How a Dose of Urgency can Save You Time and Make You Money

Updated to Business on January 3, 2023.

I was sitting on the old sofa in our office eating salad and thinking about sales. We were in the final throes of selling seats for my annual BOSS (Business Of Speaking School) public speaker training course and it still wasn’t full.

Some 1,400 people had registered for the webinars that promoted BOSS, of those some 600 had attended the live webinars, and of those 74 had bought the course. That’s 20 more than last year, but I still wasn’t satisfied – what about the 526 who invested an hour with me on the webinars, but still hadn’t registered?

I knew the ultimate (but impossibly time consuming) solution would be to invite them to have a phone call with me. If I could get them on the phone, I reasoned, I could learn about their needs and help them decide if BOSS was a fit.

I decided to invite them to a 15 minute call the following day. Instead of impossibly time consuming, it seemed an impossibly short amount of time to accomplish anything.

I quickly wrote up the email (below) and went home.

Later that night I casually checked my scheduling software – I already had 8 bookings for the next day!

So I adjusted the limits in my booking software to accept bookings to 8:00AM. Those filled.

I opened it to 7:00AM – those filled as well.

My crazy call schedule

The next morning (at 6:00AM) I was in my office, headset on, launching into 26 back-to-back 15 minute calls.

Here’s the surprising bit, not only did 50% of the people I spoke with sign up for BOSS (yeah!) it was actually easy to wrap up every call in 15 minutes.

Here’s the lesson

We waste a lot of time. You, me, everyone.

It’s easy to get lulled into the delusion that time has no value. It does—make every minute count.

You’ve likely heard of the Parkinson’s Principle – work expands to fit the time allotted. In other words, book a one-hour call and – miracles! – it wraps up in 60 minutes.

What about that planning meeting, or that client visit, or coaching call. Are they fluffed out to fill the time?

In that one day, with my 15 minute calls, I was able to speak to Berlin, Croatia, London, Melbourne, South Carolina, New York (twice), New Mexico, Wisconsin, Chicago, Toronto, Nashville….heck, I finished in Dubai!

I could have spent the week sloughing through one hour interviews or I can add a dose of urgency and to the point.

Where are you wasting time?

In my Think, Plan, Act keynote I often ask the audience what their day is like the day before vacation. You know, that frantic, get-er-done, experience when you’re both excited and driven to complete what’s most important before you load up and head to Disneyland.

Here’s what I usually hear:

“I was amazed at what I got done!”

“I said ‘No’ to almost everything”

“I got so much finished – I should’ve been wearing a cape”

“It was the one day my desk looked amazing!”

Now, here’s the deal – they were being super productive and decisive BUT THEY HADN’T GONE ANYWHERE.

It was still them going to work – but on that one day they showed up with a sense of urgency.

The trick is they had a deadline.

Do this now

It’s time to get honest – ask yourself where you need deadlines and where you’re wasting time.

Just for fun (you’ll thank me later) I created this cheat sheet for you – pick one deadline and one time waster and then get to work.

It’s your life, it’s your time – now make it count. 

** Tell me in the comments what you waste time on. **