Time Management Archives - Dr. Ivan Misner®
swirl

Become Productive by Getting Out of the Swirl

I’ve asked Robert Skrob to write another guest blog for my site.  Robert is also the author of “Retention Point, which I highly recommend.  He previously shared the topics of “The New Customers Experience”, “Creating a Vibrant Community Around Your Company”, “Creating Case Studies” and  “A Networking Secret” on my blog.   Today, he is sharing about “The Swirl”. Read closely – Robert is truly an expert about getting out of the swirl.

“The swirl” is one of the things we talk about with Harley-Davidson dealers when we are coaching them to improve the profitability of their dealerships. At any given time in a dealership, there are customers considering buying motorcycles, trying on clothes or waiting for their motorcycles to be serviced; service techs working on motorcycles; parts orders arriving via UPS; and a parade of salespeople walking through the showroom. There are a hundred things the dealer would like to pay attention to, and at the end of the day, he’s exhausted. He works hard every day, but he can’t find time for the things that are most important because he is too busy.

That’s the swirl. Perhaps you have it in your own business. So many different urgencies crop up that you aren’t able to work on what’s most important. It’s like one of those shooting galleries at the fair. Targets pop up and you have to shoot them quickly before they disappear again. At the carnival, you’ve got to concentrate on the gallery to score maximum points and get the biggest prize. It feels great when you hit all the targets, both at the carnival and in your business.

When I get into the swirl in my own business, it actually feels good. It’s like I’m the head of an army that’s under attack. I’ve got projects and problems coming at me from all sides, and I’ve got to keep them all under control. While being in the swirl can feel invigorating, staying in the swirl is the wrong approach for a business owner. With Harley-Davidson dealers, we taught them to create trackable goals for each department.

Here is what we coached them to do:

Set your goals by first determining the total amount of money you want to make at the end of the year. Then assign a net profit contribution from each department. Based on that expectation, set goals for each month and what must be done within each department to achieve those goals. For instance, for motorcycle sales to generate the desired amount of profit, determine how many motorcycles the sales department needs to sell as a department. This will allow you to estimate the number of motorcycles each salesperson must sell each week to meet your goal.

Managing this way is like having a pause button for the swirl. You see that it exists, but it’s happening to everyone else, not you. That’s because your attention isn’t focused inside the swirl; instead, you can see all the way through it, straight to your goal. You are able to keep your attention on what’s really important, driving your business toward your real business goals.

Most business owners find themselves caught in the swirl. Within the swirl, we jump from one project to the next. Our goal is to keep everything running so we can quickly move on to the next big idea. We lose sight of where we are really trying to go. And it’s easy to find ourselves working and working and never seeming to make any progress.

It’s important to create a careful plan for the business you want to create. Outline the types of programs you want to offer, and create a timeline for when you’ll implement those programs. What will each of those programs contribute to your company’s profit? Who is responsible for getting them implemented? And for each person with responsibilities, what’s his or her schedule for getting the work done? These basic goal-setting and project management plans can mean the difference between getting caught in the swirl and reaching your business goals.

At the beginning of this year, you probably made some resolutions. You may have set some goals for yourself to achieve. How much progress have you made? If you’ve made progress, it’s probably because you set out monthly, weekly and daily goals in addition to just making a resolution.

If you haven’t made progress, make an appointment with yourself—an appointment you refuse to break. Outline what you need to accomplish each month to make your goals a reality. Consider what has to be done each week. And then put each week’s goals into your calendar so you’ll take a break from the swirl to get the important projects done. In the same way, you’d step away from your business to go to a doctor’s appointment, step away to improve the health of your business by focusing your attention on your most important goals.

While the swirl feels good at the moment, working on your goals gives you a great feeling that lasts. It’s actually a feeling of superiority. You can hold yourself above other business owners when you see them battling within the swirl.

poor planning

Poor Planning Can Lead To Problems

I just had someone send me a document that they needed to have completed RIGHT NOW for an important deadline they had.  Mind you, they could have sent the document months earlier. Due to their poor planning, they waited until the last minute to send it to me.  Normally, I wouldn’t sweat it and I’d fill it out pretty quickly and get it back to them.  However, on this occasion, I was in Panama on business.  I was headed home to Austin for less than 24 hours, then I was off to Charlotte for business meetings at BNI Global, and then I was off to Necker Island for some downtime.

