Minions manage their time.
Queens of business get clear with their priorities.
Let me explain.
I believe in the 80/20 principle.
I’ve written about it extensively, but in a nutshell, the 80/20 principle states that roughly 20% of inputs drive 80% of results.
The 80/20 principle is the law that governs my professional life and business.
I spend a lot of time getting super clear on the few inputs, activities, and relationships that drive the lion’s share of our results…
I prioritize them…
And basically, forget about everything else.
As a result of doing this, I don’t have to manage time anymore.
I always have plenty of time.
To demonstrate, I figured I’d show you a picture of my calendar for this week (we have x’d out names to preserve what small shred of privacy this open book has left.)
Behold the calendar of a CEO who has C.I.A (cash, influence and autonomy).
You will note that this week I have a total of 9.6 hours of “officially scheduled time”.
The rest of my week is open. I carefully plan and use this time to: read, think, write, create, nap, get together with team members to talk things over, go snowshoeing, whatever.
Fully 75% of my time is OPEN AND UNSCHEDULED, which means I have a ton of freedom in my life.
Now you might not WANT to have this amount of open, unscheduled time. But I want you to have the FREEDOM and CHOICE to use your time as you wish, versus feeling trapped by your schedule…which is how I used to feel.
Now let’s look at the very same week from February 2018.
This week 3 years ago, I had 29 hours of officially scheduled time.
I’m talking back to back to back appointments. No time to prep for upcoming meetings. No bio breaks. No time to eat a proper lunch.
And very, very little unscheduled time to create, think, read, etc.
I wasn’t running my business. It was running me.
I’m so damn proud of my 2018 self, and I know that she worked super hard to hook up my 2021 self.
But she was tired, overworked, overscheduled and I will be honest, doing a number on her health.
Flash forward 3 years, and I am now practically perfect in every way.
Just kidding. I’m practically perfect in a few ways, and perfectly imperfect in many others.
But here’s what IS true: I make A LOT more money and profit than I did in 2018. The caliber of what we produce has continued to rise every year. I enjoy my business and life much more.
So what changed?
I’m so glad you asked.
In 2018, I had 29 hours of scheduled time — meetings, coaching sessions, classes etc.
Flash forward to 2021 and my unscheduled hours had dropped by 67% to 9.6 hours per week.
My calendar used to make me want to cry. Today I have a lot of open, unscheduled time. It’s pretty awesome.
And it’s not only me. As a team, we don’t slack on weekends, or evenings. We rarely have last-minute emergencies. We have lots of time to prepare for things and we almost never rush.
Meanwhile, the business makes significantly more money, and my hiring has been disproportionate. (I only have two more employees than I did in 2018). This means that not only do we make more revenue, but we make more profit as well.
In SafiWorld, we call this C.I.A — cash, influence, and autonomy.
I’m going to share 5 things that helped me go from overscheduled, overworked and under-relaxed, to a CEO with C.I.A. I hope the following is useful.
1. I niched down even more.
I used to work with women leaders from corporate and women leaders who were entrepreneurs. 2018 was the year I released my corporate women. GAMECHANGER. I saved a lot of time tailoring marketing and programming content to both groups. I THOUGHT my income would go down by cutting my corporate clients but our revenue has risen steadily.
2. I built a PPAM business.
PPAM stands for Premium Price Ascension Model. When you build a PPAM business, you create two or, at the maximum 3 premium-priced offers. You spend 80% of your marketing efforts on ONE of these offers and then upsell or cross-sell into your other offers. No one-offs. I love this model because it’s just so…elegant and efficient. People are clear on what we do, we focus on being excellent at only two things, and our marketing is clear and effective. Rather than being stuck in a desperate hustle to sell, sell, sell, we are able to focus on working with long-term clients we’d take a bullet for. (OK, that last part was dramatic but when you aren’t strung out and overbooked you can be “ride or die” for your peeps in the best, most fun way possible.
3. I communicate my expectations and boundaries MUCH more clearly.
This is a big one. In 2018, there was still a part of me who didn’t want to be disliked or criticized or let people down. I struggled with a desire to be all things to all people. This drove me to make exceptions, customize little things that shouldn’t be customized etc. I thought I was being generous but I was only complicating my life and getting resentful. So I bossed up big time. I am clear about what we will do and not do. When someone is infringing a boundary, I tell them. No drama, just clarity. This has been huge. And what made this possible was…
4. I believe I am enough.
It’s really easy to underestimate just how much worthiness is required to be a CEO with C.I.A…especially if you are a woman. I love my parents but in my household growing up, I didn’t feel I’d receive unconditional love. I thought I was only as worthy as my latest win. I needed a lot of praise. I had worked through these issues enough to be a CEO. But I hadn’t worked through them enough to be a CEO with C.I.A. All I can say is that when you REALLY, TRULY believe you are enough… everything — and I mean everything — changes in a way that is both subtle and profound. Your marketing becomes more authentic. Your programs become more scalable. Your relationships become less complicated. Your life and business become much, much clearer.
5. I have powerful filters.
The biggest problem isn’t knowing what to do. It’s knowing what NOT to do. I used to do too much. Today I have filters — I know the 20% of activities that drive 80% of my results. They are: thinking & planning, writing and speaking. I apply these filters when deciding what not to do. Two other filters I apply are: 1. Is this fun? And 2. Do we have to rush? We love fun and detest rushing. Having filters to help eliminate needless activity is useful.