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What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast

Lesson 2 of 8

Time Strategies for Work Life Pt 2


What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast

Lesson 2 of 8

Time Strategies for Work Life Pt 2


Lesson Info

Time Strategies for Work Life Pt 2

Why are we doing this right it's fun way we're all enjoying it, but why we're doing it first reason is that I kind of think fantasizing is productive right? Because it helps you look for opportunities so if I know I want tio take a cooking class in morocco and another friend mentions that she also is thinking going to that part of the world and we are reading the newspaper we start looking at ads you say, oh, they've got it cheap fare tomoko here's a cooking class that I am reading about and it starts to become more of an opportunity right as you have these things in the top of your brain but beyond this, as we look through this list, we'll start to see that what we love right, what things are particularly important to us, right? They were talking about heritage and traditions of cooking, thinking about things like that, what we love, what we're good at all right? Because there's often things on this list that we're we're very good at we want to do more of, uh, what matters to us was v...

ery important to us and what broadly might be our core competency so core competency core competencies excuse me is a phrase that means the things that we do best that other people cannot do nearly as well or in some cases can't do at all and broadly, as you look at your list, you start to see things that fit into these categories things that we do best and maybe aren't as important to other people but are as important to us and broadly they tend to fit into three categories, so as we look at these they had start to come up with a couple of them because a couple categories nurturing our careers so doing work we're passionate about and getting better at that work we're passionate about, right? We wantto be better at our camera we wantto learn tio know our cameras so well weaken we can fly it blind eso nurturing our careers is one nurturing our relationships is another so clearly reading to the daughter reading books that your mother read to you that's about nurturing your relationships, that's another category and finally nurturing ourselves. This is also a big one to doing things that makes us happy to be alive, right things that really get in touch of who with who we are and also fitting in that category things we can only weaken do other people can't do for us taking care of ourselves, so getting enough sleep exercising no one could exercise for you unfortunately, so the key question of time management the key question what will be talking about in all our sessions today is how it can spend more time on these things less time on other things so how can we spend as many of our hundred sixty eight hours as possible nurturing our careers, nurturing our relationships, nurturing ourselves how can we spend as little time as possible on things that are not nurturing our careers things that are not nurturing our relationships and things that are not nurturing ourselves? So these air complicated questions it is not easy to change habits it is not easy to change how we're spending our time however there are strategies that we can all use will talk about these over the course of the day but broadly they fit into two categories so first and above all you want to play offense with your time it's when we're busy it often feels like we're constantly playing defense right? We're constantly worried about defense we're figuring out ways to end meetings quickly we're figuring out ways to put our cell phones by the door so we don't have to hunt for them on the way out and defense isn't bad defense is important right defense is necessary it's necessary to play this game of life but ultimately it is not sufficient to win you have to actually be scoring points you have to be playing offense with your time and with time you play offense by blocking in the important stuff first so time remember our time logs looking forward to the next hundred sixty eight hours? It is a blank slate yes, you have to eat and sleep so those are a few bits of time that are spoken for if you have children or elderly parents were dependent on you kind of to make sure that you sleep too but beyond that you largely control what goes into your time everything is the result of choices we have made or will make and if we have made choices once chances are we can choose differently if we want to so you know if I want to get my novel published I probably shouldn't be editing it after I answer all my email right? I should probably do it first those of you have read stephen covey's the late stephen covey's seven habits of highly effective people were just talking about the big rocks thing in the intro you know he talks about this this image of of a jar and so here's my jar you can see that artistic stuff is not my my strong suit and so we have these big racks and we have a small rocks we're trying to fit them into the jar so if I start by putting these little rocks in little rocks little rex and I have my big racks up they don't fit right they'll fit there's nowhere they can go but if I start with my big rocks oh hey they all said I can't even fit the little ones around it that's how it all fits and and so obviously this is a metaphor for life and as we're talking today we'll find out that a lot of things a lot of things we talk about our metaphors for life everything is a metaphor for life. S o if you put the big stuff in first if you put your core competency activities in first you will be amazed at all that can fit in your life without you feeling crazed or harried. All right, so we think back to the woman who was running the multi million dollar business and had the six kids I mean, she did all sorts of other things too, like she was training with the personal trainers is volunteering and the reason is that those were pretty much the on ly things she did write, so every minute of her business time was focused on growing her business a nurturing her employees so that they could do a lot of the work of the business so she could focus on making it grow bigger and bigger. Her time with her children was very focused on how am I investing in this relationship right? She wasn't doing a lot of her housework, for instance that was not what she wanted to spend her time on she wanted to spend her time at home really investing those relationships that linen first, so if we think about it we put the big rocks in even if we don't put any small rocks in it's all good that's how it all if it's so, think about your core competencies, the activities that you do to nurture your career, to nurture your relationships and to nurture yourself as you're looking at your list of one hundred dreams and thinking of how you're spending your time now start asking, what could you block in over the next week? Right? What activities could you block in that would nurture your career, nurture your relationship and nurture yourselves? What is really a priority for you? And if you think about it blank slate, one hundred sixty eight hours blank, I'm guessing you confined three to devote to your personal passions I'm