The Value of Time

On this 178th episode of my Monday Morning Pep Talk, I will give you the results of my most recent "thinking sessions" on the top of TIME. This topic comes up a lot this time of year as we start to execute the business plans we create for our 3-Year Visions, annual themes and quarterly initiatives. This episode will be based on questions I've asked myself and those questions that others have asked me. My recommendation for this content is that if you weren’t’ able to listen live, you make sure to listen to the podcast. I definitely expand on my thoughts on the call.

First, let’s set the stage for how we look at time. You cannot manage time. You have to value time. The reason is that when time is gone, it's gone, therefore you cannot manage it. You can manage money because you can lose all of your money and make it all back and then some. With time, when it's gone, it's gone. So, we should change our language around it. I'm guilty of using Time Management as a description of the topic. But really, we need to value time. It has equity.

Why didn't I start LIFE PLANNING earlier? Well, nobody taught me the importance of looking at life in chunks of time. You find yourself and your passions in your 20s and 30s, you should monetize your passions during your 40s and 50s (your earning years) and protect what you've created in your 60s and 70s. During all of this time, you should be focused on optimizing life experiences. It doesn't always work this way, that's for sure! I'm a perfect example of someone who had to pivot mid-life. I had to pivot because of lack of education that turned into bad decisions. The previous generation did a poor job of passing down the laws of time and wealth.  Many of us raised ourselves. The key factor is that you do not want to wait until later in life to start to truly value time. This truth should be learned in the early years. My daughters will be 20 and 17 in 2023. How is that possible? They were babies yesterday. Don't blink. I hope to continue to pass on to Aly and Lizzy the value of time and life experiences.

The real performance metric is PPH (profitability per hour). Our industry loves metrics like "Annual Production" but behind the curtain, those really focused on high performance focus on profitability per hour work.  Take your annual 1099 income and divide by the hours you put toward producing that income.  It's not "Instagram-able" but it's what drives high performers - that and NET WORTH.

You should know your PPH and use it know when to scale your business and your needs at home. There is only one you. 

Learn to say NO.  Proper boundaries separate winners from those who struggle. "If it's not a hell yes, it's a hell no" will save you a significant amount of time. It's okay to be selfish with your time. It doesn't make you a bad person.

As you look at unstable years like 2022, it is important to build into your life plan some contingency years. For example, I have built out a life plan for my career over 9 years, but I have built in a contingency over years 10, 11, and 12 if I need them. The outlying factor is my health. It's important that I focus on that regularly to maintain the energy I need should it go to year 10, 11 and 12. These contingency years take out the stress of "The sky is falling. The market will never be the same. I'm doomed."

"Compounding is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it. He who doesn't, pays it.” ~Albert Einstein

If I was to do it all over again, I would have focused less on what others were doing and possessing and focused more on loading up my investment accounts at an early age. Do that and you’ll have way less pressure later in life to perform. You've heard all of the success stories with compounding as it relates to money.  Just as importantly, the compounding of relationships will create stability in your life and business over the long haul to provide a constant flow of opportunities. That’s why I teach a relationship-based business model.

We've added a 13-week in our quarter planning method. Should we add a 13th hour to our day? After last week's call, I had a lot of people reach out to me and thank me for telling everyone that I've started to incorporate some mindless activities at the end of the day as a way to unwind and celebrating a job well done that day. Similar to the Week 13 in the 12 Week Year. Week 13 is set aside to celebrate, plan and reset. Let's do it for the day. Just to give you a little context on why I went so far as to "optimize" every area of my life, it’s because when I started to do an audit on my time back in 2009, I realized that I was spending about 1.5 months of real productive time watching, listening to or attending sporting events, primarily the Chicago Cubs and my childhood favorite, Nebraska football. I cut way back and saw a massive increase in my productivity in an extremely short period of time. That detox turned into an obsession. One that probably went too far. (BTW, I just wrapped up Ted Lasso this week.)

Why do we waste so much time worrying? I think most people are just not good at transitioning from different parts of the day and the different versions of themselves. This business is hard and will issue body blow after body blow throughout the day. The nature of our business will not change. How we let it impact us can change. How? Transitioning. Take just a few seconds to toggle over from real estate professional to mom, dad, wife, husband, partner before you enter your home at the end of the day. You have to compartmentalize "the suck" vs. the "the amazing.” If you don't, "the amazing" will start to suck too.

Do not underestimate the power of concentrated time on deep work. You can call it time blocking. You can call it going into airplane mode. It doesn't matter. Find the time on your calendar for deep, concentrated work. For me, I can only pull this off in the mornings and on the weekends. My weekend mornings are the best. Starting, stopping and restarting never provides the same, powerful results as deep work.  There is a cost to being interrupted.

What does your day look like? How do I start the process of building out an ideal day? It starts with sleep. How much sleep do you need?  Don't guess. Go to bed at a certain time each night and don't set an alarm (well, set an emergency alarm) and see when you wake up naturally. Do this for 5 to 7 days and track it. You'll find a pattern that emerges. Bookend your days based on your sleep schedule.  (Yes, you need a sleep schedule.) Start your morning with time to "wake up" and then give yourself at least an hour, preferably 2-3 hours of runway in your morning before you “enter the arena.” Put a stop time for the end of your workday. End your day with meaningful time with partner, family, friends and some mindless stuff. Rinse and repeat. Make sure you have one day a week that you don't take yourself too seriously.

Why is it important to read and attend courses? Time spent on self-development is crucial investment needed to live the best version of you. The more knowledgeable you are, the more you prevent poor decisions. Poor decisions can cost you a massive amount of time. In my case, the decisions I made in the mid-2000s cost me a decade. It was what I learned from those mistakes that drove me to make sure it never happened again and, in reality, it inspired me to share as much as I could with others so they don't make the same mistakes.

Those that win at life and business had a plan to win at life and business. It’s a simple concept that is so hard to understand and implement for the 97%. By planning properly, you actually have less stress and work less. When you have a vision, you make better decisions. We've talked a lot about it, but having a life plan, a 3-Year Vision, a theme for your year and the idea of giving yourself quarterly goals and initiatives is the winning recipe.

Time best spent in your business:  Meaningful conversations and meaningful moments. There will be a direct correlation between your level of success and the number of meaningful conversations and meaningful moments you create.

Your ability to be patient ties directly to your level of knowledge and wisdom. You must understand that there is a gestation cycle for everything. You plant in the spring and harvest in the fall. The faster you try to push something along, the longer it will take or in many cases, it will not happen at all.

For every day you do not execute your plan, it will require that same amount of time to regain momentum. If you respect time, it will be your friend. If you don't respect time, it will be your foe.

Team, over the last 2 weeks, I've given you a brain dump of what I've been thinking a lot about over the course of the last month. I wanted to give you this deep dive into "The Value of Time" because a lot of the anxious questions I've been getting have had TIME as a common denominator. To make my point, in conclusion, use time as a friend. Use time to plan, execute consistently and efficiently, make good decisions, guide your growth, live ideal days, sleep well and celebrate. If you use time as a friend, you won't have to worry as much. Using time the right way, you'll wake up in the morning confident that you are heading in the right direction.