007: Time Management with No Excuses

One of my favourite podcasts is Jocko Podcast, created and produced by retired Navy Seal Jocko Willink, and Echo Charles. If you’re not familiar with Jocko, he’s also the co-author of Extreme Ownership, and author of Discipline Equals Freedom.

I only mention Jocko’s podcast because much of what I’ve learned and applied to my teaching career has been from the military, although I never had the privilege to serve. Lessons from the military seems to be Jocko’s bread and butter for his show. Recently I listened to podcast episode #108. A listener asked Jocko about taking extreme ownership in a potentially untenable situation. In his response, Jocko touched on one thing that literally stopped me to think. Jocko said, “If you take ownership of the time, you will have time because you’ll make time.” This seems like a ridiculously simple answer, but Jocko continued, “Are there people who are working three jobs? Yes. Are there things they’re going to have to edit out of their schedule? Yes. One of the first things you should edit out of your schedule… YouTube… social media… internet surfing. We waste time doing [mindless] things.”

I’m horrible with the very concept of wasting time. I tend to allow television and the internet take over my world for sustained periods, so when Jocko said this I had to admit he was right. If we want to be our best selves, the best for our family, and the best for our students, we must take charge of our time. The following are 3 actions to help you take charge of your time.

Action 1 – Cut out Bullshit

This action is short, sweet, and blunt because it’s simple.

How useful is YouTube when not using it as a quick reference to fix something in your home? Beyond the occasional date-night movie, how useful is Netflix? What about Facebook – When was the last time you used it to truly connect with others in a significant way? Point being, these types of distractions are not helpful, not a bit. Cut out the bullshit and focus on what matters.

Cut out the bullshit and focus on what matters.

Action 2 – Schedule Your Time

Jocko mentions this many times throughout his podcasts. If you are to take charge of time, you must be intentional with your time. This means you must take ownership of your time through scheduling. This doesn’t mean you must schedule every second of every minute of every hour. Rather, you must determine the tasks you must absolutely get done, consider how much time each task may take, and plan your day accordingly. Scheduling your time also means planning time for workouts and time with family.

After you’ve mapped out your day, STICK TO IT! Be relentless and unforgiving. Don’t let others take your time away. If you planned appropriately, then you can say NO to any external requests (emergency problems withstanding). Beyond social media and other forms of entertainment, people can create a massive time suck. Next time Bob approaches you for a task, consult your schedule first, then give your response. My Head Teacher and colleagues have become accustomed to me checking my calendar before giving a response to requests, and all are respectful of my process because if I say yes then they know I definitely have time.

If you planned appropriately, then you can say NO to any external requests.

Action 3 – Be Reflective and Relentless

Make time each morning, and each evening to check your targets. What have you achieved in the day, and what fell through, if anything. Your workout and family time should not have been impacted. If so, strategise so it doesn’t happen again.

When you reflect on what your day was like, schedule what you need to do the next day. Schedule this the evening before. I’ve begun doing this in my office before I go to bed. This allows me to forget everything so I can get some quality sleep. The next morning, after you’ve completed your morning routine, check you schedule against your targets, make any necessary adjustments, then GET AFTER IT!

You’ve taken the time to plan your day as best possible, so now you just need to be disciplined, and… RELENTLESS! I’ve already stated this for Action 2, but it cannot be overstated: Don’t let distractions get the best of you. This includes media, other people, and yourself (yes, yourself). Do everything you can to get after your set targets which you have scheduled. Then, at the end of the day, reflect on how you did. Rinse and repeat.

…check you schedule against your targets, make any necessary adjustments, then GET AFTER IT!

Hopefully these actions help when working to complete targets. The most important thing to remember is to cut the bullshit out of your day, and focus on a solid schedule. Be disciplined in mind and action, and you will be successful

Until next time!

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