They could not have caught me at a worse time – and they were completely aware that I was in the midst of my travels. Regardless, they emailed me, emailed my assistant, emailed my wife, and emailed all of us twice more (all within two days). In between my meetings, I dropped this person a message and said, “I’m sorry you have a problem but your project is not my priority due to your poor planning.  You had months to send this to me and you sent it at the last moment (when I’m swamped) and you want it right now.  NO.  I am not able to do it right now.”

In my bookWho’s in Your Room, I said that sometimes, “no” is a one-word sentence.  This is one of the times I made it a one-word sentence (OK, I know I had other sentences but I wanted to include that one-word sentence of “NO”).

I understand this person’s frustration.  She made a mistake in her poor planning and dropped this in my lap.  I’ve been there before but I did not handle it like she did (multiple demands for completion, reaching my assistant and even my wife – several times)!

Poor Planning Tips

I recommend you consider these suggestions if you find yourself in a situation where you are dropping your problem on someone else due to your poor planning:

  • Start with an apology:  “I’m really, really sorry but something has slipped through the cracks. I am getting this to you late.  I know you should have had it a long time ago but you didn’t and that’s on me.  I’ve attached it to this message. Is there any way you can get it to me by X date or time?  I know this may be an inconvenience but I would appreciate if you could make that happen.
  • Copy the assistant on the message (once – not multiple times).
  • NEVER harass the spouse.  Ever!  Mine didn’t particularly appreciate being pulled into something she had nothing to do with.  More importantly, she’s pretty confident that I’m a big boy now and don’t really need further parenting.
  • When you do get what you requested – thank them.  Throw yourself on the sword again. Tell them you appreciate them helping you out by getting it to you quickly.

Always remember – Someone’s poor planning can lead to problems! By the way, feel free to send this blog to anyone who tries to make their problems your projects.  Maybe they’ll get the message. 

invest time

Invest Time to Learn About Others

If you want someone to learn about the value of your products or services, you have to spend time learning about the value of theirs. The best way to do this is a personal meeting. Master networkers meet regularly and invest time to raise each other’s understanding of their businesses.

“John, I’d like to be able to refer more business to you, but I need a deeper understanding of what your company does and how you operate. Could we get together next week to discuss this?”

Although you don’t say so, John understands that he’ll learn something more about your business at the same time. It’s not always easy to know how confident your contacts are in referring you. By having a personal meeting, you show interest in helping them to grow their business. Therefore, they will also be interested in helping to grow your business.

Ask yourself if you invest time to learn about others

  • Am I being realistic about the time it will take, in my profes­sion, to gain the critical level of confidence?
  • Am I regularly making stimulating, educational presentations to my fellow networkers about the value I provide to my clients?
  • Am I doing business with others in my BNI chapter so I can give them dynamic testimonials and steer business to them in hopes they’ll return the favor?
  • Am I meeting regularly with my networking colleagues to learn about their businesses so I can confidently refer my contacts to them?

If you can endorse the quality of products or services offered by a networking partner — that is, increase others’ confidence in them — your partner will be disposed to return the favor. Testimonials from one or two of your partners may, in turn, trigger a much larger and more valuable referral from another partner who was waiting for more evidence before taking a risk on you.

If you’re following these simple tactics, then you are well along the road to getting all the referrals from others’ networks that you deserve when you invest time to learn about others.

Ivan’s Inner Circle

Tomorrow is the Unveiling of Ivan’s Inner Circle

Ivan’s Inner Circle is addressing both of these pain points because I will be your mentor. I will teach everything I have learned over the past 30+ years in networking and referral generation, and our technology partner at Synduit will become the only marketing software you need to build and implement your marketing plan for the entire year. I have not been this excited in years because the impact that all of us will produce together will be seismic in the world, and it will also take your franchise to the next level while supporting all of your members as well.

The more I think about this launch, the more I realize how vital this program is to the success of small business owners and franchisers. Networking, referral generation, and marketing have become somewhat of a lost art and nearly every marketing software that I have ever seen is too complicated for the everyday user.

I am ready to share Ivan’s Inner Circle with you and anyone else you decide to invite during our official unveiling tomorrow – Tuesday, March 26 at 12 pm ET (9 am PT).

