Time Management is a very popular topic. For a human construct, time certainly has created a groundswell of interest. Research tells us that more people go to workshops and seminars to learn how to make the most of every moment than any other topic. Explore any bookshop or search the Web and you’ll find more information about time management than any other topic. I believe that true entrepreneurs operate according to a different time management model than others. Read on.
Most entrepreneurs have progressed through two economies-the ‘Time-and-Effort Economy’ and the ‘Results Economy’. Through the latter, entrepreneurs eventually and inevitably arrive at an entrepreneurial system of time management.
The ‘Time-and-Effort Economy’ is familiar to most of us. Its central feature is something called a ‘job’. Most people had one at some stage or another. The time-and-effort economy has a very effective time system. It’s called the Bureaucratic Time System and it consists of work hours, work days, work weeks. It’s been in operation for about 200 years and it was designed to make sure that people turned up to work, did their jobs, and went home. And after 65 years of doing this, they retired-they had to, they were worn out. They’d given their best years to their job and then it was time to get ready for the appearance of the Grim Reaper, which, in the 1930s, was about 18 months after retirement.
At some stage along the way, some people review their progress and say, ‘Wait a minute, I can do better myself.’ Entrepreneurs are born. These people are prepared to live by the code that they get paid for their own unique talents and payment occurs only when they add value to a service offering. Those who are not prepared to take the considerable risk involved remain adherents to the Bureaucratic Time System and opt to climb the promotional ladder, opt out, or continue along a path of their choosing.
As entrepreneurs continue their development, they realize that the Bureaucratic Time System that previously satisfied them no longer meet their needs. If they’re lucky, their search leads them to the Entrepreneurial Time System.
There are only three kinds of time you can have.
1. FREE TIME
2. FOCUS TIME
3. BUFFER TIME.
Free Time is exactly what it says. It’s your time to do with as you please-read a book, go fishing, spend quality time with your loved ones, etc. Free Time is no mobile phone, no work-related reading, no ‘shop talk’. The moment you allow a workplace interruption, your Free Day has ended. If you’re going to include Free Time in your calculations, it must come off the top. You must organize your Free Time, first. Some entrepreneurs organize their Free Time years in advance and are very reluctant to change this allocation because they see that they ‘grow’ during Free Time.
You’ll probably have about 100 Focus Days-a-year. These are the days when you’re focused on your key fee-generating tasks. You could be on assignment somewhere or office-bound working on a specific project. Those who know you will know that you can’t be interrupted during your Focus Day.
Buffer Days allows you to have Focus Days. On these days you are not held accountable for earnings. Most people, it seems, spend their whole working life having Buffer Days-a little bit of Free Time, a little bit of Focus Time, and a little bit of Buffer Time.
Old habits die hard; that’s why this article targets young entrepreneurs. Changing from a Bureaucratic to an Entrepreneurial Time System is something young entrepreneurs will find easier to do than others. There remains just one question that needs to asked. What specifically is it that you’re doing when you’re operating in an Entrepreneurial Time System? Those activities will be addressed in another article.
Dr Neil Flanagan provides access to essential management know-how for busy people on the move. A FREE gift awaits you every time you visit management2go.com and you can take advantage of your FREE e-Topic and newsletter that will keep you informed about everything management. And if you’d like more information about issues raised in this article, you can go to http://www.management2go.com/products/Start-Your-Own-Business.html
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