"The difference between poor people and rich people is that
poor people spend their money and invest what's left over; rich people invest their money and spend what's left over."
-- Jim Rohn
If the difference between poor people's money management and rich
people's money management is as simple as prioritizing future wealth over current spending, then it would follow that rich people's time management must begin with a focus on income-producing activity and that any remaining time would be spend on what's left over.

I first came across the system I'm going to share with you as part of a well-marketed life coaching program that required would-be participants to offer proof that their income was in excess of $200,000 a year. My sharing it here is less an act of latent socialism ("Come the revolution, we'll all manage our time this way":-) than a function of my coming across it again in the book
"Work Less, Make More" by Jennifer White.

The system below is my adaptation of the basic system, and is based on dividing your calendar into three kinds of days, each one representing a different aspect of your working life . . .

a. Focus Days

What are the 20% of your activities that account for 80% of your income?

If you're not clear what your high-profit activities are, ask yourself this question -- what are the one, two, or three of your business activities that if you could spend 8 hours a day focused on them, your business, income, and/or life would get noticeably better?

Focus Days are spent EXCLUSIVELY focused on these high-profit activities. That means no interruptions, no phone calls, no e-mail, and no admin (unless, of course, interruptions, phone calls, e-mail, and admin are how you and your business make the majority of your money).

Focus Day's for a salesperson might be spent following-up leads, servicing your most important clients, or cold-calling for future revenue; for a coach, Focus Day's might well be spent coaching current and potential future clients. If you run a business, you may well spend Focus Day's brainstorming and developing new initiatives, better systems, and improving your product or service.

How on earth can you run a business without interruptions, phone calls, e-mail, and admin? You can't! That's why you have . . .

b. Support Days

Support days are for doing all things you need to do to maintain your business, honor your commitments, and take the follow up actions generated on your Focus Days. These are the days where you return phone calls, clear your in-box, file your papers, and set up actions and appointments for your next Focus Day.

At first, you may find you need two or three support days for every Focus Day. Over time, as the power of your focus allows you to get more done in less time, that balance will shift, and you will find that one Support day can set you up for the week!

So, that's it right? Wrong! If you want to have a life worth living, you'd better factor in . . .

c. Free Days

At my father's business, he instituted a policy of "Free Days" -- a legitimate day off at full pay, no questions asked and no explanations or excuses needed. These days became so precious to his employee's that if someone needed to miss work for a family emergency or illness, they would often request not to be paid for the day, rather than use up one of their "Free Days."

When's the last time you took a day off? Not "time off," not an hour for lunch or a couple of hour's for a movie, but a whole day where your body, mind, and spirit were focused, guilt-free, on connecting with loved ones, enjoying nature, or just engaging in some purposeless fun?

Free Days are exactly what they sound like -- days where you are free to do anything that appeals to you that is not connected to your work or your business. It is recommended that you schedule at least 100 Free Days in your first year of implementing this time management system.

If that sounds like too many days off, you're probably still stuck in the notion that the longer and harder you work, (as opposed to the more focused and systematic you are in the way you work) the more successful you'll become. In this instance, I recommend at least 150!!

Have fun, learn heaps, and fill all your days with joy!

The Coach
(c) 2002 Michael Neill All Rights Reserved

You can visit Michael via his website at www.dailycoachingtip.com
or talk with him direct at

1. Identify your high-profit, high-leverage activities. What are
the one, two, or three things you do that bring you the maximum return on investment?
2. Schedule your first Focus Day for later this week. Use the time between now and then as Support Days, clearing and preparing your schedule to be able to focus exclusively on your high-profit activities for an entire day.
3. Schedule your first Free Day -- if this is difficult for you, make a list of things you enjoy doing and choose specifically what you will spend your Free Day doing. Eventually, you will be able to "improvise" these days, and they will become a touchstone for "who you are when nobody's watching" that carries forward into your working week.

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