You don’t have enough hours in your day. I know this.
So, is this just another time management article? Well…kind of, but not really. If you visit the dictionary and look up the definition for time management it says:
The ability to use one’s time effectively or productively, especially at work.
Good definition, no argument, but that “time management” thing doesn’t go far enough for me anymore.
How can you USE time that you simply don’t have?
Our personal and business lives are cluttered—filled up with stuff that, in some cases, is actually choking us out.
In this day and age, we need to be able to find, re-claim and create more time. The passive and aggressive demands on us are endless. Without a conscious effort to analyze and rebuff, our business and personal schedules just keep filling up and overflowing.
And the only way you can do that is by PRUNING your life!
Let’s look at the definition of, “pruning”:
Cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems, especially to increase fruitfulness and growth.
Now we’re onto something.
I used to watch my dad and grandpa painstakingly prune back our peach, apple and plum trees. They’d do it each year religiously. They’d cut away all of the dead or unproductive branches to make room for new growth. The trees needed space, air and sunlight. Just after the pruning, the tree looked as if it had just been given a bad haircut. But only weeks later, the new white blossoms and green branches would begin to sprout forth. In months the trees would be pushing out new fruit (and more of it). By the end of the season the trees would be flourishing.
Wow. This seems like too simple a metaphor for what we are talking about, doesn’t it?
It occurred to me that if we want more of one thing (let’s say productivity) then we have to make room for it by getting rid of what we don’t want (what’s no longer productive or effective). In other words, we need to create some space.
Here’s another comparison…
Have you ever spent a Saturday afternoon cleaning out your closet? I have. I wait too long and then it overflows. Stuff I don’t wear or use is everywhere! I’ll find shirts, pants and shoes that I haven’t worn in months—in some cases, years!
Why am I still hanging onto this stuff? It can be hard to let go!
We may think, “I love that shirt,” because it has some sort of weird sentimental value. We may tell our spouse, “I’ll fit in those pants again after my diet.” We may even think, “Hey, I bet that sport coat will come back into style!”
So we have a hard time letting go of some of these older clothing items. (Don’t tell me you haven’t struggled with this.)
Think about this, if it IS that hard to simply drop off an old sport coat at the Salvation Army, think about how difficult it can be to get rid of habits, projects, and in some cases even relationships that are no longer productive in our lives. With regard to our closet and fruit trees, until we let go, or cut away a few dead branches, there’s no room for anything else.
Here’s the bottom line…
Our myopic attachment to what we have in front of us at the moment is often what holds us back from growing. Thus, pruning is necessary. However, there are a lot of necessary things that aren’t easy. When you start to PRUNE it may feel scary—like you’re giving up something for nothing.
So, letting go requires FAITH. It also requires that you work from a place of ABUNDANCE versus operating from a position of SCARCITY. You must continue to remind yourself, that there’s a lot more where that came from.
So, here’s what I’d advise you to do:
- Determine what’s no longer SERVING YOU productively
Times change, business trends change, people change. What was once very worthwhile to you may no longer help you grow now. It could be that you’re knee-deep in a project or initiative that you thought would be awesome (or profitable), but it isn’t shaping up that way. You’re staying the course out of habit, or you continue to hope that things will pan out. (Hope is a crappy strategy, LOL!) Sometimes we just continue to dump time (and money) into something just because we’re already so far into the chase. In other words, we tell people that we’ve, “Already invested so much, that we don’t want to walk away!” I hear this a lot when I do personal coaching.
This is called sunken cost bias. It’s not a logical place to come from. I don’t want you to suffer from that or any of the similar nonsensical thinking that goes on when people are not properly coached. I challenge you to take inventory. Ask yourself, “Is this (thing, project, relationship, etc.) still of any productive use to me?” Answer honestly and then figure out what you need to let go of, or cut back on in your business and life.
- LET GO of it (even if you have NOTHING to replace it with)
We have already agreed that you have to let go of unproductive things to make room for better things that will come later. So…FAITH comes into play when you cut something out of your life and there’s nothing to immediately replace it with. Don’t second-guess yourself. Remember, you have already determined that these things provide little or no value to you.
- Identify what you really want to BUILD and BECOME (and begin moving towards those things)
This is about cleaning up your thinking. What you did in steps 1 and 2 hopefully unencumbered you to some degree. You have created some additional SPACE and time in your life. For the first time in a while, you have the time and space buffer to determine what kind of business you want to BUILD, and WHY. You also get to focus on what you wish to BECOME (personally) in the process of building that thing.
If you’ll do this—prune your life—there’s one other HUGE byproduct. You’ll also have more energy to devote to what you truly want. For example, if you always wanted to change the type of client mix you have, you can now do that because you just ‘fired’ a few clients that are emotionally draining. You’ll have the additional time and energy to pursue the right type of clientele. When you go through this ‘pruning’ process, you’ll usually wind up thinking, “Shoot…why didn’t I do this sooner!”
Begin to be more intentional and prudent in your life by pruning a few dead branches back. You will NOT be sorry you did this!
Question: What do you need to get rid of? You can send Joe an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell him. He will respond.
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Joe Buzzello is a nationally recognized expert on the roles of direct selling, entrepreneurialism and leadership. He has built legacy sales teams and experienced unprecedented success in individual and business-to-business markets as well as the network marketing industry. Joe has held executive level positions for Fortune 500 companies, but he has never strayed far from the art and science of selling, which he loves. In early 2014, Joe began writing, speaking, and coaching through his platform, www.joebuzzello.com and The CAP Equation© sales methodology.