No Time? … Try the Maxwell Method

When talking with other business owners, the subject of time, as in “I have no time” often comes up.  Recently one said,  “It’s  a constant ‘push-me’ of time spent operating and improving my business that competes with the ‘pull-you’ of time I want to spend with family, friends, service, and taking care of my personal business.”

Being Present

She went on to add, “I’ve gotten to the point where no matter what I’m doing, I’m thinking about the next thing I need to do or what else needs to be done. I don’t feel like I’m present.”

Add to that an increase in the incidence of occurrences when, in the middle of a conversation or meeting, one of the participants drops out to respond to a text and misses the most important information.  Even a brief interruption can interrupt the flow of the conversation, making it tough to resume.  

Not being present or multi-tasking assures very little gets accomplished.

The Maxwell Method

Years ago, Phil Maxwell, who at the time was the CIO at Neiman Marcus, was going to be a guest on my radio show, The Executive Toolbox, so I went to his office for our get acquainted interview.  I fully expected the meeting to be cancelled or at least delayed as Neiman’s had just acquired another luxury retailer and at the same time was changing out their major systems. 

I was shocked when he walked out to greet me, offered me coffee, and ushered me into to his pristine office.  We talked through the interview, settled on the issues we’d discuss, and discussed the necessary logistics…without interruption.

I had to ask him how he managed to be so focused and present.  He told me that he blocks the last hour of each workday day for a personal planning meeting.  During that hour he reviews his schedule for the next day and reviews and prepares anything he’ll need. 

I’ve shared The Maxwell Method with every harried business owner I’ve met ever since.  When I follow it, because I’ve taken the time to think through what I’m doing the next day and prepare what I need, I reap the benefits the next day. 

Leah Ward-Lee is an entrepreneur and business writer based in Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island, Florida and the author of $1,000 Start-Ups.

Published by Leah Ward-Lee

Leah Ward-Lee, the author of "$1,000 Start-Ups", is a serial micro-entrepreneur. She opened her first business at ten after lobbying for and receiving a shoe shine kit for Christmas. She pulled her wagon through the neighborhood, going door-to-door, offering to shine her neighbor’s shoes for twenty-five cents a pair. Once her wagon was full, she took the shoes home and polished them. Unfortunately that business was short-lived. She hadn’t tagged the shoes and couldn’t remember whose shoes were whose, so her dad went with her to retrace the route until every pair was returned. Since then she’s had businesses developing and teaching college courses, instructing aerobic classes, owning half a plane that was rented to a flight and maintenance school, and renting homes. She’s also owned a consignment store, a gift shop, a gift basket business, a consulting firm, hosted The Executive Toolbox (a weekly radio show), and a publishing company. She also spent twenty years in the US Army, served as the Chief Information and Technical Officer for two major insurance companies, and has a second career as a management consultant. Leah resides in Dallas, TX and on Amelia Island with Sammy and Goliath, her two rescue dogs.


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