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If you’re looking for another feel-good article about easy ways to keep New Year’s Resolutions and a list of the most popular resolutions, this isn’t it. We’re excited about the new year, as you should be because it means limitless options for wealth, success strengthened relationships and reaching the next level. But we are also realistic and know that a significant percentage of goals and commitments made in the excitement of the new year fizzle out by mid-march. Why? Because without a plan, without calculated action steps, without deadlines and accountability, new year’s resolutions are just wishes. So this year, why not decide to be intentional about your growth and success instead of hoping that it happens simply because you said it on January 1st?

One of the ways to ensure that your new year’s resolution sticks and doesn’t fade away once the excitement of the new year is gone is by planning an off season that allows you to plan, analyze, strategize, refocus and recharge. While you may plan to charge full steam ahead into the new year, make sure part of your business plan for 2019 includes an off season. We’ve discussed the many different benefits of the implementing an off season and all the things an off season is not, but one of the biggest moves you can make is implementing the Off Season Training Course into your business plan. If you are going to be intentional about creating a powerful off season, the best way to do it is to completely immerse yourself in the resources, planning pages, workbooks and audio downloads we’ve created to help you maximize your off season results.

Another way to ensure your goals become a reality is by connecting with people who will hold you accountable. Finding a mentor is a powerful way to get a fresh perspective on your ideas and learn new ways to reach the next level. By sharing your dreams and aspirations with someone who is passionate about your success, you are arming yourself with someone who will push you to keep going, even when you don’t feel like it. Especially when you don’t feel like it. Attend networking events, participate in a mastemind class, or simply seek out the guidance of someone who has “been there, done that” to keep yourself accountable.

One final way to make sure you are next level bound in 2019 is to make sure you put habits and rituals in place that will set you up for success. Decide what your absolutes are and stick with them. What are some things you can commit to doing that will benefit you in the long run? What are some temptations that you know will set you back and what can you do to avoid them? This may mean saying no to happy hour with coworkers to stay committed to your habits or distancing yourself from a less-than-supportive friend who often sidetracks you from your commitments and plans. Let a few trusted friends know about the habits and rituals you’re trying to establish so they can help you stick with it.

January 1st is a great time for fresh starts and new beginnings, and we strongly encourage you to use this new chapter as a time to set big goals. By planning a powerful off season, finding a mentor and establishing habits and rituals that will keep you focused, you can make sure your 2019 starts with purpose!

 

One of the biggest lies that we believe about why we aren’t reaching the next level is that we don’t have time. The truth is, if it’s important to you, you’ll make time, if it’s not, you’ll make excuses.

We all get the same 24 hours in a day. So how do you maximize the 24 precious hours you are given each day and use them to launch you towards success? The two key components of mastering your schedule and becoming a pro at time management are priorities and protection.

Priorities

This sounds like a no-brainer. Of course, we have to be intentional about the activities in our lives that take up our time and categorize them in order of importance. But for busy professionals, entrepreneurs, and small business owners, it can feel like it is all important. It’s not like you’re sitting around twiddling your thumbs and wasting time, right? Your day is packed with responsibilities that are critical to your health, happiness, and productivity. So how do you prioritize when you feel that everything on your plate is equally important?

  1. Work backward. List your To-Dos and then number them in order of what is due when. Take into consideration how long each project will take. What things can wait and what things have a time-sensitive due date?
  2. Just pick something. Sometimes we get so caught up in analysis paralysis and feel that we have so much do to, that we do nothing. Instead, choose a project you know you can get done quickly and start there. This will help you build momentum
  3. Ask for help. There’s no shame in asking for help when you need it. This could look like hiring someone to do a project for you that you don’t have time for or asking for an extension on a deadline.
  4. Be organized Invest in a trusted calendar to keep everything organized, and look into some apps and online resources you can use to keep yourself on track.

Protection

Part of mastering your schedule is protecting your time. If every time you talk to Sally from Accounting she tells you a 20-minute story about her cat, you have to find a way to protect that time. Learn how to respectfully remove yourself from conversations that aren’t productive, or find alternate ways to avoid the situation altogether.  Learning to say no politely and feeling confident in your right to decline is one of the most powerful ways to protect your time. Another way to protect your time is learning to work smarter, not harder.

Your time is precious and in order to feel accomplished each day you have to be aware of the time you have and protect it. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, how are you prioritizing and protecting yours?

