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Dan Kennedy’s No B.S. Time Truths
- If you don’t know what your time is worth, you can’t expect the world to know it either.
- Vampires will suck as much blood out of you as you permit. If you’re drained dry at day’s end, it’s your fault.
- If they can’t find you, they can’t interrupt you.
- Punctuality provides personal power.
- By all means, judge. But know that you too will be judged.
- Demonstrated self-discipline is MAGNETIC.
- Good enough is good enough.
- Liberation is the ultimate entrepreneurial achievement.
Chapter 1: How to Turn Time into Money
The use or misuse (or abuse by others) of your time—the degree to which you achieve peak productivity—will determine your success.
Entrepreneurship is the conversion of your knowledge, talent, guts, etc.—through the investment of your time—into money.
The more you think like an investor-entrepreneur than just an entrepreneur, the better you do financially. It is “investor-think” that makes you wealthy.
You’ve got to decide how much money you’re going to take out of your business or businesses this year in salary, perks, contributions to retirement plans, and so on. What is that number?
Second, you have to eliminate the need for doing or delegate those tasks and activities that just cannot and do not match up with the mandated value of your time.
Deciding what you shouldn’t be doing—this moment, or at all—is at least as important as deciding what to invest your time in.
Chapter 2: How to Cheat Time
There are only three ways to make money: your own work; overrides or profit margin on other people’s work; money making money for you.
You should consider any resource you are having to create, manage, or maintain with your time and ask yourself who else is doing the same work and how you might get some kind of “ride along” on their efforts.
Few entrepreneurs understand the incredible leverage, time savings, and capital investment reduction available from using OPC: Other People’s Customers.
Chapter 3: How to Drive a Stake Through the Hearts of the Time Vampires Out to Suck You Dry
Time Vampires are needy, thirsty, selfish, and vicious creatures who, given an opportunity, will suck up all of your time and energy and leave you weak and debilitated.
Being willing to deal with Time Vampires as you would a vile, evil, blood-sucking creature of the dark is the first step in freeing yourself from them.
“Mr. Have-You-Got-a-Minute?” is perhaps the most insidious of all the Time Vampires.
How to deal with “Mr. Have-You-Got-a-Minute?”: “I’m busy right now. Let’s meet at 4:00 P.M. for 15 minutes, and tackle everything on your list at one time.”
“Mr. Meeting” is another dangerous Time Vampire.
Being in meetings is seductive. It is a way to feel important. It’s also a great way to hide from making and taking responsibility for decisions.
You need to stop and ask yourself: do I really need to be in—or hold—this meeting? Is there a more time-efficient way to handle this? A conference call? A memo circulated to each person? Heck, a posting on a bulletin board. On an internet or intranet site. An email. Hey, anything BUT another meeting.
If you are going to hold a meeting, there are several stakes you can use to stop the vampires from making it an endless “blood klatch”:
- Set the meeting for immediately before lunch or at the end of the day so the vampires are eager to get it done and over with, turn into bats, and fly out of there.
- Don’t serve refreshments.
- Circulate a written agenda in advance.
- Have and communicate a clear, achievable objective for the meeting.
If you must attend a meeting, you also have some stakes available so you can slay Mr. Meeting:
- Determine in advance what information you are to contribute, and then do it with a prepared, minimum-time maximum-impact presentation.
- Have an exit strategy: someone coming in to get you at a certain time, a pre-arranged call on your cell phone, whatever. You can then excuse yourself only long enough to make a call and return if you need to—but you probably won’t. Or get a drop-dead end time pre-set for the meeting—the tighter the better.
Another Time Vampire to watch out for is Mr. Trivia. He either can’t or doesn’t want to differentiate between the important and unimportant, minor and major.
How to deal with “Mr. Trivia”: “I have an exceptionally busy day, so I am only dealing with 9s and 10s on a 1 to 10 scale. Everything else MUST wait until tomorrow. Are you convinced that what you want to talk to me about is a 9 or 10?”
Chapter 4: Stopping “Productivus Interruptus” Once and for All
If you’re going to achieve peak personal productivity in an interruptive environment, there are five self-defense, time-defense tactics you’ll have to use:
- Get lost.
- Don’t answer the phone.
- Get a grip on email, texts, and faxes.
- Set the timer on the bomb.
- Be busy and be obvious about it.
Leadership is not about visibly outworking everybody. Actually, brilliant leadership is about getting everybody else to out-work you.
You have absolutely no legal, moral, or other responsibility to answer the phone or take a call unless you want to.
If your clients, customers, or patients, and prospective clients, customers, or patients view you as one of and the same as many—so that if you aren’t instantly accessible or responsive and, whoever’s next by alphabet or Google Local or whatever reference will do just as well, you have lost—you will suffer and die in the marketplace.
When you are visible to others, it’s best to be visibly busy.
