On August 26, 2016, at a Toastmasters Leadership Institute event, I attended a one-hour workshop by a representative from Freedom Personal Development describing their time management system. I was desperately in need of time management because of the three leadership positions that I have been trying to handle simultaneously: my position as Director of the Executive Council for the Chicagoland Chapter of the Project Management Institute, Division Director for the South Division of District 30 in Toastmasters International, and on a personal level, as President of the Board of Trustees for my church.
So when the representative said that a two-hour investment of time in something called the “Two-Hour Solution” would yield me at least 10 hours of productive time in my work that I didn’t have before (which translate into a 500% ROI), I said “sign me up!” I bought the book “Train Your Brain for Success” by Roger Seip and enrolled in his series of weekly videos on time management. The “Two-Hour Solution” takes scheduling a week’s worth of activities as a way of taking different types of activities and batching them together as much as possible for efficiency’s sake. For the sake of EFFECTIVENESS, however, it is important to put all activities in the context of one’s most important goals and aspirations.
So before you even DO the weekly schedule, you need to figures our your keystone goal or goals, that is, those goals which, if you accomplished them within the coming year, would contribute the most to your quality of life, as well as other goals that energize you or inspire you in the following areas of your life
You should have at least one goal for each area besides the keystone goal or goals mentioned above. Then you work out how much or to what extent you want to work on this goal during the coming week.
Then you layer the various activities in your schedule in the following order (the colors are ones added to make a visual distinction on your calendar)
- Commitments (ORANGE)
- Excellence (PURPLE)
- Income-generating (GREEN)
- Income-supporting (RED)
- Flex time (YELLOW)
- Re-creation time (BLUE)
I won’t go into the entire mechanism of the two-hour solution, because you really need to get the book Train Your Brain for Success in order to get the entire method explained in its correct context.
However, I can bear witness that just the first step after you schedule your already-existing commitments, namely, scheduling excellence time, has changed my life in the week since I started the two-hour solution. Excellence time I label in the color purple because purple is the color of royalty, and here is where you get to treat yourself like royalty by scheduling those activities which recharge your batteries and energize you either physically (like exercise time), mentally (like making time for reading), or spiritually (like time for meditation, prayer, or communal worship).
I was so busy that I was thinking of stopping going to the Windy City Professional Speakers club I have been a member of for about one year. It meets on Sunday evening from 6:00 to 9:00 PM every other week. Three hours right before the start of the following week seemed at first like an energy drain, and it was for my own professional development as a speaker, not for any of my leadership roles which involve serving others.
So I went to the meeting of the Windy City Professional Speakers Club on August 28th, the same night as the time management seminar, thinking that it would be last meeting I would go to. However, after reviewing the concept of “scheduling excellence time”, I went to the meeting and found afterwards that, despite having spent 3 hours on a Sunday night when I should have been exhausted, I came out of the meeting excited and energized by the speech contest I had just witnessed there and participated in as a functionary in that contest.
So I had a conversation with myself on the way home. “I know I said I would quit, but this is something that truly energizes me and recharges my battery, so I think this is what Roger Seip would have called ‘excellence time’.” Then, I decided right then and there that, no matter how busy I got as a leader, I would KEEP this club’s meetings in my schedule.
And as I came from the club just now, I realized that it was the right decision. Through a networking contact I made with someone at the club, I found out that I was able to leverage that contact in a way that will benefit me at my volunteer position at the PMI Chicagoland chapter. So by spending time becoming excellent, I helped myself but also created a benefit for my professional organization.
So the lesson for everybody is: keep those activities in your calendar that nourish you, because they are important, and should NOT be thrown out to take care of matters which others say are urgent!
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