upside to indecision, so once I make a decision, I take massive action to get the desired result within the time I decide on.
Take massive action – taking action is the best way to create more time. Massive action is not thinking about taking action, not talking about taking action, not waiting to take action, but taking action. Massive action is taking action until you get a result.
Plan, plan, plan – planning has made the biggest impact on how I create time. I plan a certain amount of time to get something done, which is the amount of time it takes. I don’t give myself the luxury of seeing how long something takes. Even when I don’t know how to do something, I give myself a time limit and do my best to meet it. This is one of the best time ways to create a 26-hour day. The secret is that when you plan, you use your brain's higher executive functioning part.
Honor the plan – I put everything on my calendar, and I honor the plan, no matter what. The key is that for every hour I spend planning, I create about five extra hours I would otherwise waste in confusion, indecision, and overwhelm. When I arrive at my calendar, I often don’t “feel” like doing what’s on it. That doesn’t matter. I do it anyway. It’s not negotiable. Just honor the plan.
Constrain – do not give in to “shiny object syndrome” and don’t believe that multi-tasking is the answer. Multi-tasking is a lie because your brain can only focus on one thing at a time. When I constrain my focus to one thing, I blow my mind with how much I can get done in less time. It also saves so much time because it reduces decision fatigue.
Be willing to fail – this is something that was confusing at first when I learned this from my mentor, but she’s right – failing saves so much time. When you are willing to learn by failing, you eliminate the need to get stuck in indecision. Failing creates momentum and teaches you what doesn’t work so you can keep moving toward what does. Fear of failure wastes time in indecision.
Say no – You have to give yourself permission to say no and let other people feel disappointed because people-pleasing will waste time. Setting boundaries, managing any feelings of guilt and fear, and honoring your commitments to yourself will help to create so much time.
I know I’ve just given you a lot to consider, but if I were going to choose a few to start working on, I would stop wasting time by getting a handle on procrastination and indecision, and I would start creating time by creating a plan and honoring the plan no matter what. Creating a 26-hour day isn’t as challenging as it sounds when you understand how much control you have over time.
If you want to create a 26-hour day, The Balanced Accountant Program might be precisely what you need to start implementing some of the things I’ve explained. This 5-week coaching program will help you get a much better handle on eliminating your time wasters and how to apply the time creators.
As I’ve shared on this podcast, don’t passively listen to this episode and do nothing with the information because knowledge isn’t power – action is. To create a 26-hour day you have to get the help you need to make a change for yourself and your family.
Don’t waste anymore time trying to figure it out on your own. Let me help you learn how to create a 26-hour day and show you how to take back your control of your time.
You can find out more about The Balanced Accountant Program by booking a call HERE
- To better manage your time and to create more than 24 hours in a day, you have to understand that knowledge is “potential” power, but it’s not the best power.
- The truth is that most of us have difficulty with time management because we have a human brain.
- Until you understand your brain better, you will always feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day.