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Chris LoCurto

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June 9, 2014

Life Hack to Make Money and Gain Time

I have the blessing of coaching people pretty much every week of my life. And yet, coaching is not what I would have said I’d being doing when I was younger. After years of coaching people, I can say it never gets old!

Life Hack for Time and Money, Chris LoCurto.com

This past week in one of my sessions I worked with a company who’s owner was struggling with time due to death by a thousand slashes. He has so many disruptions in his day he finds himself at times working until 4AM to solve problems.

As you can imagine, he’s considerably frustrated with time lost both in his business and his personal life. And just like all of us, he has incredibly legit reasons why it’s like this.

Here are just 7 things I shared with him to gain control of his time, which in turn will make the company more money. They’ll do the same for you. 

  • Close your day out – I’m starting with this because it will help make better sense of the other steps. If at all possible, block the last 30 minutes of your day so you can “wrap-up” your day. This gives you time to go through any emails, calls, or whatever needs to be addressed before you leave. This doesn’t mean that all emails and calls are attended to, it just means you tackle the ones that have to be. Reserve at least 5 minutes for the next step.
  • Tomorrow’s to-do list – Yes, I want you doing a brain dump and list the most important things that must be done tomorrow, and then prioritize it. So much time loss comes from bouncing from one thing to another and not having serious momentum. When you have it listed out, you attack and don’t stop until it’s done.
  • Schedule your to-do list – My buddy Crystal Paine of MoneySavingMom.com shared with me that she schedules her to-do list by time slots. And here’s the best part. She reschedules it up to 3-times a day. When something disrupts the flow of her day, which happens to all of us, she goes through her list by adjusting priority and rescheduling. Genius!
  • Block off “you” time – It is also vitally important for you to block off time for you to do whatever it is that makes you money! If part of your job is to produce, not just lead, then you have to make sure that you have as much uninterrupted time as possible in your day to produce. Otherwise, you end up working incredibly long hours because you spent your day being a firefighter instead of following these steps.
  • Team meetings – Quite often the reason a leader dies a death of a thousand slashes is because the team doesn’t have enough direction from that leader. Weekly team meetings are usually necessary, but you might even have to have daily ones as well. Summarize the previous day, any changes the team might not know about, and give direction for the day ahead. This should keep a lot of interruptions from happening.
  • Set healthy boundaries – It is not uncommon for a leader, entrepreneur, or team member to allow others to unnecessarily suck up their time. If a client, which might also be an internal client, has a habit of dropping in on you whenever they want to discuss the job you’re doing for them, then you need to let them know that scheduling time with you would be more productive. Think of it this way. An 8-hour road trip becomes a 10-hour road trip when you add a bunch of stops to it.
  • Teach your team to solve problems – In the first 90 days of a team member’s time with me, I will answer almost any question they have. After that, I start asking them questions and telling them to bring solutions to their problem as well. In other words, when a team member needs an answer on something, I ask how they would handle it. This causes them to start force-of-habit thinking to always come up with an answer first. You’ll be surprised at how many times they will actually solve the issue on their own.

After discussing these 7 things and more, my client made a comment that the time saved will actually gain him $50,000.00 in billable hours. That, my friends, is something I like to hear!

Question: What tips do you have to save time and make money?

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  • http://www.shawnandrews.net dr_shawncandrews

    Writing up tomorrow’s to do list was a big help for me. There is something calming about going to bed knowing what you are going to be doing the next day,

  • http://www.kerrickhutchison.com Kerrick Hutchison

    Great post Chris – always informative and gets me thinking! This hits home for me. I recently had a health scare from stress and started to follow these ideas soon after which has given me more time and helped me make more money, all the while relieving stress. Setting boundaries with everyone (team, clients, customers) and taking ME time has been the biggest benefit to a life more lived with intent!

    Also carrying around a notepad to write down thoughts that randomly pop in my head helps me remember money making ideas and implementing them later. It correlates with a to-do list, but allows me to put creativity on paper and implement at a later date.

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      I love it Kerrick! So glad to hear it helps!

  • http://www.twitter.com/danieldecker Daniel Decker

    good stuff

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Thanks brother!

  • Jason Fancy( Jman)

    I work full time, run a blog at
    forkliftcentral.wordpress.com
    and am a busy dad. Margin is a scarce commodity, but Chris is right with these hacks. Especially closing out the day. I also like to get to work in time to take 15 mins or so getting ready to “launch”.

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Thank you Jason!

  • mkokc

    Excellent post Chris! (And an incredibly clickable headline) Last week, after completing a huge project, I went in and blew up my daily calendar, looking to add these types of big blocks. So far, close out the day is THE best addition I’ve made. It gives you peace of mind on the way home and a jumpstart on the next morning.
    Keep up the great work sir!

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      And THAT’S worth it right there!

  • http://www.fivefoldfatherhood.com/ Ricardo Butler

    I pretty much do all of these. I just need to increase in the area of meeting with my team and communicating with them more.

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      That’s great to hear Ricardo!

  • http://jonstolpe.com/ Jon Stolpe

    I think there comes a time when entrepreneurs realize the need for a team. I haven’t quite reached that point, but I can see it’s coming. At some point, I could see how an VA could be helpful in doing some tasks on my list, so I can concentrate on my passions.

