ELEAD1ONE partner Bill Wittenmyer, guest blogger for AutoSuccess Magazine – February 18, 2014

TIME:  the importance of utilizing or wasting time, and that of those around you. Time is our most precious commodity. You cannot buy more – create more – nor does time magically appear because you are merely productive or work harder.  Whether you have wasted it or spent wisely, time continues to move, eventually expiring.. permanently.  You may think this sounds quite negative which, for those that know me, is far from my nature; this is reality.

This week, these thoughts arose because I was informed someone “did not have enough time to get things done” and “just could not keep up.” This is where I call B.S.  We all have a lot of time, but it’s what we choose to do with it that matters.  For example, I am on a long flight from Atlanta to my office in Southern California – 4+ solid hours on a plane, at night, and after a long day.  Most passengers are watching movies, playing games, catching up on their social media or just staring into the distance.  Not unlike what we might witness in just about any dealership or business office at any time.

I think we all have more time available in our lives, but the challenge is how to use it wisely.  How many of us truly maximize time? If you ask a person on their deathbed what they wish for, I bet it would be additional time. In truth, we all wish that we used time more wisely. Maybe not now or in the near future, but most certainly when we are short on time.  The secret is to feel that way all the time and turn that emotion into action.  ACTION is always the key ingredient.

In my experience, it is really about how you use the time – which you own.  Just like the person who told me they did not have enough time to get things done; time is yours to do with what you will.  You can choose to spend thirty minutes talking about what you did last night, deciding who is going on a breakfast run or you can choose to maximize that valuable time and save for later use.  At work, whether in a dealership or otherwise, your time is YOURS and very valuable.  Time should not be treated as just a countdown to the next thing; you will go home tired either way. Further, so will your customers.  So why not make it count? Make your time, and that of your customers’, more valuable.  Concentrate on accomplishing activities – communication, follow up, learning and progress.

This philosophy began long before I was informed that person “did not have time”.  For me, it started when I learned that the average American reads only one book per year.  I was astounded and, that day, vowed to read one book per week.  The challenge was how I could accomplish this new WANT, as well as maintain my current responsibilities of running a company, managing a sales team, caring for clients and maintain follow up.  Where could I find the additional time during the week to fit in reading a book?  Just like most people, over-and-above my hectic work schedule, I have things in my life that take my time: family, kids, and not to mention the occasional treasured vacation.  So I re-evaluated my time, and time spent on what I considered wasteful or unproductive tasks – an amount that was truly eye opening.

I realized that I was CHOOSING not to have enough time for reading. I had to optimize the time needed for productive necessities and obligations in order to make room for my WANTS.  It’s like a budget; if you don’t watch and plan where you spend money then you are guaranteed not to have enough of it.  If you then examine where your money went, you will most likely find that so much of it could have been better allocated. The fault in this particular analogy, however, is that you can earn more money.  Time is a finite resource.  CHOOSE to use it more wisely!

How do you do that?  Examine the hours in your normal day and how these are spent.  Where can wasteful and non-essential activities be eliminated?  For me, so much of this valuable resource is spent on airplanes. Any phone activity is difficult during loading, taxi and takeoff, and Internet and electronics are shut off for a time, so I find this the optimal time to read. Once in the air, I can then work, as I am now – and fingers crossed I may even have Internet. In turn, I have more time for more productive items and phone follow up once I arrive at the hotel or office. I now have the time needed to do things that I WANT, and without the burden of open-ended items.

Each of us is given 24 hours every single day.  Have you ever been amazed by how much others can accomplish given the same amount of time?  They may be no better or have no secret level of intelligence; however, they manage and prioritize time better.  You will never know how much you can accomplish until you actually try, or better yet, have no choice. If you had asked me a few years ago if I could handle all the commitments that I currently have, I would have laughed.  I finally realized how much time I was truly wasting, and how much more of it I could have.  For a store that normally sells 200-cars per month, increasing those sales to 300 seems impossible because it hasn’t been done.  However, once it’s been accomplished then 300 can become the norm.

Where will you start?  Take a look at your normal day and determine what is important to you, your WANTS, and prioritize.  Then look at what you HAVE to do?  Sell more cars, better manage your team, increase productivity and accomplish more.  Find those moments that would normally be wasted such as checking the weather, non-productive conversation, or finding ways to pass the time.  Stop passing time – it should be owned by you!  Once these unproductive times are identified, fill them with the things that you HAVE to do or accomplish.  This will leave you with far more time later for things you WANT to do and allow you to enjoy so much more! 

Remember that each day is a new day; a fresh set of 24 hours.  You can make a change today that will make a difference in your life and that of those around you.  You will realize that life was right there under your nose all along; you just didn’t have the time to notice.

For more information, contact:

Bill Wittenmyer, partner