If you have not done so, please make sure to register here: https://tribe.synduit.com/IvanInnerCircle0001

Inner Circle

Be a Part of my Inner Circle

Networking, referral generation, and emotional intelligence still aren’t taught in colleges and universities and nearly every marketing software system that I have ever seen is too complicated for the everyday user. For the past decade I have been thinking about building an environment where I could easily share the top lessons and skills I have acquired on networking, referral marketing, time management, and scaling a company with a select inner circle.  I am pleased to say that I found the perfect partner to make these lessons an absolute game-changer for business people.

Ivan’s Inner Circle

I am really excited, because after 10-years of contemplating this idea, my friends at Synduit have developed a program they call “Ivan’s Inner Circle” which will officially launch on Tuesday, March 26 at 12 pm ET (9 am PT) during a FREE live webinar and Q&A.

I will be your mentor. I will teach everything I have learned over the past 30+ years in networking and referral generation. Our technology partner will become the only marketing software you need to build and implement your marketing plan for the entire year. Allow me to mentor you on networking, referral generation, and marketing with the simplest marketing software for your business that you will ever find.

Who’s in Your Network?

The first webinar topic is: “Who’s in Your Network?”  It is a spin on the content from Who’s in Your Room? but it is specifically aimed at BNI members and networking. Please invite other business people you know to this experience too.

I invite you to please join me by registering here: https://tribe.synduit.com/IvanInnerCircle0001

I have not been this excited in a long time, and I am eager for you to take part in this monumental launch of “Ivan’s Inner Circle”.

Waste Your Time

Ten Ways to Waste Your Time in a Networking Group

Membership in a good networking group can be worth a considerable amount of money. Especially if you calculate the time you spend each month and the business value of your time. Do not waste your time. Make your time and efforts worthwhile. Don’t squander your opportunity by doing the wrong things in those meetings!

Success in a networking group comes when the rest of the group members trust you enough to open up their best referrals to you. Until they’ve seen your work, you have to earn that trust by demonstrating your professionalism to them. Since I founded BNI almost 25 years ago, I’ve seen how people have truly succeeded in networks–and I’ve seen how people have totally wasted their time in them.

Please watch this video:

The top 10 ways to waste your time in a networking group (avoid all of them):

No. 10. Go ahead, air your grievances among your fellow networkers and guests; after all, they really want to hear about your complaints.

No. 9. Wing it in your 60-second presentations; you’ve got plenty more chances anyway.

No. 8. Use one-to-one meetings to talk about your networking group’s issues instead of learning a lot more about each other.

No. 7. Focus your efforts on selling your services primarily to the members of the group.

No. 6. Don’t rush following up on a member’s referral. They know where you are.

No. 5. Use others’ 60-second presentation time to think about what referrals you can give that week.

No. 4. Why invite your own guests? Just focus on those who show up.

No. 3. Don’t worry if you get to the meeting late. No one will notice.

No. 2. Be absent; it’s no big deal. You can just call in your referrals . . . right?

And the No. 1 way to waste your time in networking groups . . .

No. 1. It’s OK, take that phone call or text message during a meeting. It won’t bother anyone, and it’s a real sign of professionalism that everyone admires.

So there it isThe Top 10 Ways to Waste Your Time in a Networking Group! Print this out. Memorize it. Share it with your fellow networking members. Above all–avoid these mistakes! You’ll get a lot more out of your group and so will your fellow members.

I’d love to hear some more ways that are big time wasters in a networking group. Please leave your comments below. Let’s add to this list.

time spend networking

How Much Time Should You Spend Networking?

People who say that networking played a role in their success spent an average of 6 1/2 hours a week networking and had half of their clients from their networking time. However, people who did not invest as much time networking also did not report as much reward. So, how much time should you spend networking?

Therefore, spend about 8-10 hours per week networking and do the right things to build the relationships first when networking.

The secret to getting more business through networking is. . . spending more time doing it!   OK, well, it’s a little more complicated than that because you have to spend time doing the right things.  However, devoting the necessary time is the starting point.  So how much networking time (or NetTime) should you spend developing your personal network and what kind of results can you expect to see?

The survey results

Based on a survey that I helped to write and conduct of over 12,000 business professionals from every populated continent in the world, we finally have a definitive answer to those questions.  The study found that people who said “networking played a role” in their success spent an average of 6.3 hours a week participating in networking activities.  On the other hand, the majority of people who claimed that “networking did NOT play a role” in their success spent only 2 hours or less per week developing their network.  

