I don’t have the Time…

How many times have you heard this in response to a missed deadline, availability to attend a meeting or just have a conversation over coffee…? The single biggest limiting factor in many peoples lives and careers is not lack of time, but the inability to manage activities and projects within the time that is available.

Rule #1 – you can’t manage time; only yourself and how you invest it.

If you go on a Time Management Workshop they’ll tell you to make a list, prioritise the important vs urgent to stop procrastinating and avoid distractions – like family, children, holidays. But it doesn’t work does it…? For a week or two and then “life” takes over and your back to where you started, and the reason is, there’s no framework set.

Rule #2 – all work fills the time allocated to it – the Law of Vacuum.

If you give someone a task, and 4 hours to do it, they will take 4 hours, allocate 2 hours and it will take 2 hours… The first principle of getting more done is to fix the amount of time you are prepared to allocate to your job, project or task list. I remember, having career advice as a teenager, having worked in the family business I understood work, but I also understood freedom and making choices.When I was told that most jobs worked 5 days on 2 days off shift pattern, I couldn’t believe it. “So I work 5 days and get 2 days off…?” Well that sucks… How come all jobs take exactly 5 days, all over the world – it’s a hangover from industrial age thinking and education – but it doesn’t have to be that way. For my Business Coaching Clients, one of the first things I ask them is what shift pattern they want to work.


Rule #3 – Choose your work hours and home hours

Most choose a 2 on 5 off or 3 on 4 off pattern – work 3 days and have 4 days off, and you can do the same, or at least apply the same principles.       How does this principle work…? Imagine the most productive, efficient day of the year – there are probably four or five of them; it’s the day before you go on holiday. The reason you are so productive is that you have no choice but to be on the plane the next day, you can’t procrastinate, get distracted, do Facebook, chat at the coffee machine or Google sports cars. It works with limiting the amount of time you expend on your job, not managing time, but rationing it. I aim for a 2 on 5 off pattern in my business – sometimes we travel, deliver workshops, do a conference and I get taken away from the office – but if I achieve 2 on 5 off in my Coaching business it means I can use the other time to do road trips, video series, key notes and writing – sometimes of course we can just go to the beach too…

Rule #4 – Have a vision and purpose.

Not for the job, for yourself. Why are you doing what you do, what’s the Vision you have for you, your family, lifestyle and future…? Where will you live, travel and what will you experience…? Having a Vision is like booking the holiday, it makes it real, tangible and possible – you will get so much more done when you know what you are working towards than you will by simply getting your KPI’s achieved on time. Have a Vision Board, write the dates in the calendar, book the flights, pay for the hotels; make it as real as possible and then you’ll become more productive overnight.


Rule #5 – say NO, stop being a doormat.

Once you have done the deal with yourself about your work time scorecard, start saying NO to requests; not to be difficult or awkward, but to maintain your sanity and productivity, and have Friday off too. Restricting your activity to only that which you agree to and fits with your scorecard gives you control, being disciplined in the achievement of your Vision gives you purpose and getting your life back gives you sanity. Now, many people will say – “Well that’s OK for you, but it won’t work in my job / business / company…” And if that’s the case then it’s true for you; but what would happen if it did work for you and life became enjoyable again…?


“So I work 5 days and get 2 days off…?”

David Holland, Founder and CEO, Results Rules OK

David Holland MBA owns a few companies, has written a few books, travels a lot, is kind to animals and plays the drums. He’s founder and CEO of Results Rules OK, the #1 choice Business and Executive Coach in Luxembourg and is available for Workshops, Conferences & Keynotes and can be contacted at davidholland@resultsrulesok.com