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Redefine Time

This next article is part of an ongoing series here at TSB Magazine called The Success Principles. The series is based on the 64 principles laid out by Jack Canfield in his course of the same name. If youre new, I always suggest starting any series from the beginning.

Principle 40:  Redefine Time

The most successful people I know create superior results yet still maintain a balance among work, family, and recreation in their lives.  To achieve this, they use a unique planning system that structures their time into three very different kind of days that are prescheduled to assure the highest payoff for their efforts while still allowing abundant amounts of free time to pursue their personal interests. J. Canfield

The three days Canfield speaks of are focus days, buffer days, and free days.  These come from a system called The Entrepreneurial Time System, invented by Dan Sullivan.

Focus Days

A focus day is a day defined as one in which you spend at least 80% of your time operating in your core genius, or primary area of expertise-interacting with people or processes that give you the highest payoffs for the time you invest.  These are the days that will ultimately contribute the most to your success.

Your focus day should be spent doing all of the activities that you defined as your core genius in the previous principle. For me, these days will be spent writing new content.  For others, the day might be spent making sales calls, designing something, negotiating deals, scouting properties, teaching, marketing, or playing a musical instrument.

Buffer Days

A buffer day is a day defined as one in which you plan or prepare for a focus or free day- either by learning a new skill, locating a new resource, training your support team, or delegating tasks and projects to others.  These days are designed to make your focus days as productive as possible.

For me, a buffer day would consist of browsing Barnes and Noble for interesting new topics to write about, taking a seminar, planning how to get our content to more people, or delegating certain projects to Mike Stoute or Pete the Freshman.  For you, a buffer day might consist of seeking out a mentor, practicing your sales skills, researching a more effective piece of software, or attending an industry or professional convention.

Free Days

Zaire 1982 - 4A free day extends from midnight to midnight and involves no work-related activity of any kind.  This is a relaxing day that does not involve emails, research, meetings, phone calls, or writing.

These days you should make yourself unavailable to your staff, colleagues, and customers except for true emergencies.  If you’ve read The Four Hour Work Week you already know how easy this is once you rid yourself of the attitude that you must always be working.


The key to implementing a system like this is to take the time to schedule them.  Ultimately what you want to do is reduce the number of buffer days, and replace them with focus days and free days.  Once again, I’ll try to persuade you to read The Four Hour Work Week which does an amazing job of explaining exactly how to do this.  The more focus and free days you have, the more you’ll find yourself creating greater results at work, and enjoying more fulfillment in your personal life.

Canfield lays out some other steps from The Entrepreneurial System that you may want to implement:

1.  List the three best focus says you ever had.  Write down the common elements.  This will provide you with clues how create more perfect focus days.

2.  Meet with your boss, staff, and coworkers to discuss how to create more of these focus days where you can focus 80% of your time on your core genius.

3.  Meet with your friends and family and discuss ways to create more true free days.

4. Schedule at least four vacations- they can be long weekends or longer-for the next year.

5.  List the three best free days you ever had and look for the common elements. Schedule more of those elements into your planned free days.

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About Bobby Rio I'm Bobby Rio, one of the founders of TSB. I tend to write about what is on my mind so you'll find a mix of self development, social dynamics and dating articles/experiences.  For a collection of some of my favorite articles check them out.

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