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.”
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
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
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.