guessing you confined five to ten to really invest in your relationships, right to be playing with your kids, reading with your kids, talking with your partner, spending time with your close friends. I'm guessing you could find five to ten hours for that. If you're working forty to fifty hours a week, I'm guessing you could find five of those hours to really spend nurturing your career. Thinking about how you want to advance your career, how to grow your organization that's not a lot of time, you know, five hours on that five hours and that five hours and that fifteen hours that is less than one tenth of your hundred sixty eight hours the time is there and yet that would completely transform your life but then and I know this is the big question what about everything else, right? What about everything else? We can't make more time we could make more money perhaps, but we can't make more time. So if something is not a core competency, all these things we have in our lives that are not core competencies what can we do with them? Well, it's a three part strategy here, right? First we can ignore it. This is a surprisingly underutilized strategy if you don't think something is a good use of your time, you could just not do it, see what happens. Maybe earth will crash into the son. I don't know that would be something to find out, wouldn't it? But I'm guessing that probably won't happen so that's an option second, we can minimize it. This is a lot of what traditional time management strategies deal with and we will certainly discuss tips for this. We can discuss tips and the questions we can discuss tips in the next few sessions as well and last we can outsource it all right, so it's not our core competency maybe somebody else could do it people are sometimes a little bit resistant on this last one laura cost money to outsource and that's true but you know, two things first that cost money and you make money, what a coincidence, right? It's not like it cost some currency that you have no access to, right, and second, while it costs money to outsource, it does not cost anything to lower your standards, so that works as well. So just think about what we've been talking about here over this this past little bit of time we've seen that we have one hundred sixty eight hours in a week, it is more than enough time to work hard and to play hard and get enough sleep. Those have seen why we have trouble figuring out where the time really goes on. We've learned a strategy for how to having a better sense of where that time goes. We've thought about what we want to spend more time doing things that are on our list of one hundred dreams and figured out what might be our core competencies. Those are things that are nurturing our career, nurturing our relationships and nurturing ourselves. We've learned that we should play offense with our time and block these things in first, and learned that we should ignore, minimize and outsource everything else, because if we do these things first, we'll have a lot more time than we think so just just trying to get a little bit more practical with it. Uh, so this is kind of small, I know you can't really see it. I kept track of my time for several days. I kept track of all my time for the last week, but we're going to study four days in the course of our sessions here. So this was tuesday, september twenty fourth on this was actually my four year old's birthday. He turned he turned for I have a six year old of a four year old ninety two year old, so we'll see a few things on here are is the two year old j is the six year old s is the is the four year old so way zoomed in a little bit on the morning here, probably because we'll be talking about mourning's, we'll be coming back to this, probably eso here we have this was wednesday. This is wednesday, so wednesday I was up a wee bit early with my toddler having a bit of trouble sleeping. I'm sure those of you with young children, I've never experienced the head it all never, never right now your kids sleeps perfectly absolutely all right, so you know, I got up got rocked her back to sleep, I tried to go back to sleep, you noticed this was a half hour production didn't really happen draft on dh finally went back to sleep then then got up and I was fortunately not too early in morning for me had some time with the kids we had breakfast together. I ok, I had a pretty good morning. I practice my creative live speeches number three and four we wrote number four if you email checks, but mostly under control. Good morning had lunch with my kids there with the baby sitter during the day and then have lunch with them. Lots of talk with the letter b it's letter be weakened preschool way had lots of discussion of the letter b way answered some some blogged comments. Uh, got to running clothes, went for a run. Let's, let's talk through this, though are let's let's look at what we've got on I'll try and read some of the things for you you can see in the afternoon. Here I am, uh doing a lot more email in the afternoon then I seem to do in the morning that ever happened for people. Yeah, start getting a lot more email in the afternoon. You start taking more frequent breaks in the afternoon than in the morning. Uh, my my evening, you can see that I am doing full on kid time, lots of reading and playing with the kids um, and then, you know, things get a little bit discombobulated and they're so that's life that that happens so I wonder if anyone wants to share any details of their daily lives and any sort of things you see in your time logs that you would like to talk about yes so I have four dogs that sleep with us and so from the minute I opened my eyes they all open their eyes teo and it's like a race so we have to let them out I mean and I have three cats too, so I've got to let them out of gotta feed the cats I've got to feed them and I've got to manage all of their crazy energy while I'm usually doing this when I let them out I took in a load of laundry you know I start the coffee maker like I'm doing so many things putting away the dishes so my first I'd say half an hour to forty five minutes is like a circus yeah on ben I like, you know, when I sit down with that cup of coffee maybe an hour later I'm just kind of trying to take a breath, you know, before jumping into everything but gosh, I mean it just that's a that's kind of crazy way to start every day it is a kind of crazy we have start every day but but you love your animals yes and and so I mean, the first thing to think about this is like, well, what would be a different version of life, right, which would be that the dogs weren't sleeping with you or you didn't have as many dogs would that be an appealing vision of life? You know, it would not. So so you have this reality which you've chosen, and you're embracing, and there are certain downsides to it, perhaps in terms of how it starts your day. Um, but you know that you're saying, well, I'm so grateful to have these docks, right? I'm grateful to have them here and to have these animals with me, and so when you have that, then you can sort of say, well, I know it's going to be done in half an hour, right? It will all be over in half an hour. I'm surfing the wave until I get to that point where it's over, but I just accept this as part of the maybe trade off I make for for