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Time Management in the Note Business

Written by Jeffrey R. Armstrong – President/Owner of Armstrong Capital

Your favorite Master Note Buyer – Straightforward, Honest, Fair…

Time management in the note business is of vital importance. As note professionals we are always looking for ways to streamline processes. Chances are good that, at some time in your life, you’ve taken a time management class, read about it in books, and tried to use an electronic or paper-based day planner to organize, prioritize and schedule your day. “Why, with this knowledge and these gadgets,” you may ask, “do I still feel like I can’t get everything done I need to be getting done?”

The answer is simple. Everything you ever learned about managing time is a complete waste of time because it doesn’t work.  Before you can even begin to manage time, you must learn what time is. A dictionary defines time as “the point or period at which things occur.” Put simply, time is when stuff happens.

There are two types of time: clock time and real time. In clock time, there are 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day and 365 days in a year. All time passes equally. When someone turns 50, they are exactly 50 years old, no more or no less.

In real time, all time is relative. Time flies or drags depending on what you’re doing. Two hours at the department of motor vehicles can feel like 10 years. And yet our 10-year-old children seem to have grown up in only two hours.

Which time describes the world in which you really live, real time or clock time?

The reason time management gadgets and systems don’t work is that these systems are designed to manage clock time. Clock time is irrelevant. You don’t live in or even have access to clock time. You live in real time, a world in which all time flies when you are having fun or drags when you are doing your taxes.

The good news is that real time is mental. It exists between your ears. You create it. Anything you create, you can manage. It’s time to remove any self-sabotage or self-limitation you have around “not having enough time,” or today not being “the right time” to start a note business or manage your current note business properly.

There are only three ways to spend time: thoughts, conversations and actions. Regardless of the type of business you own, your work will be composed of those three items.

As an entrepreneur in the note business, you may be frequently interrupted or pulled in different directions. While you cannot eliminate interruptions, you do get a say on how much time you will spend on them and how much time you will spend on the thoughts, conversations and actions that will lead you to success in the note business.

To begin managing your time you first need a clearer idea of how you now use your time. From time to time I will use the below Personal Time Survey. It will help you to estimate how much time you currently spend in typical activities. To get a more accurate estimate, you might keep track of how you spend your time for an entire week. This will help you get a better idea of how much time you need to prepare for your note business. It will also help you identify your time wasters. But for now complete the Personal Time Survey to get an estimate. The following survey shows the amount of time you spend on various activities. When taking the survey, estimate the amount of time spent on each item and be as honest as possible. Once you have this amount, multiply it by seven. This will give you the total time spent on the activity in one week. After each item’s weekly time has been calculated, add all these times for the grand total. Subtract this from 168, the total possible hours per week and you will have a number of hours that you might be able to spend on your note business. Here we go:

1. Number of hours of sleep each night ________ X 7 = _______
2. Number of grooming hours per day ________ X 7 = _______
3. umber of hours for meals/snacks per day – include preparation time ________ X 7 = _______
4a. Total travel time weekdays ________ X 5 = _______
4b. Total travel time weekends ________
5. Number of hours per week for regularly scheduled functions (clubs, church, get-togethers, etc.) ________
6. Number of hours per day for chores, errands, extra grooming, television, etc. Be honest! ________ X 7 = _______
7. Number of hours of work per week ________
8. Number of average hours per week socializing, dates, etc. Be honest! ________
Now add up the totals: ________
Subtract the above number from 168 168 – _______ ________

The remaining hours are the hours you have available to allow yourself to concentrate on your note business.  Just a footnote to ease your anxieties – it is not only the quantity of time spent on your note business but also the quality. This formula is a general guideline however it is a great starting point in helping you assess where all of your time is spent every day and week.

With the amount of time you have available you can now begin to practice techniques to become the master of your own time such as:

  • Carry a schedule and record all your thoughts, conversations and activities for a week. This will help you understand how much you can get done during the course of a day and where your precious moments are going. You’ll see how much time is actually spent producing results and how much time is wasted on unproductive thoughts, conversations and actions.
  • Any activity or conversation that’s important to your success should have a time assigned to it. To-do lists get longer and longer to the point where they’re unworkable. Appointment books work. Schedule appointments with yourself and create time blocks for high-priority thoughts, conversations, and actions. Schedule when they will begin and end. Have the discipline to keep these appointments.
  • Plan to spend at least 50 percent of your available time for your note business engaged in the thoughts, activities and conversations that produce most of your results.
  • Schedule time for interruptions. Plan time to be pulled away from what you’re doing. Take, for instance, the concept of having “office hours.” Isn’t “office hours” another way of saying “planned interruptions?”
  • Take the first 15-30 minutes of every day to plan your day. Don’t start your day until you complete your time plan. The most important time of your day is the time you schedule to schedule time.  Prioritizing and scheduling are highly productive.
  • Practice not answering the phone just because it’s ringing and e-mails just because they show up. Disconnect instant messaging. Don’t instantly give people your attention unless it’s absolutely crucial in your business to offer an immediate human response. Instead, schedule a time to answer email and return phone calls.
  • Block out other distractions like Facebook and other forms of social media unless you use these tools to generate business.

Remember that it’s impossible to get everything done. Also remember that odds are good that 20 percent of your thoughts, conversations and activities produce 80 percent of your results.  After scheduling becomes a habit, then you can adjust it. It’s better to be precise at first. It is easier to find something to do with extra time then to find extra time to do something. Most importantly, make it work for you. A time schedule that is not personalized and honest is not a time schedule at all.

As a one man operation in the note business since 1991 I have had the chance to test and analyze my time management over the years and my current flexible full time daily schedule looks something like this:

9:00 – 10:00 Organize day. Work on pending Files.
10:00 – 11:00 Respond to any messages – Start follow up Call Backs.
11:00 – 12:00 Continue with Call Backs.
12:00 – 1:00 Check e-mail and respond.
1:00 – 2:00 Get mailings ready (letter / postcard) Lick and Stuff / Stick and Stamp.
2:00 – 3:00 Review and respond to mail. Prepare price letters.
3:00 – 4:00 Handle Calls. Prepare and send packages on new deals.
4:00 – 5:00 Prepare for next morning. Get and send mail.

My hope is that in sharing my insights on time management with you it will help you organize your time and prioritize your tasks to be more productive with the time you have. Whatever you do, remember, success demands action! Keep on marketing, and being persistent, it’s going to work! TWITA! (That’s What I’m Talking About!) J

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