How to manage time like money

June 17, 2013 | By Neil Ducoff | 4 Comments

I was in Livermore, CA, last week doing a private No-Compromise Leadership training session for a client and friend. I stayed over an extra day so we could do a bike ride through the beautiful vineyards and countryside. While riding, we got into a discussion about time management. I said, “Manage time like money. Think of all the stuff you need to accomplish as if they are line items on a Profit and Loss Statement. Income is your time. Now, what would you do differently?”

Time truly is like money. We only have so much of it and always wish we had more. If we are frugal with it, we can maximize our time, invest it wisely, and be incredibly productive. We can squander our time by being disorganized, lazy, and a master of procrastination. Lastly, we can allow our time to be stolen by others simply because we let them. Like money, time will disappear if you don’t pay attention and budget it like the precious resource it is.

Here are some no-compromise strategies to manage your time like you manage your money:

  • Attitude and time: You have to change your attitude to manage time like money. By attitude, I’m referring to how you perceive yourself and your ability to accomplish great things. Anyone can check tasks off of a task list, but truly great leaders believe in their ability to accomplish great things. If you believe that you are capable of doing great things, you need to budget time to achieve them. If you don’t believe, why bother? Winning means believing in yourself.
  • Vision and time: Vision is projected income. It’s the goal. It’s what you channel all of your resources toward achieving. It’s the direction in which you lead your company. It’s at the top of the scoreboard. If you don’t have a vision – you don’t have a destination. It’s like having cash in your pocket that you spend on whatever until it’s all gone.
  • COGS and time: “Cost of Goods Sold” is where you budget the largest chunks of time to achieve your vision. COGS represent the most important work that needs to be done. It’s the high value work that must be done without compromise. It may be spending thirty to forty percent of your time interacting, relating, and communicating with staff, or just taking the time to show your appreciation for the individuals working for you. Your COGS represent the time you invest in making your vision a reality. No compromise.
  • Gross Profit Margin and time: Controlling your Gross Profit Margin is essential to financial success. It represents how much money you have left to cover General and Administrative (G&A) expenses – and Net Profit. G&A expenses are largely fixed expenses and will occur no matter what. So if your Gross Profit Margin is too low, there won’t be enough money to create Net Profit. Simply put, if you don’t manage the time you invest in your COGS, you won’t have a life.
  • G&A and time: Your G&A time is your budget for all the stuff that needs to get done no matter what. Just like you have to pay your rent, you have to budget time for managing your finances, dealing with vendors, meetings, performance reviews, and the general work of leadership. If you don’t budget your time, you won’t get the general work done … and that will compromise your business and your life.
  • Net Profit and time: Leaders always talk about balancing work and personal time. Just like Net Profit is a planned outcome, so is personal time. Personal time is your Return on Investment for the time you put into work and leading your company. You’ll never achieve the gift of free time if you don’t take a no-compromise approach to managing time.

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Categories: Financial Literacy , Leadership , Monday Morning Wake-Up , No-Compromise Leadership , Productivity , Profitability

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  1. This is a wake up call! Thanks for the excellent points you make here, Neil. I especially agree that without a vision you will not reach your goals. Well said! Reminds me of a really good book I just finished by Usiere Uko called, Practical Steps to Financial Freedom and Independence: Your Road Map to Exiting the Rat Race and Living Your Dreams. His book will get you thinking about your life with practical steps. You can find his website here: http://www.financialfreedominspiration.com


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