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Expo speaker: Time management key to success

The old adage “time is money” is not true, according to a speaker at the Cumming-Forsyth County Business Expo on Thursday.

Mark McGraw, owner of Sandler Sales, shared advice with business professionals during his address at the expo’s “working lunch,” which preceded the expo floor opening at 1 p.m.

McGraw gave practical advice on how to get the most out of every business day. He said he “set out on a crusade” several years ago to become more efficient.

“Time is not money,” he said. “… Time is infinitely more valuable than money. You can always make more money, you cannot make more time.”

He encouraged the audience to start thinking of time as life.

“You need to think you’re not investing time, but you’re investing life,” he said.

“Time is actually life and how you’re choosing to spend it is determining what kind of experience you’re having and what your business looks like and what kind of a relationship you have with your family.”

McGraw said another fact he learned on his crusade to be more efficient was Pareto’s law, discovered by an 1800s economist.

“When he studied wealth, it was not evenly distributed,” McGraw said. “He found that 80 percent of the wealth, or the land, was owned by 20 percent of the people … He began to see that trend all throughout nature.”

McGraw said Pareto’s principle also applies to business, for example, “80 percent of sales come from 20 percent of the people” and “80 percent of your business comes from 20 percent of the clients.”

Therefore, McGraw said, “The challenge becomes not what I need to do … but how do I choose what not to do.”

McGraw likened business opportunities to “squirrels, deer and elephants.”

Squirrels he said are the “little transactions that you have and there are a lot of them. They require a lot of work for not much return.”

Elephants on the other hand are the “mammoth opportunities that come along every once in while … things that you put all your money and all your investment into.”

Deer, McGraw said, are the types of opportunities that business people should put most of their energy into.

“Go evaluate the 80 percent and those are going to be the deer,” he said. “Those are the good-sized opportunities to feed your family for a while. Focus your time and energy and effort into those.”

McGraw also criticized the concept of “multi-tasking.”

“Every time there is a distraction in your life … your mind will disengage from that focused topic you were on … and it will center itself on whatever it was that distracted you,” he said. “When you make that mental shift, you will lose 30 percent productivity.”

Even tasks as simple as turning off e-mail and cell phones for periods of the day, McGraw said, can greatly increase overall productivity.

He also encouraged the audience to establish blocks of time for specific tasks each day.

“It can be transformative in terms of you shaping what you want to go achieve,” he said. “You can be a part of your own plan or someone else’s … and I want you be in charge of your own plan.”

Those who attended working lunch seemed to enjoy McGraw’s presentation. Edward Henderson with Synergy America Inc. said the message fit perfectly with strategies he and his team use.

“In my business, which is basically selling staffing professional services, there is a great correlation between my guys, my sales team, my recruiters and [me],” he said. “We’ve got to plan how we’re going to approach our day …so what he was talking about really hit home.”

Holly L. King with Georgia 400 Storage likened presentations from McGraw to a church service where the minister seems to be speaking directly to every individual.

“It’s so personal,” she said. “It’s like ‘been there, done that.’”