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Hey Jon, I always look at adding people as a way to duplicate myself. What am I doing, or someone on my team, that if we added another person, they could kill it in a way that cost justifies their hire. Can they bring in money, or allow me or someone else to bring in money that pays for them.

  • http://www.lilykreitinger.com/ Lily Kreitinger

    I just figured it out. I need a team at work, one at my business and another one at home to delegate stuff to and I’ll have all this figured out in no time! :)) Seriously, great info.

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      BAH!!! If only right?

  • Keith Cook

    Schedule Your To Do list…GREAT IDEA!

  • Adam Gragg

    Good stuff. What has probably helped me the most is the 4 quadrants model (urgent/not urgent/important/not important). I first read about it in Steven Covey’s book First Things First. I try and make sure my list of activities are primarily not urgent but important.

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Absolutely Adam. it changes your whole day when you focus that way, doesn’t it?

      • Adam Gragg

        It sure does. If you take the time to identify the not urgent/important tasks, focus on those, and delegate other tasks- you see results. Slowing down enough to figure out the not urgent/important has been my challenge.

    • http://ClassicallyTrained.net Jon D Harrison

      a solid & classic approach Adam!

  • http://ClassicallyTrained.net Jon D Harrison

    I play Tetris.

    Seriously.

    It actually contains a life changing time management technique that you can use today : )

    http://classicallytrained.net/tetris-time-management/

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      HAHAHA…I’m gonna have to believe you on that Jon. :)

      • http://ClassicallyTrained.net Jon D Harrison

        For real.
        ……
        ……

  • http://www.mattmcwilliams.com/ Matt McWilliams

    Chris, I *finally* reached the point early this year when my first thought on a to-do was “who can I assign this to.”

    I’m almost 35 years old, dude. For my first 7 years in the marketplace, I did it all myself, then I gradually unloaded some stuff.

    Now, it’s my default.

    I cannot tell you the difference that has made.

    The other key phrase I’ve learned to use is “I trust you” with my team. I rarely get asked to make decisions that aren’t critical.

    98 times out of 100, they make the right decision. The 2 times aren’t fatal and the small blip is worth me not having to make the other 98. Even if it was only 90% of the time…it will still be worth it.

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      AAAAAAMEN! All things that one must do to be an incredible entrepreneur or leader. Great stuff Matt!

    • http://www.lilykreitinger.com/ Lily Kreitinger

      35??!! Man, you’re old.

      • http://www.mattmcwilliams.com/ Matt McWilliams

        But I don’t feel a day over 33.

      • http://www.fivefoldfatherhood.com/ Ricardo Butler

        Wait! I’m 35 and I am NOT old! (Excuse the light balding in the back and the gray starting to show in the beard. lol!)

        • http://www.lilykreitinger.com/ Lily Kreitinger

          I just give him a hard time because he talks like he’s 92. I got a few more years of life experience than both of you :)

          • http://www.fivefoldfatherhood.com/ Ricardo Butler

            WHAT! Now I’m a young guy!?! lol! Just kidding! Christ bless you all. Just having fun today in this life!

  • http://www.faith-athletics.com Robby Robbins

    Good Stuff. I shared this with my wife, She is a graphic designer that works from home, also home schools our kids. She has a very difficult job doing both, which if not careful will suck up her day then she wonders what happened to the day. PS. I an not without fault thought, I need the same help with my craziness. thx

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      She has a tough job for sure! That’s why Crystal does what she does with her to-do list. I’ve picked it up and it’s fantastic!

  • Armando V. Duran

    Set healthy boundaries. That’s what I need to do. Thanks Chris.

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Absolutely Armando!

  • http://www.cookietemptations.com Jennifer Young

    Thank you Chris! I’m exhausted and I needed some steps to follow.

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Haha…see, God had you in mind! :)

      • http://www.cookietemptations.com Jennifer Young

        :)

  • http://www.kentlapp.com/ Kent Lapp

    Excellent!

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Thanks Kent!

  • http://www.mattham.com/ Matt Ham

    A FANTASTIC list here Chris. I’ve had to be very diligent with my time lately, particularly with my triathlon training. It has caused me to be laser focused on my task when I’m actually doing them.

    Something that has helped me out as well is batching – combining to-do’s that can effectively be done together.

    One example is within my insurance business. If prospecting for term life sales is a priority, yet I have to answer phone calls about auto insurance changes, I try to batch the two. If I can combine these two it helps accomplish both tasks.

    The last example is reading while I ride my bike indoors. I’ve got a cycling trainer that allows me to ride inside and accomplish everything from answering emails to reading to listening to new material.

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      I love it because batching doesn’t have the same time loss effect as multi-tasking. You’re essentially adding a relevant piece to what you’re already doing, instead of taking on another task. Good stuff brother!

  • William Reed

    My biggest time savings which allowed me as Chris said to add a ton more value came through not trying to multi-task.

    This helped me win not just at worm but also at home.

    When multi-tasking I would not be “fully present” either in a meeting or just nibbling at tasks. Staying focus allowed me to do a better job communicating vision to my direct reports and when working allowed me to kill tasks quick and keep the ball moving and build team momentum.

    Thanks Chris for all you have done for me. I wish there was a way I could repay you.

    • http://www.ChrisLoCurto.com Chris LoCurto

      My pleasure William! And great input! I discovered the same thing! In fact, I taught that to my team because after careful scrutiny, I discovered that anyone trying to multi-task was actually costing themselves and possibly their team more time.