I have a confession to make.
It involves vampires, boats and wasted time.
Last week I was guilty of indulging in something that I’ve rallied against in the past. Time vampires.
These are people, albeit usually well meaning, who take up your precious working day but ultimately won’t help you get to where you want to be heading.
The reference to boats will become clear in a second.
A couple of years ago I read a good book by Ben Hunt-Davis called Will it Make the Boat Go Faster?
Ben is a gold medal winning Olympic rower who achieved glory in 2000. Ben and his colleagues won in the eights at the Sydney Olympics.
In his book he talks about how the team focussed on nothing but winning in the run up to the games. Before they made any decision be it food choices, relaxation, training techniques or even sleep patterns they asked one simple question: “By doing (or not doing) this will it make the boat go faster?”
It served them well and guided them to success. One of Ben’s key points was using time efficiently and avoiding time wasting activities and people.
As mentioned time vampires often don’t mean to suck you dry. Last week I held several meetings and 90 per cent of them weren’t ever going to make my boat go any faster or help my business grow.
So starting on Monday I brought back my old rule that anyone who wanted to meet me had to visit early in the morning at the start of the day or last thing in the afternoon.
It’s amazing that when you set those guidelines the number of people wanting to meet drops considerably. This is because it doesn’t suit them to do it at times which suit you. You’re no longer working to their agenda.
Now I’m not saying become a hermit, slam the door and refuse to see anyone. Of course not. I’ll still find time for existing customers and prospective new advertisers because they will make my boat go faster.
If it’s an emergency or charitable meeting I’ll do my best to be available, but as my friend Mike Cole once said if you treat your hourly time blocks like gold bars you won’t waste them.
Microsoft had a similar focus when they were starting off. The question they always asked before making any decision was ‘will doing this mean more people can use and enjoy our software?’
It certainly worked for them.
So adios time vampires and hola getting back on the boat.
Thanks for reading,