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This episode is a business coaching course that provides time management tips.

Results-Focused Training, Tools, and Workshops from Expert Business Coaches.

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 1
  • Notable Quotable: "Time management is the act of controlling the events in your life." - Lee Cockerell
  • Lesson Nugget: You have the ability to take control of your life by managing your time.
  • Notable Quotable: "Most people have time to do what they want to do, but not what they should do." - Lee Cockerell
  • Lesson Nugget: Organization and discipline will you give you more time in the day by allowing you to focus on exactly what you need to.
  • Mystic Statistic: "Slightly more than half of employees surveyed (51 percent) say they waste up to two hours a week on tasks that aren't work related or don't help them 'get real work done.'" - Today Show

pluralsight for time management, time management tips


-What's up, guys? My name is Daniel McKenna. And today, Clay Clark will be sitting down with Lee Cockerell. And we're talking about time management magic and time management tips.

If you don't know who Lee Cockerell is, Lee Cockerell is the former executive VP of Walt Disney World Resort and once managed over 40,000 cast members at the same time. So he probably knows a little bit about management and a little bit about time management to be able to get so much stuff done. He's also the author of three books, including "Time Management Magic."

Specifically,today Lee is going to besharing time management tips and talking about how to get so much more done with your day and really get stuff done that really matters to you in your life. We all have the same amount of time in a day. So why is it that some people are able to get so much stuff done and the rest of humanity maybe doesn't get all that much done at all?

Well, Lee is going to show you the specific way to set your calendar, set your planner, organize your day to really get everything done that you need to get done. This is a super powerful training. If you don't learn anything other business education on this site, sincerely, you've got to learn this. So pay attention.

As always, here at Thrive15 we believe that knowledge without application is meaningless, meaning if you watch Lee's training today and then don't actually apply these time management principles and business education to your life or your business, today's training is going to be more meaningless than a sun dial without a sun.

Because you couldn't see it. You'd probably bump into it in the dark. I suppose you could get night vision goggles to actually locate where it is in the room. But it wouldn't functionally w-- you'd need the sun for it to functionally work. That-- that's the joke.


-Lee, good morning, my friend. How are you?

-I'm good. Thank you.

-Hey, I am super excited today to talk about a topic that I think is one of the most important topics that people could ever learn about. It's time management. And we're going to go ahead and deep dive into this. We're going to start off with a notable quotable from your book on time management. You say that "Time management is the act of controlling the events in your life." Lee, what do you mean by this?

-Well, I think a lot of people just go through life. And they wake up in the morning. And the next thing they know, they're 65 years old. They don't know what happened. Time goes by quick. And I know one quote we had in the book that said, if you don't take the time to plan and control your life, the life you want, you're going to spend a lot of time living a life you do not want.

Because you just can't let things happen. Every one of us has control over the things we do, where we spend our time, how we get it done, what we focus on, what are our priorities in our life. And I don't think the average person even thinks about this.

-Well I'm going to challenge your thought on this-- certainly not disagree, just sort of challenge. Because I want to get your feedback. But I know when I started out as an entrepreneur, I was juggling three jobs. I was working at Applebee's. I was probably the worst waiter that they've ever had. And I never felt like I had time to get anything proactively done. And until I learned to really manage my time, I know that I just always felt overwhelmed.

But in your book, you say "Most people have time to do what they want to do, but not what they should do." Again, "Most people have time to do what they want to do, but not what they should do."


-What do you mean by that?

-Well, you could use the simple example of people not exercising.


But they actually do spend an hour watching TV. OK. It's discretionary. You make your choices. You've got these 168 hours. You've got to spend them. Some people spend too long on the phone. They don't know how to hang up. They don't know how to get to the point. They don't know how to be candid and straightforward, save another 15 minutes here, five minutes there, 10 minutes here. It adds up.

You could save an hour or two a day pretty easily in 5 and 6, 8-minute segments. And I just don't think people understand the concept. And the main reason-- I think a lot of people would like to be organized. They've never had a course. Nobody's ever talked to them about it. It's just the way it is.

-Well, they certainly don't teach it much on the college campus. I know when I was at Oklahoma State and I went to different colleges, they never really had a time management course or a class. But it's the most important thing you need to learn, right?

-It is. And I think high schools should start teaching it in 11th and 12th grade, or even maybe earlier to help students understand you've got to learn to schedule things. Because soon you're going to go to college or be out on your own. And your mother's not going to be there to make your bed and to look after you.

And when you think about it, being organized and disciplined and focusing on the right things, common sense tells you that it's pretty important. It's like, we all get to the airport on time. What happens? The plane doesn't wait. In the rest of our life, we kind of just bounce around.

-Well, there's this study that the "Today Show" published. And it said, "Slightly more than half of employees--" more than half entrepreneurs, employees-- I'm sure if you're watching this-- not you, but other people-- "Slightly more than half of employees surveyed say they waste up to two hours a week on tasks that aren't work related or don't help them get real work done."

Lee, you managed 40,000 people at the same time as the head of the number one tourist attraction on the planet, Disney World. Is this surprising to you that people are wasting a couple hours a week doing things that have nothing to do with work while at work?