having these sorts of things. Yeah, wonderful when it passed over here. Yes. So mornings for me are my most productive it's when my brain is actually working, right? I can well use the proper words for what I'm trying to get done, eh, so I can right my block post I can put together newsletters and that sort of thing as well as doing a lot of projects for other people that maybe take a little bit more brain structure on dive just recently realized that to the point where I'm having a hard time of changing my mornings that I actually do get those things done yeah, but this already has already ok it's ok to schedule out your day that much and to say ok, I'm going to be awake from six to seven before my daughter gets up and do the things that I could do with that time that time yeah that's wonderful that you you figured that out I mean that's really what comes from studying how you spend your time right that you look at where the time is really going and you can start to make different choices with it will certainly talk about different choices we could make with our mornings and with different times during the day but just knowing where the time goes is amazing insight you see things that you would never have imagined. I mean, like I said, I'm checking email all afternoon why did why am I doing that that's a good question why am I doing what? Well, it's better than I do in the afternoon that morning if I figured out that I can work in the morning and really use that time. In the mornings, we talked about three questions. You what people? Like most of other settles. I'm very curious. What do people like most about their schedules? As you think about how you're spending your time? What do you like most? Yeah. When I passed the microphone down to cheryl well, it's, a double edged sword. I like the flexibility, but they also the flexibility creates this multitasking activity which can derail may. Yes, s o, for example, is thinking, when you're talking about your dog's interrupting, you know, I had a day where I had scheduled out my day. I had some work I needed to do to get stuff writing to do a proposal to write the proposal. And all of a sudden, things started popping as I was listening to this formacion like, oh, I need to go look up that person I need to figure this out. And I purposely decided to listen to this information outside of my home office. S I wouldn't be attracted by email and phone and everything else. But in order to look up this information, I tried it back to the on just taking mail for just just five minutes is that place of temptation lace of temptation was learning you totally so the flexibility kind of put me in that place where they said all these things got in my head so later on the evening I'm trying to wind down my brain starts popping again yeah and then I look up and it's almost two o'clock good morning out where did those four hours just go? It is such a you know it is the blessing and the curse of having flexibility and how we work, right? Because in the old days there was a line you were at the office, you were at home, never the twain shall meet, right? And so once you left you were you were done like you had to be done, so sometimes you have to stay late because you bad finish like before you even in fact one of my first jobs, I worked at usa today for a year and in some ways you're working at a daily papers a little bit stressful but in others is really relaxed because when you leave it's done, I think that paper has to be done or otherwise there's no paper the next morning like people kind of expect to see it in their in their news boxes, and so it has to be done but then you don't like there's nothing else you could do the press is air rolling like people don't actually yell stop the presses on with any sort of frequency so that you know I like that kind of that separation I don't have that at all in my life now we look at the way I was spending my time hey I know we can't see it so we'll just have to trust me on this that from a fifty two ten fifty at night I was working right because the kids went down on my home office is there I have my email I have my computer it's there so I may as well work right that's what I've had this time I have stuff I need to do something to go work is that the most relaxing thing I could have done with time time probably not so it really is a double edged sword but I kind of think it's I like this world better because it enables things like here on tuesday I'm working then I go to my son's school ten thirty to eleven thirty two a school toe read and to have cupcakes at his preschool right I can do that I'm not having to take the whole day off to do that a limited day off it's just a knauer off to do that so I kind of like this well and I think that you know sometimes that back and forth nature is part of it it's the price we pay their ways though to minimize it and we can talk about those more yes, I would love to take some questions from home great we're getting some logistical questions actually ahead in regards to how we keep track of our schedule. Yes, mad panda said do you record your time log as you go for accuracy or do you reflect at the end of the day and jot it down? Similarly, philip belgium said you're using like what looks to be excel, but do you know some maps when can use and export that that way you can keep your time log everywhere that is a good question there are a couple of time tracking aps maybe if people have suggestions that they'd like to share because I'm sure people have a better sense of this than I do because I don't even have any aps on my phone I have a complete technological luddite here so that's, why I use I in fact I often don't even use excel I just write it down in a notebook it really is whatever works for you, so if you are the kind of person who likes to reflect at the end of the day that's probably you're going to lose some amount of detail because you're probably not going to remember that, you know two o five two to ten I checked my email and then I worked from two ten two to twenty and then I hopped up and check my email again you're not going to remember that you're more think broadly about where the time went so reflecting at the end of the day you lose some of that granularity on the other hand you save a life time right? Because taking a step back from your work and filling this out does take time it does take effort and it distracts you a little bit from from what you're doing so that's kind of a choice you can make certainly the american time use survey what they do is they have people talk through yesterday so there is a certain amount of detail lost because of that and there's also things that people don't actively remember and tell you about like they won't tell you I went to the bathroom at twelve o'clock like that's not something you remember from the previous day but you get broad impressions right and so you get enough detail that is helpful to you so that's the question asked what will be helpful to you and go with that you have any other questions? I have a question from jacqueline who wants to know how to best take advantage of long journeys to get to work so commutes do you have any suggestions how that time can be used I dio have suggested in the commute time can be used this is a big problem for a lot of people