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The 2-Hour Solution from 30,000 ft.
by On May 29, 2012

My first post on getting the 2-Hour Solution back into my life generated a lot of interest from folks.  That is AWESOME!  I’m glad to hear you feel like you have room for improvement.  In the words of Roger Seip, “That FIRES me up!”

The first thing we should do is make sure you have a basic understanding of what the 2-Hour Solution is all about.  In a nutshell, we are talking about taking a chunk of time and dedicating it to laying out how and where you will put forth effort within a specific window of time.  It’s a bit more detailed than that, but based on where we are at in this whole process, that definition should suffice.  For the sake of this post, well be looking at a two week window.

A few things to know and have with you before you start this process (in order of importance):

A One-to-Two Hour Block of Time – Where you can’t and won’t be interrupted

Your Desire to Improve – Because that’s what this is all about.  How much better do you want to be at managing your time?

Your Why – This one is a hot button topic lately, but incredibly important to the process. Why are you here?  Why do you need to be better at managing your time?  Why and where will this effort improve your life?

Your Core Values – What is your foundation; what are YOU all about?

Your Vision – Where do you see yourself a few years down the road?

Your Calendar – It’s the blueprint we’ll work off of to make you super-efficient

If you don’t have all of the above, don’t stress…too much.  To really maximize the process you should have taken the time and effort to identify all of the above.  If you need help with this, a P.A.C.T. course will be a step in the right direction. (Yes, that is a shameless plug for a 100% guaranteed program that will help you identify these things)

The process goes like this: The first thing you do is find a block of time where you can disappear and get unplugged.  No TV, no radio, no social media, no family, no phone, no birds; Angry or otherwise.  This is time to focus on YOU.  Anything that is a distraction during this step of the process will be a distraction in getting things accomplished outside your “bubble”.  Sure, these things probably have importance to you, but like they say on the airplane, you have to put your oxygen mask on before you can take care of others.  Get committed to being 100% focused during this block of time or you’re just setting yourself up for failure when it counts.

Next, take some time to review your Why, your Core Values and your Vision.  Remind yourself what is important to you and why you do what you do.  Reminding yourself of these foundational topics will help as you are prioritizing your activities for the next two weeks.

Next, take a look at your calendar and start to identify, categorize and prioritize all the things you need to do over the course of the next two weeks.  How you do that is up to you.  You might use numbers, colors, pictures, or phrases.  Just keep it consistent and make it mean something to you.  I prioritize my top revenue-generating opportunities and and I use the color green (like $$) to identify them.

Crucial to this step is identifying and prioritizing where you are going to put your efforts.  Meetings, tasks, phone calls, preparation, etc.  It might get overwhelming, and that’s a good thing.  Could be a sign that you are taking on too much.  Here’s a great litmus test to use when identifying and prioritizing your efforts.  Ask yourself the question, “Does doing this move me closer to or further away from my Vision?”

Then identify the time you want to dedicate to personal development.  When are you reading/listening to audio/attending seminars?  This is the time you spend honing your craft and making yourself a better professional.

After that, it starts getting fun.  Once you have all the above items on your calendar, start to look for holes around those activities.  This is your flex time.  This is where you can allow for a schedule change or an unexpected task to get done.  Once you have your flex time nailed down, add your ReCreation (spelled that way on purpose) time.  Daily Exercise, Date Night, Poker Night, Sudoku, whatever.  This is what you do to re-charge and relax.

Sounds like a lot, huh?  It is.  But if you take the time to do this right you will notice something you have even more of than scheduled stuff and that is free time.  By prioritizing and committing to specific times to do the things you NEED to do, it leaves you more time for the stuff you WANT to do.

OK, I realized that we just dropped below 5,000 ft and that was not the point of the post.  If you want to learn a bit more about how others have used this approach, there have been a TON of articles pop up recently.  A couple examples are David Allen’s short video talking about how he takes some time to do this and we recently posted a link on our Facebook page to a distilled 1-hour version of this concept.

Anyone else getting excited about maximizing their calendar?  Considering the fact that summer is right around the corner here in Wisco, I sure am!  Feel free to drop any comments below, or connect with me on Twitter or Facebook.

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