-I suspect it's a couple hours a day, not a couple hours a week.


-People are incredible how they spend their time. And on social media today is one. They leave too late in the morning. They get stuck in traffic 45 minutes when they could've got to work in 15 minutes if they left a little earlier.

If they'd have got there a little earlier, they could have planned their day a little better, instead of they're stuck out there on Interstate 4 or 10 or 40 or Route 66. Why? Because everybody goes to work at the same time, except me. I go to work early. There's no lines at Starbucks at 6:00 in the morning.

-That's true.

-And there's no traffic at 6:00 in the morning.


-And there's no problems in the morning. So it's just people have got to rethink how they're thinking. This is the problem. People don't think. They think, well, I don't know, everybody goes to work at 7:00. That's why the traffic's at 7:00. So got to get people to rethink. They're not thinking right.

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 2
  • "Thankfully, persistence is a great substitute for talent." - Steve Martin (Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life)
  • Steps to Time Management Magic: 1. Decide where and when you will plan out your day.
  • Lesson Nugget: Use discretion depending on your circumstances for how long it will take you to plan your schedule.
  • Ask Yourself: When and where am I going to be free of distractions to think and plan out my schedule?
  • Action Step: Use the first 15-20 minutes of your day to organize and plan out your schedule.

-Well I'm going to share another little mystic statistic for you here. According to a research that was published by CBS MoneyWatch, there's nine top time-wasters. I'm sure you could list 99, but I'm going to give you the top nine that they listed here in this article.

One is phone use and texting. 50% of people admit to that.

The second is gossip. You know, basically 42% of people are saying I don't really work, I'm just kind of talking about Sharon. She's not here right now, but I'm just sort of talking about her.

Surfing the internet, social media, snack or smoke breaks, meetings, emails, co-workers dropping by saying hey how you doing, co-workers putting calls on the speaker phone not really paying attention.

Lee amidst all these distractions, I know that you were able to get a lot of things done and that you actually developed a time management system that is literally changing the lives for thousands of people all across the planet.

So let's go ahead and hop into these six steps for how to better manage our lives and our careers.

So Step One you talk about here is decide where and when you will plan out your day. Lee walk us through why it's so important to know when and where you will plan out your day.

-Well I think you have to think this through. I have a few little strategies. When I was working at Disney, always Sunday evening while I'm sitting on the couch maybe watching TV, I would go through my day planner and look at every day for the next week and see which meetings that somebody put in my schedule that I really don't need to go to, I need to send somebody else, because with the technology today, appointments end up in there and you're wondering where they came from--

-Yeah it's happened to me sometimes.

-So then I would make a note all of those and then I'd send the note to my assistant. I'd tell her take me out of this one, send Joe to this one, I'm not coming to that one, I'm not doing this, I'm not doing that, by the way don't schedule anything after 5 o'clock because I'm going to the gym. And I just did it that way.

Then in the morning every day, I would spend 5, 10, 15 minutes. I got to work around 6:15 and I'd spend 15, 20 minutes--

-Is anybody else there?

-Nobody's there, you could park as close as you want.

-So when you showed up at Disney World-- a place where there's over a million people a week, according to Forbes over 52 million people a year visited this place-- you get there at 6:15, no one's there?

-Very seldom. Very seldom you run into anybody.

-So is that kind of your time and place where you would do it--

-It's great. There's nobody to bother you, and nobody calls you and nobody texts you. I tell people I answer my email before you wake up. It's just a choice. You know, I think if you get up earlier, you get more done. You're just more efficient.

-Now how long should this process take of mapping out your day?

-Yeah, I think it matters. It depends on what job you're in. You know if you're in a brand new job, you may have to do it for half an hour every day until you figure out what you're doing. If you just came back from two weeks vacation, you may need to spend an hour on Sunday or an hour and a half going through your email, figuring out where you've got to go.

But I'd say on the average morning routine, I would say 10, 15 minutes it took me. I could do it at Starbucks. I could it at my kitchen table. I could do it in the car. I could do it at my desk. Just do it!

-But if someone's watching this right now, they need to ask themselves when and where am I going to do this. Where am I going to be free of distractions to make this happen?

-Yeah I mean if you have three kids at home and they wake up about the time you do in the morning at 6 o'clock, you probably don't want to do it at home. Depends on how quiet-- you need a quiet place where you can think and not be interrupted and people won't bother you.

And sometimes I did it in the car, just stayed in my car in the parking lot and did it because I knew I'd gotten there later that morning for some reason and the minute you walk into your workplace, it's chaos. Phones are ringing, people want to see you, there's 12 problems, and then all the sudden. You start your day-- 10 or 12 hour day-- and you have no plan. . And you forget to do a couple things that are really important. Your boss gets on your case and then you say you forgot. And then your reputation goes downhill because he's wondering why you're forgetting.

I mean you've got to have a quiet place. And you pick that place out. Everybody can pick it out, a different place. And sometimes I do it on an airplane, you know.


Like you notice tomorrow morning I've got a 6:00 AM flight, you know why? Because the plane will be there tonight. The 10 o'clock flight's in Chicago tomorrow hoping it comes. So I will be home for lunch. A lot of people are going to not get home for--

-You love to take the early morning flight.

