The Tank’s on Empty
by Gary Lockwood, BizSuccess
Remember the last time you were driving down the road and noticed that your gas tank was on "empty"? How did you feel? If you’re like most of us, you started feeling just a little anxious.
You probably began thinking about how and when you would find a gas station. You might have even wondered (for a few seconds) what it would be like if you ran out of gas. With your imagination in high gear, you would have visualized yourself trudging on foot to
the nearest gas station, buying a can of gas (including the can!), then hiking back to the car. What a trip!
Now switch scenarios. Recall how you felt when you just filled the tank. You are confidently driving with an ample reserve of gas. No worries about fuel; no anxiety about running out.
Having plenty of fuel for your car is very similar to having reserves for yourself. When you are running on "empty" with regard to time, money, space, love, faith, satisfaction, or companionship, you will feel the same negative emotions you felt when driving with an
empty gas tank.
So, what’s the answer? Build reserves of all these things you need in your life. Do what you have to do to create more than enough love, attention, space, time, money and so on.
Let’s get something straight first. Building a reserve of something you need in your life is only one part of the puzzle. The other piece is to identify what is draining your reserves. If you’re pouring into the top of a leaky bucket, you won’t make much progress.
For example, let’s get started by examining how to create reserves of time. Many of my new coaching clients complain of having too little time. Their "time tank" is running on empty, so they feel uptight, frustrated, flustered, pulled in every direction, and tired. Often, this is the first thing we work on together. Clearly, a reserve of time would reduce the stress. So, how do you do it?
Start by plugging the leaks. Take aggressive action, such as:
- Reduce interruptions - Interruptions can drain 1-2 hours a day. Rather than spend time with anyone who happens to stop by, close the door, turn off the phone or work from home one day a week.
- Reduce the clutter - Is your desk or credenza piled with pending and unfinished work that will be done when you "get around to it?" The average businessperson spends 3 hours each week looking for things plus 2 hours being distracted by the stuff lying around. The most effective people work from a clean desk. An uncluttered desk helps you stay focused on your most important project.
- Dump useless tasks - Quit doing some of the routine things you do just because "that’s what I’ve always done". Practice good priority management. Plan each day to stay focused on those tasks that will move you toward your goals. Watch for tasks that can be delegated or simply dropped. As you plug the leaks that drain off your reserves of time, start to create even more time. Here are a few ways to do this:
- Stop the "Crises Management" - Ever feel that you’re leaving a trail of unfinished projects, unreturned phone calls, unread mail, partially completed reports? Crises arise from jobs we left unfinished to work on other unfinished tasks. Another term for crisis management is "fire fighting." Most of this is really caused by losing focus of true priorities. Learn to tell the difference between "urgent" and "important".
- Plan better - You accomplish the most when you know exactly what you want to accomplish. Decide what is really important in your life. What can you delegate? What can you simply drop? You can’t manage time, only your priorities.
- turn a hobby into a business,
- save at least 25% of income,
- develop sources of passive income,
- raise your prices by adding more value,
- make a financial plan.
Gary Lockwood is Increasing the Effectiveness and Enhancing the Lives of CEOs, business owners and professionals.
Phone: (951) 739-7444
* Email: Gary @ BizSuccess.com