If you are striving to be an impactful and dynamic public speaker, you have to understand the power of timing. This doesn’t just mean being able to land a joke successfully or how to utilize moments of silence. It means being constantly aware of the time you have, the time you need, and how to use it to make your message make an impact. Here are eight ways to make time work for you as a public speaker:

Use a timer

When you are practicing your message, use a timer to get an idea of how long it takes you to get through your message. For new speakers, keep in mind that you tend to speak faster when you’re nervous, so factor that in when getting an accurate estimate about how long your message will be.

Reconfirm your time limit

Before your presentation, double check that you understand the time restraints you have to work with. You may speak at ten conferences that all give you a one-hour window, but if you show up to your 11th engagement and find out you only have 20 minutes to work with, you may end up looking flustered and unprepared.

Know what info is disposable

In the real world, things happen, and you may learn minutes before you speak that what was once an hour time slot has now been reduced to 20 minutes. You need to prepare beforehand and know what content can be cut without diluting the message while still staying within the given time perimeters.

Have a handout

Giving your audience something to read and write notes on can drastically improve audience retention. If for some reason you run out of time and can’t get to all of your points, the audience can still reference their hand out. This doesn’t mean giving them a copy of your message or your presentation. This is a single sheet with the basic information they need to know.

Take time to set up

Arriving early will help you get a feel of the space and give you time to work out any last minute kinks. If you are utilizing technology, getting there early will help you make sure there aren’t any technical difficulties that could slow down the message.

Monitor your time

Even the most seasoned speakers can get carried away when talking about something they are passionate about. Use a watch or your phone to keep an eye on the clock. Keep your audience in the loop and let them know that you are aware of the time. Saying things like “I know we only have five more minutes, so I will finish this quickly” will let your listeners know that you respect their schedule and are intentional about finishing on time.

Build in time for a Q&A at the end

Allow time in your presentation for people to speak with you afterward. If your message goes right to the very last second of your allotted time, the time it takes to clear out of the room or answer questions could bleed into the time slot of the next speaker, if there is one. Scheduling a block of time at the end of your message to interact with the audience and answer questions is both productive and respectful of everyone’s time. Another way to connect with your audience while still being respectful of their time is to invite them to approach you during the next break.

Learn from the pros

Regardless of where you are in your public speaking journey, surrounding yourself with successful speakers can help you get to the next level. Online trainings, mastermind groups, personalized coaching and connecting with a mentor are all ways you can learn tips and tricks for effective time management skills.

The only way to get good at time management and become a better public speaker is find a person or group that will hold you accountable and help you master your day by mastering your time.

Part of reaching the next level as a public speaker is using the time you’re given to make the most significant impact. Being prepared, confident and organized will help you connect with your audience and prevent distractions.

What is one thing that helps you stay on schedule as a public speaker? Tell us in the comments below!

I did a fundraiser with Bill Clinton when I was president of the National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA). This association is for washed-up NBA players like me, looking forward to the next phase of life.

The former president was as smooth and graceful as ever, and he made a statement that I will never forget.

He said that intelligence is evenly distributed throughout the earth without discretion. The only thing that separates us all is opportunity.

Wow! We in America just have a better opportunity based on where we were born and the environment we were blessed to placed. Double wow!

You know what, he is right. I never thought of it that way.

Opportunity is something we can’t take for granted

So this is how my mind works: I scoured my brain and wanted to think of another resource that is evenly distributed around the world without discrimination.

Time! Time, just like opportunity, is evenly distributed. Everyone of us gets 24 hours a day to operate. We all get the same exact time every day.

From a homeless person holding his sign at the exit ramp with his pregnant girlfriend and dog to the richest man on earth, we all get the same 24.

So, the question is what are you doing with your business opportunity and your 24? Simply put, 24 hours is a long time to get things done. Even if you sleep eight hours, you still have 16 hours left. If managed properly there is nothing you can’t accomplish in this world. We should never waste an opportunity and we should never waste time because in all actuality it’s all we have to work with.

Here are a few keys to make sure you manage your time wisely so you don’t waste your wonderful opportunities.

1.  Invest your time like you would money — only in activities that will give you a good return on your investment
2  Right time, right activity. Make sure a 15-minute task only takes 15 minutes.
3.  Always use a to-do list. It will save you two hours a day in productivity.
4.  Always prioritize your activities. All work is not created equal. High-value tasks should trump menial tasks.
5.  Get a good night sleep. Being fresh is the best way to be productive and not just busy.
6.  Beware of time thieves like unfocused people
7.  Social media that is not business-related brand building is a time thief.

If you can manage your time wisely, it is the only way you can maximize your wonderful opportunity you have right now. Time does not discriminate. We all get 24 hours a day to make our dreams come true. What are you going to do with yours?