How the Magic Number 168 Changed My Life for Good

by Gabe Arnold

I’ll be honest, I didn’t think I would ever consider hiring a time management coach. I think of myself as being pretty driven and pretty focused, so I didn’t find a need for time management coaching. It’s not surprising to me that I was wrong about my first reaction to “time management” coaching. It may seem like a weird or unnecessary service, but you might find you were wrong just like I was.

A couple months back I found myself in a very familiar position. I had 18 very important things to do all in one day. I hate feeling like that and so I said to myself “Self, maybe time management is a good idea after all!”

I decided to pick up the phone and call my friend Lisa Mallis. I knew what Lisa did, but I honestly didn’t understand how it could apply to me. I genuinely thought that time management was something other people needed, not me.

Having been wrong before – I decided it was worth checking out and getting some help from Lisa. Yes, I have been wrong many times, and I think that is one of the beauties of being an entrepreneur. You get to be wrong as many times as you need to be so that you can reinvent yourself and keep starting over on an idea or problem until you get it right.

I told Lisa how I was really challenged by what I had to work on. I didn’t know which of my three companies to work on, which idea to focus on, and where to get started. She told me about this magical number, 168, and she told me why it mattered. I am going to share with you how to use the magic number and what it’s done for my work and life!

1. Start by Listing Everything You Care About

When we started our session Lisa asked me to list out everything I cared about in one column of a spreadsheet. Work, friends, family, projects, hobbies, and so on. Whatever I ever wanted to spend time on all month long.

I did that and then she asked me to subtract 7 hours from the 168 for “lost time” like using the bathroom, walking to my car from my office or home, and little things like that I couldn’t account for in the time schedule.

2. Assign the Time You Want to Each Activity

Lisa had me assign time to each activity. I decided to start with the things that mattered to me most and then add time around those. Time with my spouse and son came first as far as importance, but I also realize as the primary provider for my family that I have to give work a large chunk of time as well.

3. Create a Strategy

After I saw the hours I had to work with, Lisa suggested that I do one of two things:

  1. Create time slots during the day for each activity and set an alarm across the room to help me stop and start activities at the right time OR
  2. Create a day focused around one or two focus activities

I’m kind of a pain-in-the-ass person to work with, I like to do things my own way. So I ended up creating a third option that works a little better for me but is focused on the 168 concept.

I decided to spend an entire week on one work focus and fill the other personal activities around that. Then I created a 12-week plan focused on specific business development activities. The 13th week is a week where I let myself goof off, sleep in, go to the park, write, or just find my favorite local brewery. I figured if I could get myself into a highly productive schedule, a week of freedom would help me keep the creative juices flowing and would be a great reward for myself.

4. Does it Work?

I have to say that even though I was very skeptical at first, the magic number 168 has worked incredibly well for me. Not only do I have a schedule and plan, but I am less stressed now, knowing that each week I have set aside to focus on a specific goal area. I don’t have to stress out about what’s not happening in other business areas because I have a plan in place to touch each area consistently. This mindset change is what I have enjoyed the most about my new time management approach.

If you’ve never considered a time management coach, I would really encourage you to reach out to Lisa. You can call her at 440-537-3811 or contact her here. She’s not paying me to write this, and I don’t get paid if you call her. I just really feel like time management is a huge issue for entrepreneurs and so I wanted to share the resources that have helped me move forward.

Now What?

Well, you’ve made it to the end of the post and you’re either thinking that time management is a joke or you’ve seen a little bit of what the magic number 168 can do for your life. Try and see the difference it can make today. You also should pick up the phone and call Lisa at 440-537-3811! You’ll be glad you did.

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