The concept of the entrepreneurial time system was developed as part of an entrepreneurial coaching organization known as The Strategic Coach. The concepts were created by Dan Sullivan. As a successful entrepreneur, I've successfully used this system since 2008.
In this article, you'll learn more about how entrepreneurs differ from individuals who are not entrepreneurial-minded and practical ideas on how to use the entrepreneurial time system to improve your productivity as an entrepreneur.
How Entrepreneurs Are Different
It's an important concept, because how entrepreneurs manage their time is significantly different than most people. While we live on the same physical planet as others, we view and experience time in a separate reality. Most people live in a world where they trade their time for money. They feel they are only rewarded monetarily based on the amount of effort and time they expend on their job. For example, the amount of time off earned with pay is a reward based on the number of hours they devote to their job. Their raises are based on seniority or merit, and they often amount to very little extra money.
The ability to tolerate risk separates entrepreneurs and those who choose to find and hold traditional employment. There is a clear line that divides the time and effort economy where individuals choose to trade time for a paycheck and the results economy where the rewards are potentially unlimited for entrepreneurs.
While entrepreneurship isn't for everyone because not everyone can tolerate the risk, the same can also be said for the time and effort economy that offers fixed rewards. Entrepreneurs are not only uncomfortable in the effort economy, but they are often downright unhappy.
Why Do So Many Entrepreneurs Go Back to Traditional Jobs?
Yet, many individuals who have a natural entrepreneurial spirit often find themselves moving back into the effort economy and the "safety" of traditional employment because they struggle both with time management and with remaining productive.
One of the most important points to recognize is that everyone has an off day. If that is the issue, you are not a failure as an entrepreneur. However, it is important to also recognize if there are areas where you need to improve. Having practiced the entrepreneurial time system since 2008, I have personally had times where I've fallen off the bandwagon, so to speak, and needed to get back on track. It happens to everyone who is an entrepreneur. The key to success is remembering the principles involved in successful time management and productivity and re-embracing them.
Time management as an entrepreneur does not need to be complicated. It can be simple and elegant. However, they do require that entrepreneurs embrace the results economy as opposed to the effort economy.
Dividing Up Your Day the Entrepreneurial Time System Way
According to Dan Sullivan's entrepreneurial time system, there are three distinct ways that an entrepreneur should divide up their day. As someone who has used the system for 13 years, I can tell you that it has the power to increase your productivity as well as your free time. It's done so for me.
- Free time.
- Focus time.
- Buffer time.
Free time is based on a 24-hour period from midnight to midnight when you do not engage in any sort of business activities at all. This means you do not check your email. You do not take any phone calls. You do not read business books or magazines. You do not engage in anything that has to do with business. Before discovering and implementing the entrepreneurial time system, I was proud of the fact that I didn't "work" on weekends. I actually took vacations! One time when I went to Paris with my family, I stopped at an internet kiosk to check my email. Then, before I knew it, I was responding to issues at the office. Sure, I was physically in Paris, but my mind was in Oklahoma!
You see, the purpose of really engaging in free time is to truly get away and recharge. When you recharge, you can relax. This is the true key to your energy, creativity, drive, and your results as an entrepreneur. If you really want game-changing results, find that free time during the week.
Focus time is a day where 80% of your time is fully focused on whatever it is that actually makes money. When you place 100% of your focus on anything, you're simply better at it. While this seems obvious, we live in a world where multitasking is praised and where a myriad of distractions makes it feel impossible to fully place our attention on any one thing. Unfortunately, the inability to fully focus leads to results that are less than your full potential.
When you plan ahead for days where you will do nothing but income-generating activities, your results will skyrocket. Dan's average client, following this advice, doubles their income in just two years; they're also able to take twice the amount of time off! How is this possible? That leads to the next type of time.
Buffer time or a buffer day is time or a day spent preparing for both a free day or a focus day. It is the day used for staff meetings, personal appointments, preparatory work for prospective clients, and all of the routine tasks of life. It is the day to do all of the necessities that often appear as interruptions on focus days so that you are better able to stay involved in the income-producing parts of the business and also stay more present on your free days.
Of course, this is just a basic overview of how the entrepreneurial time system operates. To learn more about how this works, read The Time Breakthrough, available on Amazon or on Dan Sullivan's website.
Always keen on helping others make their dreams come true, Tony and his team have helped independent agents grow into more than 250 independent agencies. This has made OAA the number one ranked Strategic Master Agency of SIAA for the last 5 years, and one of Oklahoma's 25 Best Companies to Work for.
Tony loves to share his knowledge, insight and wisdom through his bestselling books as well as in free mediums including podcasts and blogs.
Tony and his family are members of Crossings Community Church, and he is very active in community initiatives: he’s chairman of It’s My Community Initiative, Inc., a nonprofit working with disadvantaged people in Oklahoma City; and chairman of the Oklahoma Board of Juvenile Affairs., and he has served through many other organizations including the Salvation Army, Last Frontier Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and the Rotary Club.
In his spare time, Tony enjoys time with his family. He’s also an active outdoorsman and instrument-rated commercial pilot.