Have pre-set appointments with start and end times.
The average worker is interrupted every 3 minutes, 50 seconds. 44% of these are self-interruptions, 56% inflicted by others, in person or via phone calls, texts, email, etc. given attention. That equates to 137 interruptions in an 8-hour workday. If you aspire to be only an average worker achieving average performance and average outcomes, then going along with this will meet your needs and guarantee your mediocrity.
Attitudes and actions have direct consequences. If you accept the attitudes of the average—in this case, accepting frequent interruptions as unavoidable, and you accept the behavior of the average—in this case, the habit of distraction and self-interruption and of instantly or quickly or even same-day response to interruptions inflicted by others, you can count on being and staying average.
Chapter 5: The Number-One Most Powerful Personal Discipline in All the World And How It Can Make You Successful Beyond Your Wildest Dreams
Dan believes a person who cannot keep appointments on time, cannot keep scheduled commitments, or cannot stick to a schedule cannot be trusted in other ways either.
Chapter 6: The Magic Power That Makes You Unstoppable
Regimen, ritual, commitment, and discipline are of vital importance in relation to successful achievement.
There are three kinds of action: starting things or implementation, follow-through, and completion.
The two things that seem universal are that self-disciplined action is evident in every winner, as is the ability to differentiate between action and purpose-specific action—between busyness and purpose-driven busyness.
Chapter 7: The Ten Time Management Techniques Really Worth Using
Information marketing revolves around the public’s stubborn belief that there must be a “secret” to success concealed from them, possibly by conspiracy, that, if uncovered, would change everything.
- Technique #1: Tame ALL the Interruptions
- Technique #2: Minimize Meetings
- Technique #3: Practice Absolute Punctuality
- Technique #4: Make and Use Lists
- Technique #5: Fight to Link Everything to Your Goals
- Technique #6: Tickle the Memory with Tickler Files
- Technique #7: Block Your Time
- Technique #8: Minimize Unplanned Activity
- Technique #9: Profit from “Odd-Lot” Time
- Technique #10: Live off Peak
- Bonus Technique #11: Use Technology Profitably
For years, Dan’s operated with four basic lists:
- My Schedule.
- Things to Do List.
- People to Call List.
- Conference Planner.
If you aren’t making lists, you probably aren’t making a lot of money either.
Jim Rohn often said that the only real reason more people do not become millionaires is that they don’t have enough reasons to.
Similarly, Dan insists that the only real reason more people aren’t much, much more productive is that they don’t have enough reasons to be. A secret to greater personal productivity is more good reasons to be more productive. That’s why you have to fight to link everything you do (and choose not to do) to your goals.
If you’re going to achieve peak personal productivity, you’ve got to define peak personal productivity.
Dan defines productivity as, “The deliberate, strategic investment of your time, talent, intelligence, energy, resources, and opportunities in a manner calculated to move you measurably closer to meaningful goals.”
To determine whether you’re being productive, ask yourself, “Is what I am doing, this minute, moving me measurably closer to my goals?”
Anything beyond a 50% “yes rate” qualifies as peak personal productivity.
One of the real, hidden secrets of people who consistently achieve peak productivity is that they make inviolate appointments with themselves.
The more you know about yourself and what works best for you, to liberate your creativity and to power your performance, the better you can arrange things to your satisfaction.
If you do project work, it’s important to estimate the minutes or hours required and work against the clock and against deadlines. Every task gets completed faster and more efficiently when you have determined in advance how long it should take and set a time for its completion.
Deadlines refine the mind.
Dan can tolerate some compromise of desired quality, but he cannot tolerate winding up underpaid.
You can’t actually manage time; you can only manage yourself and those around you.
There is no excuse to simply waste time while waiting in an airport, stuck in traffic, or parked in a reception room.
When you say to yourself, “It’s only ten minutes,” you miss the entire point of time. You either take it seriously or you don’t.
Acceptance of ordinary realities that are counter to deriving maximum benefit from your time equates to surrender of control.
Guilt about creating benefit for yourself blocks any benefit coming to you.
If you are to take a goal, objective, or target seriously and have a hope of its achievement, you need to link it to time. Time must be made for it, allocated to it, budgeted for it, and booked into your schedule as firm, inviolate appointments with yourself and/or with others.
Chapter 8: Decisiveness
We do not get paid for our ideas, our intentions, our thinking things over, for trying, even for doing. In the real world, there is no A for Effort. We only get paid for DONE.
Chapter 9: Fire Yourself, Replace Yourself, Make More Money, and Have More Fun
You must systematically, aggressively divest yourself of those activities you do not do well and do not do happily, or you must find routine, so as to systematically invest your time (and talent, knowledge, know-how, and other resources) in those things you do extraordinarily well, enjoy doing, and find intellectually stimulating.
There is a profound difference between delegation and abdication.