Clearly, those people who spent very little time engaged in the process felt that networking was not an effective way to build their business.  As with many other aspects of life, you clearly reap what you sow.  It’s no wonder that the people who didn’t invest as much time also did not realize as much reward.  This demonstrates the direct correlation between the amount of time you devote to the networking process and the degree of success that you will likely realize from it.

You may be reading this article and thinking – OK, I now know that I need to be spending at least 6 ½ hours a week networking.  Well, that’s true IF you want to be average (and what successful business person wants to be average)!   If on the other hand, you’d like to be above average – you need to devote more time than that to the cause.  The optimum amount of NetTime is more likely to be 8-10 hours a week if you want to be one of those people that are generating well over half their business from referrals.

How much time do you spend networking each week?  More?  Less? and what percentage of business do you get from your networking efforts?  Comment below.

Typical Day

A Typical Day for Ivan

I’ve recently been having people ask me what a typical day looked like for me.  The last person that asked me that questions caused me to ask a question to him in return.  I asked him, why he was curious about?  He replied, that he believed that “successful people had some routines that helped them achieve their success” and that’s why he was curious.

I thanked him for including me in that list of people he thought were successful and told him I would write about it in an upcoming blog – and here we are.

I believe my friend was correct – I too believe that successful people have routines that keep them focused and engaged.  Routines are truly different for every successful person.  What is the same is that they have a routine and they follow it. I can’t say that mine are that exciting but, they are mine and I like them.

I should note that I travel a lot and when I’m traveling – the routine is much different.

If I’m not traveling or attending a meeting, this is my normal routine.

  1. 7ish wake up.
  2. 30 minutes exercise in my home gym. Nothing crazy – walking, (sometimes outside – but often in the home gym watching the news), push-ups, crunches, stretching, simple bar weights.
  3. Steam shower (contemplative meditation).
  4. I try to eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.  (All the meals are generally organic and always healthy).
  5. 9 am I walk the 51 steps to my home office and tackle email communications
  6. I am a zealot about my schedule. Almost every hour is scheduled with something (including time to think, research, and/or write).  Most importantly, I color code my calendar to know what kind of activities I have scheduled for the day.  The things I love doing are all in various shades of green.  (Red is bad, very bad.  They are the things I don’t want to do but must do – yes, I have some of those too).
  7. My primary focus is writing, speaking, and doing interviews.
  8. On writing days, I only tackle urgent emails and then focus most of the day on writing related activities (research, writing, editing).
  9. Throughout the days I do scheduled media interviews (these are always a priority) or record videos for BNI regions.
  10. End around 6 pm.
  11. Wine O’clock on the balcony to watch for deer or wild turkey on our property. Almost always a big bold – “hit you over the head” – red wine. 😊
  12. Dinner around 6:30 pm.
  13. Around 7, I watch some movie or TV shows recorded on my DVR (yes, I have some guilty pleasures that I do NOT feel guilty about).
  14. If necessary, I go back into my home office around 8 – 9 pm to get some work done.
  15. Head to bed between 10 pm and 11 pm.
  16. Read the news or a book for up to an hour.
  17. Generally asleep by 11:30 pm.

This is a normal day – I don’t always have those but when I’m home, this would be pretty normal.  The routines I have that I think are worth noting include daily exercise, contemplation, healthy food, a specific routine for the work, guilty pleasures (wine, TV, or movies), and reading time each evening.

And that my friends, is a day in the life of Ivan Misner.

What surprises you or what would you like to add to your list?

Look Up

Look Up! How to Learn to Be Mentally Present to Succeed

I was once walking along a very crowded city street in a large European city. People were walking in both directions with great purpose. One pedestrian, however, stood out from the rest in her green coat. She was walking a bit slower, with an uneven, irregular pace, and she had her head down. She wasn’t looking to the left or to the right. She wasn’t looking around. She wasn’t even looking at the sidewalk, or her feet. She was looking at her mobile phone. She was actually texting while walking on the crowded sidewalk, and she was on a direct trajectory to collide with me.

