My recent triathlon result has renewed my desire (and need) to track the time I spend on my business. If you are like me, you have struggled with different aspects of work or life in general and after some time of scratching your head, or even banging it against a wall, you wondered why you weren’t seeing an improvement.
Where you put the most time and energy, you get the best results.
This may seem obvious but for a moment think about a few areas in your work or life outside of the job that you are responsible for that you would like to see improved. At work, it could be your sales leads, sales completed, productivity, your relationship with an individual or your team, the quality of your writing, or negotiating, etc. In life, it could be your relationships with a friend or family, your nutrition, your sleep habits or your leisure time, etc.
For a week, keep an activity log, detailing what you are spending your time on in a given workday. For many of you, this can be surprisingly easy with all the different activity tracking apps available to track which computer applications and websites you send your time on. If your computer is on, these apps are tracking what you are doing. For those who don’t spend a majority of their day using a computer, there are several other time tracking apps available to download on their smartphones, which make it pretty easy to record what your time is spent on.
After a week take a good look at the percentage of time and energy (because time alone doesn’t always mean focused effort) you are putting into the areas you would like to improve the most. The answer to why you have struggled in this area may become glaringly obvious: you simply have not given the attention this area deserves if you want to make it a priority in your life.
If your findings show you are spending an adequate or large amount of time on your challenge area but are not seeing results, then the issues are most likely related to how you are spending that time. Perhaps you are not as efficient as you could be or you have the wrong approach to the task. In this case, it may be a good time to seek advice from an expert in the area through a friend, mentor, coach or course, depending on the type of issues and the level of support you require.
This concept became glaringly obvious to me a few weeks ago when I competed in the Banff Triathlon. Leading up to the race, I had not competed in a triathlon for a few years due to other priorities and a busy family life. With two active toddlers in the house, I find it hard to make the time to fit in biking and swimming, so for the last couple of years, I have been focusing on running for my fitness and competitive outlet.
On a whim, about a month before the triathlon, I figured I may have some time in the next 4 weeks to get in a few swims and bike rides, at least enough to not hurt or embarrass myself. Over the 20 odd years of doing triathlons, I have always been pretty proficient equally in all 3 sports, swimming, biking and running, with my overall race placing in each discipline being roughly the same. Well, when I looked at the results from this recent race, it clearly showed what I have been putting my time and effort into.
Gauging my current fitness and previous results from this race, I guessed I could finish in the top 15, maybe top 10 on a great day. Well of the 173 competitors, I had the 19th fastest swim, the 16th fastest bike and the 2nd fastest run. Initially, I was thrilled with my run placing and pretty disappointed in my swim and bike but the more I pondered on it, the more I realized you get what you put your time and effort into.
Then, I remembered what a coach told me several years ago: in racing you usually get the result you deserve. I now believe this statement is not only true in racing but true in life.
Sometimes life is not fair and accidents happen but most of the time we get what we deserve.
Are you getting what you deserve?
Until next week… Embrace the Adventure!
Shawn Stratton is an international leadership and team building consultant, professional speaker, bestselling author, Ironman competitor, expedition guide and podcast host.