You cannot delegate if you believe there’s only one way to get things done right.
You cannot move ahead without jettisoning some responsibilities and tasks in order to make room for new, more valuable tasks and responsibilities.
A six-step process to effective delegation:
- Define what is to be done.
- Be certain the delegate understands what is to be done. This means asking to have the assignment restated by that person. Never assume you’ve successfully communicated. Hope but verify.
- Explain why it is to be done as you are prescribing it to be done. With anything but the most menial of tasks and lowest level worker, there is room for differences of opinion about how a thing should be done. If they have a better sense of the actual doing than you do, they should be encouraged to voice it. If you want exactness of your instruction followed, you need to make it clear that you have “method to your madness.” Be sure the delegate understands the how-to process.
- Establish what defines a successful outcome. Dan often catches his clients putting people in charge of important and relatively complex projects without clear agreement about what will constitute success or how it is to be measured. Everybody ends up frustrated.
- Set the deadline for completion or progress report. Open-end delegation without a timeline is doomed. YOU have to set the timer.
- Follow-up. If the person and delegated task do not return to you at the agreed-on date and time, you need a means of noticing the absence (failure) so you can deal with it at one minute late—not hours, days, or weeks.
If you’re looking for the answer that turns your time into the most money and wealth possible, then turn your attention to marketing. Why? Because it is infinitely easier to find or train someone to take care of a business’ operations than it is to get someone to do its marketing. Marketing is the highest-paid profession and most valuable part of a business. The person who can create systems for acquiring customers, clients, or patients effectively and profitably is the “money person.”
Chapter 10: The Link Between Productivity and Association
The phrase “time management” is inaccurate shorthand. You can only manage things that affect your ability to convert time to value, like environment, access, and all the other things discussed in this book.
One of the most significant, that you can control to a great extent, is association—your choices of whom you permit into your world, whom you give time to or invest time with, and whom you look to for ideas, information, and education.
Each minute of your time is made more or less valuable by the condition of your mind, and it is constantly being conditioned by association.
Chapter 11: Buy Time by Buying Expertise
Here are four questions to ask when considering hiring an expert:
- Has the expert actually done the thing he is advising you about—or is he an academic theorist giving book reports?
- Is the expert current?
- Does the expert have satisfied clients?
- Are there at least three other successful entrepreneurs who have done more than one deal with you?
- Do you understand what your chosen expert is doing and how he does it?
Never blindly delegate to mystics. If you can’t understand how the investment makes money, how the sales strategy works, or how the expert’s advice about anything works—run.
Chapter 12: The Inner Game of Peak Personal Productivity
There is a certain state of mind that best facilitates achieving peak productivity.
Achieving maximum personal productivity requires that you become extraordinarily facile at stopping, storing, and clearing so as to direct 100% of your mental powers to one matter at a time—to the matter at hand.
Dr. Maxwell Maltz, the author of Psycho-Cybernetics, called it, “clearing the calculator.”
If you can’t control your thoughts and manage your mind, you can’t control or manage your time.
Dan is a big believer in populating my work environment with “psychological triggers”—objects that remind me to think a certain way.
Chapter 13: Reasons Why a Year Passes and No Meaningful Progress Is Made
This is one reason why a person fails to advance much from one year to the next: he is so busy whining about how unfair everything is and feeling sorry for himself that he has no time left to make anything happen.
Eric Hoffer, the author of The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements, wrote: “There are many who find a good alibi far more attractive than an achievement, for an achievement, does not settle anything permanently.
No one who is good at making excuses is also good at making money. The skills are mutually exclusive.
Alibi-itis: Choosing a nifty alibi over a difficult path to achievement.
Here’s how to get focused if you’re too majoring in minor matters: identify and write down the three most important, most significant, most productive, and most valuable things you can do to foster success in your particular enterprise—just three. Write them down. From there, translate them into three actions you can take each and every day. Write them down.
For about 30 years, Dan has not let a day go by where he did not send out a letter or a package, get an article published, do something to keep my books on bookstore shelves, secure a high-profile speaking engagement, or do something else to create and stimulate “deal flow.” It didn’t matter how busy he was or how tired—or if it was the Friday before a holiday weekend. Whatever. Before sunset, at least ONE thing had to be done intended to stimulate demand. He has only eased up on this in very recent years, as he chooses to rein in myself and wind down my work schedule, but still, at least half of his days include this.
Chapter 14: Taming Tech and Surviving the Social Media Swamp
We have finite amounts of willpower that become depleted as we use them, get drained away, and replenish slowly if at all. Therefore, it is far more beneficial to structure a success environment and install and enforce protections for your mind and its ability to do deep work than to cultivate and call on superior willpower.
Technology tempts us to ignorance and sloth.
The embracing of new technology often masks a downgrade.
Dan is not a fan of social media for reasons Cal Newport outlines in his book, Deep Work.