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How to Become a Master of Time Management

I don’t normally repeat Christian’s jokes on the blog – I think it’s way better to hear them yourself by watching or listening to the show – but this one was way too good for our readers to pass up, mainly because it has to do with today’s topic:

So he heard a story once that there was a lawyer sitting in an office, and death came down and took him. And the lawyer was like, “Wait a minute. Why are you taking me already? I’m only 40 years old!”

Then, Death says, “Not judged on the billable hours.”

The joke is that lawyers bill more than they’re actually doing, and it’s fitting that today’s topic is time management.

The funny thing about time management is that we can talk about it for a long time, but we won’t… for obvious reasons.

There’s a whole chapter in Irreplaceable Service Manager on time management, and while I typically don’t go back and read my books after I write them, the chapter on time management was just too good.

I remember when I wrote it, that chapter was very close to my heart because, a lot of the times when you’re teaching something, you’re also organizing yourself to be better at it. I definitely figured out some things that were working for me and I couldn’t wait to share them.

I kind of double down at the beginning of the chapter with a quote at the beginning:

“Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment. In either of these ends, there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose as well as perspiration. Seeming to do it, not doing. – Thomas Edison.”

So in the book, number one is to focus on the right things.

That’s what I wrote back then. Now, I would say it’s to have value for your time. The thing that I’ve found about time management is how you feel about yourself is how you value your time, and then that drives what you do. If you have no perception or value of your time, you’ll give it away to any dumb clown that wants to take it!

People will steal your time and you give it away freely because you don’t have any value. Your self-esteem for yourself is so low, you’d rather just feel busy because being busy feels like you did something, but you go home every day and you have no clue whether you won or lost.

That’s basically summarizing 80% of people out there!

Having a certain value to your time is going to drive how you interact with everybody else and your expectations of them. An example of that is in Chet Holmes’ book, The Ultimate Selling Machine. He talks about how he worked for a billionaire and was basically running companies for him. He ran the MGM Grand in Vegas and turned around like six or seven different companies for this guy, and if he needed to meet with them to talk about something, there were a couple of rules:

  1.       Eliminate ‘Got-A-Minutes’

Whatever he wanted to talk about had to fit on one piece of paper and he had 20 minutes. That was it because this guy’s a billionaire and his time is important. He’s not going to sit there and hang out with you for three hours and BS. You get in, you get out. There’s a value to his time. So Chet thought, “Wow, I don’t do that,” so he started changing how he interacted with his people and he became way more effective.

People would do ‘got-a-minutes’ to him all the time, like when people would wander into your office and be like, “Hey, you got a minute?” They’d just open the door, and it makes you stop whatever you’re doing.

  1.       Focus on the Right Thing

There’s this analogy of getting the big things done and having priorities where you have a bucket that’s half sand and you have a pile of rocks but they both need to get in the bucket. If you pour the sand in the bucket and then try to put the rocks in, they won’t fit because the bucket’s half full of sand. But if you have an empty bucket and you put the rocks in, and then you pour the sand over the rocks, everything fits.

And so, if you’re clear about what your big items are that you need to accomplish every day and you write them down or review some sort of list every day, then you’ll get those big items done because they’re a priority. So the priority and your intentions will drive your behavior. What we see a lot of times with procrastinators is they might get to a point where they do a to-do list, but they get really good at doing the little stuff and leaving the big stuff for last.

Like, you could be busy just checking email like a typical parts manager, right? You could get busy calling back customers for advisors that don’t actually do their job, but the secret is to hold people accountable more than anything else.

Christian’s favorite is when you hear the phone ring on a service drive and all the advisors are putting key rings on their tags instead of answering it. It makes me want to throw stuff! Isn’t it legal in some states to shoot an advisor for that? I don’t know, HR laws are tricky from state to state…

  1.       Take Control of Your Calendar

One of the ways I eliminate ‘got-a-minutes’ is I have somebody else manage my calendar which works really well because it forces me to stick to it. Jordan Peterson kind of talks about this and I like the way he explains it: why don’t you plan out your calendar so that it’s set up for you? I think a lot of times, most people go into their day and they’re the victim of the day. Instead, why don’t you plan it like, “Hey, this is what I want to do. I’m better at writing early in the morning so I’m going to do that in the morning.” Then, when do you want to call people back? Just plan out your day and then add in something fun or leave early once in a while or take a two hour lunch and take somebody with you.

Why don’t you take control of your calendar and make it work for you and make it fun instead of just going through the day, plotting along. I’d look at your calendar as 60 minute intervals, and if you’ve got eight or nine of those in a day, then plan it out. And don’t make every day the same. What I do on a Monday isn’t what I do on a Wednesday or what I do on a Friday. My Fridays, I keep pretty open, but on Monday, I’m doing strategy sessions. I’m on any sort of business calls. But a lot of days, Monday and Tuesday, I’m on some sort of call or talking to somebody every hour. Then, the rest of the week, we’re doing the show, but I’m setting it up so I’m not doing things throughout the whole week that are more like work.

I do a lot of work early in the week so that I can enjoy and have the more creative stuff later in the week, so that’s for me. But for you, you should set it up how you’re going to be most effective instead of just letting the business dictate. It’s your calendar. Don’t be a victim!

  1.       Take Breaks

Another thing to be effective in your time management is to schedule in time to walk around. Literally put it in your calendar, “For this half-hour or this hour, I’m going to just go walk around and listen to advisors. I’m going to go into the shop and talk to technicians, and I’m going to walk the lot.”

You know how many times a manager never knows what cars are parked out in the lot? The open RO list is the only time they know that a car has been there for two months. Go look at the parking, go walk around, schedule that in your calendar. You’ll be way more effective because that time is dedicated to that. You’ll NEVER get to it otherwise.

It’s also just good to get out of the office and get a little bit of fresh air. It’s good for the soul. On top of that, I would schedule some one-on-one. Take key people to lunch. Use your time and your lunches to make a connection or have an intention with it. Not just lunch.

  1.       Value of Yourself and Your Goals

If you have a higher value of yourself, and you have real intention behind your action and real goals, then time management will fix itself, because you won’t want to waste your time doing things that aren’t getting you closer to your goal. A lot of times, people that struggle with time management either don’t have value for their time or they let people waste their time or they don’t have a clear goal. If you have a clear goal, you’re going to focus on the big rocks and not the sand. You can just train your mind to pay attention. Just think, every 10 minutes, is this thing that I’m doing getting me closer or further away from my goal? If it’s getting you further away, get mad and change it. Don’t let it happen. Stop it.

I love talking about time management. There’s an art to it, for sure, and it’s a requirement to be an effective leader.

But for the sake of time management, that’s all we have for today. Since Soprano asked us to talk about it on the show, the show itself was the question for today, so that was all a really efficient use of time.

 Don’t worry though, cause we’re still taking audience questions through our voice mailbox. If we can help you with anything, just remember: the number’s 1-833-327-5737. Call and leave us a message on there. If we play it on the show, we’ll send you some swag, and give you some ideas. There’s not much we haven’t heard about. There’s not too many things out there that will stump us.

Hopefully, you were taking notes and learned something about time management. We’ll see you next time on Service Drive Revolution!


Got a question? Call us at 1-833-3-ASK-SDR You probably feel like there are never enough hours in the day. But what if a few simple tricks could change everything? Find out what they are, only on Service Drive Revolution. Now streaming!

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