Manage Your Time, Live Your Life

Manage Your Time, Live Your Life

When you successfully manage your time, you get to live your ideal life. In business operations, there are two major time-management problems business owners encounter.

Working 9 to 5

First: Deciding their workday is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., then spending their day with a variety of time-wasting activities. Many important activities should be accomplished during non-prime time hours.

Remember during working hours if you are not personally interacting with your employees and your customers, then you are misusing your time. These are typically the only hours when you can communicate with your customers, so you should be. What should you do during non-working hours? External promotional and marketing activities such as:

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  • Meeting with local businesses and attending network events.
  • Meeting with local merchants to develop co-promotional opportunities.
  • Researching advertising and marketing opportunities.
  • Writing marketing letters to your old prospects.
  • Reviewing your list of customers and former customers, seeing if you can upsell them, or get them to re-join you.
  • Updating your computer system and keeping your stats up to date.


The main issue is to distinguish between prime-time activities and non-prime time activities. All administrative duties should be accomplished only during non-prime time hours.

525,600 Minutes

Second: Failing to manage time effectively on an hour-by-hour and minute-by-minute basis.

How do you manage your time effectively? Use an effective planning system is my recommendation. I prefer Franklin Planners. They are more expensive than some of the other systems, but, given the value of this system to your life and your business, it is well worth the expense. When using the Franklin system, I plan many activities quarterly and monthly — instead of focusing on every quarter-hour. If you keep your objectives clear, then it can be relatively easy to manage your evening hours.

Use an adequate management software system to keep your appointments and prospects’ stats under control. Currently, there are several fine systems on the market.

Prioritize appropriately. I highly recommend you read First Things First by Steven Covey, or, at least, study the chapter 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

The Covey Method

To summarize Covey’s concepts, all activities fall into one of four quadrants:

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  • Urgent and Important.
  • Not Urgent and Important.
  • Urgent and Not Important.
  • Not Urgent and Not Important.


A business during prime-time hours (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) is full of constant customer queries, emails, phone calls, and this is on a minute-by-minute basis. For your evening to be effective, remember there are only three important elements: attracting customers, retention, and renewals. If an activity does not positively contribute to one of these elements, then it falls into the “Not Important” category.

Mediocre business owners fail to focus on those important areas, that are not urgent. Generally important, but not urgent areas include:

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  • Internal and external marketing efforts.
  • Client retention.
  • Renewal preparation (if you have subscriptions).


Manage your time with your clients

With few exceptions, clients, of one or two types, can consume your time. Your model customers who are loyalists and your negative and disgruntled clients who are full of complaints. You must be careful not to devote too much prime time to clients in either of these categories, but instead, find a balance between the two.

Your model customers will spend time talking, and investing time in your presence, because they love the services and products available to them, the ones you provide. Your negative clients often have a negative outlook on their lives, and just want to complain to anyone who will listen. In any conversation of this type, work on keeping the conversation short and on the subject it should be.

A few ways to accomplish this is don’t sit down, don’t go in your office — address the issues at hand quickly and directly, suggest scheduling a specific appointment time when it’s appropriate for your schedule. The third is by not spending excess time on hobby activities while rationalizing you are working on your business, and the fourth is failing to structure your day effectively. To get the most out of your day, it’s important to determine how you function best, and then plan your activities during your peak times of efficiency.

Work when you’re at your best

A few years ago, there seemed to be this myth that successful entrepreneurs and business owners rose at dawn and were in their office by 8:00 am. This works quite well for some of my closest friends, but, for me, this has always been massively counter-productive.

A lot of business owners are at their absolute peak between the hours of 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. You must determine which of your creative hours are for planning and development, and structure your days to hit your peak during prime-time hours. Even if you’re not at your peak between 10 am and midday, as long as you can identify where your prime hours are and utilize them.

My Typical Day

For myself, I am most creative late at night. When most of my friends are climbing into bed, I am just starting work. What you’re reading right now was probably written between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. I like to start my day mid-morning, take a break mid-day, and then hit the operations side of the business hard during my prime time.

Depending upon what I need to accomplish, I will either take a break and go to a movie, grab a quick bite to eat, and then work on my creative projects — either developing lesson plans, designing ad campaigns, and writing.

For best time management, you can do much more work when no one is around to interrupt and the phones aren’t ringing. If you are an early bird, then 5 a.m. or 6 a.m. might be best for you. Again, for me, my creative tasks are accomplished after 11 p.m. If I return your e-mail, then it may be at 2 or 3 a.m.

Stephen Oliver
Wealth Mastery