because you know we may not be working that many hours necessarily, but the commute adds time to it and getting ready for work adds time to it and if we're not careful that can consume big chunks of our time and we'll definitely talk about that in the next session on how we spend our mornings because that is a big chunk of how we spend our mornings but think about it okay how are you commuting? What would I like to be doing more of with my time and are there ways I can make these things work together? So there's lots things if you want to invest more in your relationships well, the thing people always dio is they call their friends and family on the phone I'm not going to recommend that because being on the phone while driving is dangerous dying is not productive you don't want to do that but think that I was telling you my job at usa today I actually commuted in the afternoons home with my boss so she and I carpooled together in the afternoon and it was great like I was getting face time all the time with her as we're stuck stuck in traffic and you know what the upside for her is that I was keeping her entertained right, like otherwise it was extremely boring commute so the two of us were hanging out together and that was a way to nurture relationships and maybe advance my career I guess too, but that that was something I could use that time for I found people who commute with their spouses. What an awesome idea I mean even if you have to go fifteen minutes out of your way, you are turning what could be wasted time into a daily date. What a wonderful way to start your morning there are people who listen to audio books sometimes to my audio books I I love it when that happens I highly encourage that as a way to make your commute go faster s o s but you can take courses, there are wonderful things like the great courses you could listen, tio you've always said, well, I'd love to learn more about the history of the ancient world. Well, you can listen to that. All right? You can listen to that while you're in your car or even just consciously sees it as me time like I am going to listen to an audio book of some book that I don't want to admit to anyone that I'm actually reading on having to spend my commute time listening to that they're listening to recordings of ball games people do that those are all wonderful ways to spend your commute you might touch on this later today, so if that's the case, you could just let us know we could repeat all sorts of things here all day listening asks any advice for people, she says, like with a d d and I'm thinking, I always tell people I have a I say it jokingly, just because I have trouble sticking to schedule, yeah, who have a hard time sticking with regimes or schedules anything for them to help keep them on track? Well, if there's something I have learned as I look at people's schedules is that people are different, right? We all have different personalities, and sometimes it may be partly related to a medical condition like eighty eight, but in some cases it's just who we are and some people like more regimented things. I like much more regimented things that's why I'm in the field of time management, right? You don't have a whole lot of people who aren't into returns in time go into that sort of field, but other people are a lot more search spontaneous, and they don't like the idea of a schedule because they don't like to stick with it right think it spoils the surprise, you know, I spoil the surprise of finding out awesome thing is gonna happen today if I plan it that way. Cuts me off from something awesome so sometimes people think that way so people like that can trying to give themselves broad categories of time right and then you can choose what you feel like doing in the moment as long as it's within the category so I might say well from eight to ten I'm gonna work on my writing projects that are due within the next two weeks I know what those projects are that are due within the next two weeks but I can choose anyone I want anyone I want for the next two hours what do I feel like working on? I'm gonna work on that right? So it's not so it's not about sticking to a strict schedule it's about sticking to a broad schedule but then doing what you want within that time many others coming in we dio today I can tell you I think one or two more mango seven was asking in terms of creating that list of dreams I wonder is it ok? Tio have something that kind of falls let's see the word he used sequential so learn to run learn how to run for blacks learn how to run a mile learned how to run a half marathon is that ok to do that? Of course of course no one is grading you on your list of one hundred thirty you can have whatever you want on it and if something for you is a goal to run four blocks, you know? Yeah, you have to do that before you can run your first mile you have to run your first mile before you can run your first three miles s so if you want to list those out as goals, that is wonderful to do that in a sort of sequential faction because then you know what the really cool part is of the list of one hundred dreams crossing them off, right as you go through and say, hey, I made it to morocco and took my cooking class cross it off, it feels wonderful, right? So I made a list a couple of years ago, I published it on my blogged laura vanderkam dot com of my hundred dreams and you know, by the time you're at the ends, the first are huge ones, right? That that take a little bit of work to actually pull off because they're things you've been thinking I'm forever by the time you one hundred you're getting kind of into extremely doable dreams things like own a bike. Well, you know, if I want to own a bike there's a very easy way to make that dream happen, then you buy a bike on dso, but having that list was like, oh, well, here's a bunch of them that I can do right so one was you know, go visit the highline that new park in new york and I did that I wanted to buy a bike I did that um going camping this weekend with my kids that should be entertaining we'll talk more about that later but that that was on there is something I wanted to do so it could be whatever you want and hopefully you will start crossing them off you will start knocking a few of them off because as you d'oh you can feel great about yourself and then you can start adding new ones terrific that's great! We're getting a lot of positive feedback online and we just wanted to share a little bit of that with eu mango seven says I so need this course don't we all wait and lala says can't wait to get to the part where we talk about getting the partner to use their time or in the way they really want which is interesting and mad panda says I got a feeling this time log is going to give me a reality check on my life is always a reality check I have done this several weeks over the past few years kept track of several weeks I still learn something new every single time yeah I've already gotten so much I love this idea of being able to fit the really important things and without feeling crazed or harry because I feel crazed and carried a lot, and that hundred dreams and aligning, you know how my time is being spent to ensure that it maps. I feel we'll just kind of improve my quality of life. So I'm looking forward to seeing what's next one of you.