“Look up. Look up. Look up,” I was softly repeating under my breath as she approached headlong towards me. She was about to run smack into me, and the sidewalk was so full that it was impossible to step out of her way without colliding with another person. I was on the verge of making my mantra, “Look up,” audible. At the very last moment before crashing into me, she looked up with a completely startled reaction. She was mentally not present, even though she was physically walking on that sidewalk with all of us. She was so distracted by her mobile phone that she was just going through the motions of walking somewhere.

Sometimes I am asked by young business professionals to share my advice for reaching a certain level of success. I think my primary message surprises them somehow. Here’s what I tell them:

Learn how to ‘be here now.’ When you are working, work. Don’t spend time stressing over the things you are or are not doing in your personal time. When you are not working, don’t work! Don’t let the distractions of your professional pursuits keep you from being fully present in your personal life.

It is very easy to allow ourselves to be so wrapped up and so caught up in something, that we cannot set it aside to change gears and focus on what is right in front of us. That is what the young lady pedestrian was doing before she pulled herself out of her virtual world to rejoin the events going on around her.

I have written many books. When I first started writing books, I was a father with very young children. I knew I wanted to be very present in the evenings when we were having family time together, so I set my writing times for after they were tucked in for the night. Instead of watching television or reading, for a few months, I wrote between 11 PM and 2 or 3 AM several nights a week. When my first book was published, my then-8-year-old daughter exclaimed, “When did you write a book? I didn’t know you were writing a book!”

It’s the same concept in the reverse, as well. When you are working hard on a project or accomplishing something demanding in your business, it is necessary to keep yourself focused on the task at hand. There are many things which can be a distraction. I have seen people become completely inept at the job at hand because they cannot be fully present due to some other pull on them from another area of their life.

My mother had an approach to this dynamic that works well for me when I want to “be here now” and there are some distractions encroaching on my ability to do so. She used to say, “Put that in a jar and set it up on a shelf. When you are done, it will still be there, and you can take it down and get it out then.” Moms give the best advice, don’t they?

So my mantra of “Look up. Look up. Look up,” can also be a way to keep yourself in the present and really begin to “be here now.” I think you’ll find that you navigate the paths of life, work, networks and family more profoundly and with greater success in all areas.

time

How Much Time Should You Spend Networking?

People who say that networking played a role in their success spent an average of 6 1/2 hours a week networking and had half of their clients from their networking time. However, people who did not invest as much time networking also did not report as much reward.

Therefore, spend about 8-10 hours per week networking and do the right things to build the relationships first when networking.

Introducing Garage to Global

Garage to Global

What does it take to start a home-based business and turn it into a global organization?  I am sharing the many lessons I’ve learned to do just that.

In 1985, I started a small business from my home in Southern California.  Today, BNI has ovBNI Member Growth Through 2014er 7,400 locations in more than 65 countries around the world (see the member growth chart to the right).

From business networking to management, scaling a business, and surrounding yourself with good people, I will be sharing with you the secrets for building a global brand.

Go here and subscribe to my new Garage to Global Channel (part of the Entrepreneur Network) on YouTube: http://tinyurl.com/garagetoglobal.

Share with me below what you think it takes to go from “garage to global” (but don’t forget to subscribe to my new channel. 🙂

Classic Video: How to Invest Your Time and Money for the Highest Return

I have been doing video blogs for quite a few years now and a while back it occurred to me that some of the videos I’ve previously posted focus on timeless topics that deserve to be revisited and not buried way back in the video blog archive.  For this reason, I decided to occasionally feature a “classic” video blog from my blog archive and today I am sharing the fifth one–”How to Invest Your Time and Money for the Highest Return.” In this video, I talk about how to invest time and money into your business in the way that will ultimately pay the highest return–education.

Many businesses fail within their first three years of existence because they only pay lip service to education yet aren’t willing to invest the time, effort, and money into learning about how to continually grow and develop in order to achieve the business goals and the vision they outlined for themselves at the start.

The fact is, people who immerse and engage in a culture of learning are much, much more successful than those who don’t. Watch the video now to learn about an action you can take this week that will help you measure whether or not you’re investing enough of your time and money into what will truly help your business earn more and achieve more. 

I’m quite interested in hearing your thoughts on this video, your comments about what you currently do in order to invest in educating yourself to build your business, and also your results from carrying out the action item I explain at the end of the video.  Please leave your feedback regarding any or all of these things in the comment forum belowThanks!

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