Redefine Time

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Principle #40 in Jack Canfield’s book “The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be” is Redefine Time. Jack outlines The Entrepreneurial Time System® created by Dan Sullivan. It divides your time into three types of days: Focus Days, Buffer Days, and Free Days.

Note: The Entrepreneurial Time System, Free Days, Focus Days, and Buffer Days are registered trademarks of The Strategic Coach, Inc. Jack included these concepts with written permission.

Rereading this chapter was a great reminder for me. I have not been scheduling Buffer Days or Free Days. Instead, I get up every morning and begin another Focus Day. In retrospect, I realize that I am not nearly as productive as I was when I did schedule Buffer Days and Free Days.

Redefine Time with Focus Days®

During a Focus Day, you focus at least 80% of your work time on your core genius. As an example, my focus days are filled with writing and developing study materials for Security+ and other certifications.

However, this review has helped me realize that I currently spend much less than 80% of my productive time writing and developing new study materials. In reality, I’m much less focused during my focus days than I have been in the past.

Redefine Time with Free Days®

During a Free Day, you let go of all work. It is completely free of business-related meetings, phone calls, emails, or reading work-related materials.

If you work a traditional Monday through Friday job this might be very easy. You work Monday through Friday and you’re off on Saturday and Sunday. The thought of spending your time on work-related tasks during the weekend might seem completely foreign to you.

However, if you’re an entrepreneur, an executive, or in a job that requires work outside of work, this might be challenging. Trainers and instructors regularly spend the weekend prepping for a class that starts Monday morning. Executives and business owners frequently catch up on their emails during the weekend. IT personnel often spend non-work time learning about new technologies or studying for another certification.

Jack recommends 130 to 150 free days a year. Just enjoying every Saturday and Sunday off will give you 104 days. Add a couple of 5 day vacations and you’re up to 114 days.  I have to admit this is something I’ll have to work back up to, but I do see the benefit.

Free Days help you become more focused on your Focus Days. Just as a vacation often helps you return to the job with renewed enthusiasm and creativity, Free Days can help you become more productive on your Focus days.

Redefine Time with Buffer Days®

During a Buffer Day you spend your time doing support work. It might be learning a new skill, providing training to your support team, delegating tasks, planning projects, or just thinking through concepts.

By doing this type of work on a Buffer Day, you are able to be more focused on your Focus Days. In contrast, when you do this type of work on a Focus Day, it dilutes your focus and productivity.

“As our world gets more complicated and more pressured, you will have to be increasingly more conscious and intentional to structure your time in a way that takes full advantage of your talents and maximizes your results and your income. Start now to control your time and your life. Remember, you are in charge.”

– Jack Canfield


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About This Post

I’ve been learning from Jack Canfield (of Chicken Soup for the Soul fame) since 2008. I credit much of my success (including authoring or co-authoring more than 40 books) to applying principles in my life that he teaches. I’m currently going through his book “The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be,” covering one principle a week.


Here’s a link to other musing’s on Jack Canfield’s Success Principles.


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