In over a decade of studying female heads of households in their homes and researching what it takes to get them organized, I've thought a lot about time and the invisible work we are doing.
The big thing when I started my business was hitting six figures. Everyone wanted to hit $100,000 in yearly income. Back then, I had just quit my teaching job in a private school making $24,000 a year in take-home pay. I couldn't even wrap my mind around ever being a six-figure income earner!
Over the years, as I've looked at how women use their time, I've come to this conclusion: You can have six-figure time without the six-figure income. It's all about mindset and how you choose to spend your time. In this episode, I share my observations of six-figure income earners and my suggestions for developing a six-figure time mindset.
How Six-Figure Income Earners Spend Their Time
As a professional organizer, I went into the homes of many six-figure earners with million-dollar homes. These were often doctors, lawyers, business owners, and C-Suite executives. I had the opportunity to see how they run their lives and the type of help they hired. Having a six-figure income gave these women and their families a choice in how they spend their time.
Can you have this six-figure time mindset without the six-figure income? I think you can! Many millionaires are time-poor while many who have no income at all are time rich. What's the difference between time poverty and being rich in time?
Time Passing vs Making a Difference
Most people see time in terms of how much time is passing and what they can get done. Truly productive people see a third dimension: If I spend my time doing this today, will it make a difference in the future? Will it make a difference a month, a year, 5 years, or 10 years from now? People who are time multipliers always make their time decisions based on the significance factor.
If you could get the to-do list done, what would you do with your free time? Too many of us just add more to-do items to the list.
I think we most want time freedom. To reach that goal, you must be proactive and not reactive. I talk about this all the time at Organize 365®. This is not a new concept. But, this is more than just planning out the big projects. You have to develop the habit muscle of proactivity in every area of your life.
It means not doing every little thing when you have the thought. You write the thought on the index card, drop it into the Sunday Basket®, and do those little things all batched together to save time.
Six-figure time takes being proactive a step further. Instead of waiting to have the thought about the dog's medicine or the bills that need to be paid, you put it on a schedule with a plan for how to get it done or create other automations for the task like using bill pay. You purposely plan ahead for how the task will be done. What in your life can be systematized, scheduled, and automated to save you time and mental space?
Forward Thinking and Planning Days
Everyone is a forward thinker according to Ben Hardy. The difference is how far ahead into the future you think. It's great to have 15 minutes of free time and do something that your future self will appreciate like emptying the dishwasher or starting the laundry, but this is reactive productivity. How do you move to the next step and think farther into the future?
The answer is planning days.
Planning days for your home and your work give you the focused time to get more done and have more impact. The goal isn't a longer to-do list. The goal is more time to do what you're uniquely created to do so you can have more impact.
I'll be honest: It's more comfortable to add to the to-do list and check off the low-level tasks because it makes me feel productive. It takes time to wrestle with the question of what you're uniquely created to do and to try things out to see if that's the right thing for you. It takes time to develop skills and practice those skills. Six-figure income earners spend a lot of time growing their skills.
Six-figure income earners also spend a lot of time networking and making connections with like-minded people. Surround yourself with people who are investing their time and resources into being more productive so they can have an impact on the world.
They also change their role as they grow. Six-figure income earners doing the things that are the highest use of their time. You have to focus on working your way out of jobs. This might mean delegating jobs to other people or services that can do the work for you. This might be other family members. Consider meal planning services or hire a house cleaner. It might also mean changing the standard at which you do a task in your home. Can you lengthen the time between dusting or changing your sheets?
I think that the true freedom of six-figure time comes when you can start to think about not just the work that needs to be done at home or in the office, but how you can impact relationships in your family, friends, and work. This is harder to prioritize because no one is holding us accountable.
Using the Sunday Basket® for Six-Figure Time
The Sunday Basket® System is the first step in developing a six-figure time mindset. It helps you think about and systematize your personal life, household, family, and finances. I teach you how to move from being reactive to proactive.
Now, based on this podcast you can take your thinking to the next level. When you focus on your Sunday Basket® color of the week, consider the chess level next steps. What can you do for yourself, your household, your family, or your finances that would save you time and give you time freedom for the future?
I encourage you to pay special attention to how you invest your time with your family because these are the types of things that never make the to-do list and we fail to think about them until it's too late. I've shared many times about how I spent purposeful time with my kids in their teens to develop the close relationships that I have with them now.