Dan Kennedy’s "No B.S." books contain highly condensed, street-smart business wisdom.
No B.S. Time Management is only 108 pages long, yet it includes highly practical observations and advice about time management that you can put to work immediately to increase your personal effectiveness.
The key point about time management is that, to be effective and successful, we must learn to value our time highly and learn to invest it in high-payoff activities. What a high payoff activity is depends on your personal values, including improving relationships, creating a successful business, improving physical fitness, spiritual development, community service and/or investing for financial security.
I was delighted with the comment of my son, Jimmy, when he had to spend time on an activity that he didn’t value. "Give me back my day! I want my day back!"
Like Jimmy, we need to become very particular about how we spend our time, and learn to avoid "time vampires" that would suck away our time and our lives.
An approach that Kennedy gives for entrepreneurs is to develop a base earnings target. What is the minimum amount you will be satisfied in earning? How does that break down to how much you need to earn per productive hour to reach that target? This becomes your "per hour value" benchmark. For example, if your target earnings is $200,000, your work year is about 2,000 hours, and the about half of your work time is devoted to productive activities, the value of your productive hours needs to be $200. Every hour wasted is like flushing $200 down the toilet.
Many people have non-productive activities which increase their time investment for a return, and so reduces their realization per hour – such as travel time between work locations. How can you strategically increase your return when traveling? Can you "cluster" business appointments for a location? When planning sales calls, can you plan your calls to meet several customers located close to each other?
Contrary to popular trends, Kennedy says chief executives need to reduce their accessibility or everyone will suck away their time from the high payoff activities they should do. Other employees of the organization should be satisfying the needs of the customers for service. Let employees solve most of their own problems.
Kennedy also trashes the "open door" policy. He believes that most organizations today are getting their priorities backwards. The purpose of the chief executive is to provide the leadership and direction of the organization, especially for directing marketing initiatives. The purpose of the employees of the organization is to support the chief executive in accomplishing the goals of the organization. (We should note here that Kennedy prefers to participate in ventures with few or no employees.)
An approach that Kennedy gives to avoid becoming embroiled in the problems of the workplace is simply not to go there very often. The chief executive can accomplish a lot more at home or in an office located separately from the rest of the operation.
Kennedy also believes executives need to avoid knee-jerk responses to telephone calls. Most calls can be handled at scheduled times so the executive isn’t constantly interrupted. Systems can be put in place so that key "VIP" customers do have access, while others are limited. "Right or wrong, most folks don’t put a lot of value on getting to the wise man at the bottom of the mountain."
According to Kennedy, one of the most important disciplines we can develop is to be punctual. Anyone who can’t be punctual can’t be trusted.
Another problem area that Kennedy addresses is suppliers. If suppliers miss their delivery dates, the entire system can be backed up or destroyed. For example, Kennedy gives presentations at which he sells marketing training materials. If the materials aren’t delivered, people can’t buy them and the entire effort is wasted. When delivery is this critical, you must insist that suppliers meet their promised delivery dates as a condition of continuing to do business with them and you must not accept a string of excuses for failure to meet your requirements.
I would definitely put No B.S. Time Management on the required reading list for entrepreneurs and executives. Although Kennedy’s philosophy is contrary to many of the "soft handed" approaches of current management culture, it’s worthwhile to learn his tough-minded approach to time management.
Buy it on Amazon: No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs: The Ultimate No Holds Barred Kick Butt Take No Prisoners Guide to Time Productivity and Sanity.
For our new reviews of business and self-improvement books, subscribe to our newsletter, Michael Gray, CPA's Tax & Business Insight!