-Sure there's no problem, no traffic. And I'm staying at a hotel where you can walk right over the terminal. And just don't get yourself-- think. You've got to think more.

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 3
  • Notable Quotable: "You only have one life so have only one calendar and planner." - Lee Cockerell
  • Steps to Time Management Magic: 2. Schedule time for what matters most.
  • Notable Quotable: "In what areas are you not happy?" - Lee Cockerell
  • Lesson Nugget: Identify the areas in your life you want to improve in; create a plan, schedule a time, and develop a routine to avoid possible problems in your future.
  • Action Step: Record your entire schedule in one calendar so you can keep track of every area of your life.


-Now I want to ask you this here because I see a lot of entrepreneurs. I've consulted with countless companies. I see a lot entrepreneurs. They have something on a Post-it note, something in an email--

-And they're all over the refrigerator and lampshades and all over the place.

-Yeah, they've got all these ideas that are all floating around. But you say in your book-- you say something that in your book that in my mind is totally non-congruent with what 95% of people are doing.

You say, "You only have one life, so you have only one calendar and planner." Why is it so important to have just one calendar and planner, my friend?

-Well, I remember way back my wife had-- you know your insurance company sends you these calendars with mountain scenes or animals. And you take a thumbtack, you stick it next to the phone. And you're writing things on there. And my wife's writing things on there. And then you have one-- and then you have that beautiful one on your desk your parents gave you for Christmas. It really looks nice, big, gold thread in it. Then you got one in your pocket.

Now you've got your schedule so screwed up, you've got some in there, and some in there and some in-- you just put it all here. Your personal life, your business life, everything's in one calendar. And that way, you're not-- you can only record in one place. You cannot keep up. Most people can't even keep up with one calendar, let alone two or three.

-So if someone's watching this right now, an action step they can take is just get it all into one place.

-One life, one calendar. You don't have a business life and a personal life. You got to get it all done. You've got to figure it out.

-OK. Now I'm going to ask you a little story time here, a little story time. Can you share with us an example of where and when you planned out your schedule when you were-- I mean, when you were at Disney, you were managing 40,000 people. So your routine, I guess, was then you would just get to the place around 6:00 and you'd kind of sit in your quiet space? Or what was the typical day like for you there?

-I would say 90% of the time I did it in my office at 6:15 in the morning.


-If I was not going to go to the office, I was taking a flight, I might get to the airport 15, 20 minutes early and do it there. I might do it before I left home. Even today, I don't do that anymore at the airport because I go there to walk for an hour to get 5,000, 6,000, 7,000 steps in, because I'm compulsive crazy and I need to get my--

-True story. You are-- now I'm not going to mention your age, let's just say you're north of 34. And just this morning, you were in Tulsa visiting. And I had a text from someone who said about 6:45 you were already up walking and getting the day going. How many miles a day do you walk, my friend?

-I walk on average seven or eight miles a day. But I tell people the reason I do that I'm in the O-zone. And people say what's the O-zone? I said the obituary zone. I'm going to be 71 soon. I got more at stake than you do. So, yeah. You talk about time management.

-Do you listen to any music or anything while you're walking around or do you listen to a lot of--

LEE COCKERELL: No, I just think about what's happening. I don't put in any earphones, you get run over that way.

-I'm surprised you're not listening to the Rocky soundtrack or something. OK. All right.

-Nothing in my ears, nothing anywhere. In fact, I would recommend people quit walking around things in their ears. I'm wondering what's your problem, guy. Get rid of that thing.

-Well, OK. This just in here, this just in. Now step number two, step number two. You want them to schedule time for what matters most. So we're already in the place. We've scheduled a time. But now we have to schedule time for what matters most.

Now Lee, on page 28 of your book, you basically encourage everyone to start asking themselves something that at first could seem negative. It says, "In what areas are you not happy?" Can you talk about why that's so important?

-Well, I think people just get stuck in this and they accept unhappiness, or they accept bad health, or they accept not having the right contacts. And people accept all this stuff.

And if you'll sit down and tell yourself OK I am not happy with my health. Then what are you going to do about it? And that's what I do. I have a routine. I schedule my workouts. I have a goal every day to walk at least 13,000, 14,000 steps. I fit them in. Sometimes I do it in the house and it drives my wife crazy, because I walk by the TV and she says, I speak to you and then you're gone and I don't get an answer. But I do it at the airport. This morning I did it in my room, Dr. Z's.

-Are you serious? You walked around your room?

-Yeah, I got 5,000 steps in because nobody was up. So what I'm going to do? And it's cold out. So I came back in and did it in the house. But, yeah, I just-- and then I have a trainer twice a week where I do strength training, so I don't fall and break a hip one day and end up in a wheelchair or hip replacement and die of pneumonia in the hospital, or whatever happens because you never recover. You never come back to where you were.

So is it worth a couple of times a week to build strength? For all the people watching, a lot of these are young people, but after 50 they say strength training is more important than aerobics. So you got to schedule it. You got to schedule the priorities in your life, or they won't happen, especially things that hurt, like working out.

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