Class Description

People love to complain about how busy they are. They lament that there are only 24 hours in a day—not enough time to get the sleep they need, do their work, spend time with their family and friends, participate in leisure activities, or pursue their dreams and add meaning to their lives.

Author, blogger and speaker Laura Vanderkam begs to differ. According to her research, we have more time each week than we think (168 hours to be exact), but the problem is we aren’t aware of how we’re spending it. She argues that by logging our activities and seeing exactly what we do each day, we can begin to use our hours for the things that will nurture our careers, our relationships and ourselves.

Vanderkam focuses first on the mornings, which the most successful people use to get critical tasks done first and set the tone for the rest of the day. She then discusses the importance of planning out our weekends so we can have fun, recharge and rejuvenate. Finally, she offers seven daily disciplines for making work hours more productive. By the end of this one-day workshop, you’ll be ready to break your old patterns and use your time more wisely.

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Emulate the habits of successful people and create a more fulfilling life.
  • Create and fill out a daily diary to map out how you spend your time.
  • Identify what your dreams are and how you can pursue them.
  • Understand your core competencies and capitalize on them.
  • Figure out what your priorities are and how to make sure they come first.
  • Get in touch with what makes you feel happy and satisfied.
  • Play offense with your time by blocking in the important stuff.
  • Ignore, minimize or outsource the things you don’t want to do.
  • Stop wasting your evening hours and go to bed earlier so you can get up earlier.



Listening to the free on-air version. She's got a good presentation style - nice to get someone who doesn't have the "ums" and "uhs" every other sentence. She's engaging but also delivers good content. It's not the same old time management stuff: she's got realistic ideas and innovative suggestions. I like the way she refers to published research, too.

vol leo

This class was amazing! A must for anyone that's at a stand still in life! Awesome!


This is a really useful class. It's pretty involved but you walk away with a useful plan for how to more effectively start your day.