Industry News Management

How to Manage Your Time, Attention and Energy

Are You Investing These Assets in Ways That Promote Business and Personal Growth?

Order Reprints

This MTD exclusive was provided by Greg Ring, an accomplished, executive-level professional with more than 20 years of tire industry experience in the areas of organizational development, corporate sales, management, leadership and public speaking.


When many of us hear the term “investment strategy,” we think of personal finance. As a business owner, the three most valuable personal assets you use and invest each day are your time, attention and energy. 


It may sound simple on the surface, but managing these assets will create long-lasting value - not just for your dealership, but also for you and your family. Being thoughtful and intentional about how you invest your time, energy and attention makes all of your other personal and business assets possible. It all starts here. 


Each day when you wake up and your feet hit the floor, these assets are yours and yours only. Only you can decide how you choose to invest them. At night, when you go to sleep, these personal assets have been depleted. And while these assets are finite, they are renewable. You get a fresh supply each day. 


Thinking of time, attention and evergy as your most valuable assets might require a mindset change. For starters, do you have enough time in the day? The idea of successful multi-tasking is a myth. If you do three things at once, you can only give a third of your attention to each thing. Your energy is fixed. What are your priorities and what is truly important to you? 


Time. There have been thousands of books published about time management and there is an entire industry focused on teaching people how to better manage their time. One of my earliest and most memorable lessons in time management occurred when I missed an assignment to submit a one-page update to my boss. When he asked why, I gave a terrible excuse. I told him, “I did not have the time.” 


My boss, who was skilled at teaching in the moment, referred to our wristwatches and reminded me that we both had the same amount of time. He recommended that I never use that excuse again if I wanted to keep the excellent job I had and reach my full potential. He remains a great friend to this day and oddly, does not remember teaching me this lifelong lesson. 


Time is the one constant you never need to question because it never changes. Here are a few things to consider: 


Do not allow yourself to make excuses. If someone else is getting more out of their time, ask questions about how they are more efficient and learn from them.And be on time, no matter what. You know it’s important to be on time in your business life. Make it your business to also be on time for family commitments. If you say you will be home for dinner at six, keep that commitment - just as you would for an important meeting with a customer or a supplier. There are two types of people in this space - those who are on time and those who are late. 


You only can manage how you invest your time. If you want to improve your health and reach your personal fitness goals, simply wake up 30 minutes earlier each day. No excuses! If you want 30 minutes a day to meditate, drink coffee or generally have some quiet time, just get up 30 minutes earlier. Remember that you have the time. It’s up to you on how you invest it. 


If you say yes to something, you automatically say no to something else. It is OK to say no to things that will take your time and not move you any closer to your goals. Be as careful with your time as you are with your money. 


Keep a journal for two weeks, tracking your time in 15-minute segments. After two weeks, carefully review and make additions and deletions, as needed. Are you supporting your priorities in how you invest your time? If not, make changes. 


Finally, manage your time carefully. Make time to support your top priorities. And don’t forget to reserve time for family, friends and fun. Have you always wanted to hike through a national park? Pack a bag and get moving! Stay in balance. 


Attention. Distractions are everywhere. News outlets want your attention. Advertisers want your attention. Your personal devices want your attention. Microsoft once conducted a survey that I like to call “the goldfish study.” It revealed that since 2000, the average person’s attention span has gone from 12 seconds to eight seconds. A goldfish has the attention span of nine seconds! 


The U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pa., teaches top military officers important concepts regarding attention and focus. They teach to first “zoom out before zooming in.” In this case, the goal is to review your stated priorities, get the big picture and then zoom in with laser focus to achieve your goals. Here are some attention investment tips: 


Be always fully present with others. Do not glance at your cell phone or watch. If you’re talking with somebody, let the phone ring. Developing the discipline to manage your attention will build relationships and produce more effective results. 


Zoom meetings will not be going away anytime soon. Leave your camera on and stay involved. You have most likely observed a good meeting facilitator call on a participant who has been off-camera or muted for a good share of the meeting. Being non-attentive is a poor reflection and will delay goals. 


Also remember that multi-tasking is doing several things at the same time, with each getting a share of your attention. Giving your tasks full attention is faster and provides higher-quality results with fewer mistakes. 


And lastly, listening, asking questions and staying engaged makes you much more effective and supports your time investment. 


Energy. In business and in life, there are two sources of energy - you either make your own or you catch it from other people. Like your other personal assets of time and attention, your energy is finite each day and needs to be protected and carefully used. 


Have you ever had a long, challenging day but arrived home feeling satisfied and energized because you completed a project or made progress on something important? Or maybe you arrived home tired and frustrated after spending the day running in circles, chasing unimportant details and never really completing the important tasks on your list? 


The difference in how you felt and what you accomplished boils down to how well you protect and used your energy. In Jon Gordon’s book, “The Energy Bus,” he explains the concept of energy vampires. They can be friends or co-workers who have a way of surrounding you and then draining your energy. Gordon recommends being kind to these people, but not hanging out with them. Protect and prolong your energy by spending time with positive-energy people. Some energy investment tips include: 


Build some flexibility into your schedule. Unexpected needs and issues naturally come up and will need your time, attention and energy. 


Take on large projects with a detailed, daily work plan to avoid energy meltdown. Be disciplined with respect to your work day and start fresh tomorrow. Take things one at a time. 


Take breaks and ask for help. Get outside and take a walk to get the blood flowing and recharge your energy. Twenty minutes in the sunshine can do wonders for your energy and creativity. And when you need help, ask for it. Others can help you get through a challenge and that can help recharge your energy and attitude. 


Remember that nutrition and exercise are necessary for strong and consistent energy. Again, there are thousands of books on these subjects. Do your homework, develop a plan and follow it. Start with small changes and you may be surprised at how soon you will feel more energy. Keep a healthy balance of work and home. And make it a priority to get the right amount of rest. 


Managing your time, attention and energy is essential to meeting your business and personal goals. 


Greg Ring is an accomplished, executive-level professional with more than 20 years of tire industry experience in the areas of organizational development, corporate sales, management, leadership and public speaking. He has worked with all levels of organizations, including C-suite executives at Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies. Ring can be reached at GR Consulting LLC via h.greg.ring@gmail.com

 

Related Articles

Tire Dealer Survival Guide: How to Manage COVID-19 Vaccinations, Employee Privacy and More

You must login or register in order to post a comment.