Time is the most precious resource we all have, yet many of us don’t make the most of it, from wasting time procrastinating to simply being inefficient. We often don’t squeeze the most out of our lives on a daily basis, yet we are subject to the sand timer in the sky. We have a limited amount of time on this planet… so we need to make the most of it.
While time is our most precious commodity, we tend to prioritize money over time, which is somewhat perverse given the fact we can always make more money, but we can’t make more time. Time is not really something you can “trade”, it’s something you consume!
In this sense, productivity isn’t just about getting more work done, but rather it’s about being more productive in order to squeeze more from your life. The biggest challenge we face is that making money tends to cost us our time, which is why so many people are looking for ways to make passive income that isn’t dependent on the direct exchange of time for money.
As such, you need to figure out how to make more efficient use of your time so you’re creating more output in the same amount of time. This is the best way to double your income, or double the amount of free time you have to pursue other things that are important in your life.
The principles that follow are predominantly written with business owners in mind, but are equally relevant to everyone from stay-at-home dads, to students, to busy executives.
Outsource Time Consuming Tasks
Let’s take the example of chores! There are many tasks that are incredibly time consuming yet necessary, and unfortunately we often end up investing a considerable amount of time in these activities when we would prefer to be doing something more fulfilling and productive.
In the film “About a Boy” Hugh Grant plays a single man that breaks down his time into units, for instance, going for a haircut might be one unit of time whereas doing gym class might be two units of time. In this sense, whilst he didn’t do this in the film, you could track where you are actually consuming your time.
It’s a good idea to do a time inventory like this, to become more mindful and aware. When you consider that lawyers tend to have to account for every six minutes they work on a project, it’s a good idea for you to become more accountable for how you spend your time, as you will be amazed at how much time you waste doing things that aren’t particularly important. You may find that you spend a large amount of time doing things like driving, watching TV, cleaning, and shopping.
The question you need to ask yourself is how much your time is worth. Not in a philosophical way, as such, but in a financial way – for instance, if you make $25 per hour, it actually makes sense to outsource your cleaning to someone that charges $10 per hour, and for you to use that hour working.
A lot of people are reluctant to pay for things they can do themselves, as they feel more frugal in doing things this way, yet when you actually break this down into the simple economics behind it, it actually makes a lot more sense to pay people to do some of the time consuming tasks so that your time is freed up to concentrate on higher value activities.
Automate & Rely On A Team
If you have a business, then it’s imperative you start relying on a team of competent people to help you achieve your business objectives. You don’t need to hire staff necessarily, you could hire freelancers to undertake some of your work without the commitment of a full time staff that do tend to come with a somewhat onerous administrative burden.
Similarly, you might want to look at ways you can automate processes – anything from using intelligent information management; you might be asking “what is IIM“… but essentially, any templates or tools that automate your processes and workflow is helpful to saving time.
For instance, you don’t want to be sending individual emails out to people if you can rely on an auto-responder or mail service such as MailChimp.
Organize Your Time
We often live in reaction rather than response.
This state of “fight or flight” triggers us to be emotionally and instinctually driven rather than thinking about things on a strategic and sensible level. If you have ever found yourself in the place where you have an argument and then send several messages, all at once, you know it’s not the most effective way to communicate — but, you can’t help it, because you are living in reaction rather than response.
In the same way, when it comes to our daily tasks, we often have a feeling of running around, chasing our tail, sometimes like headless chickens – focused on putting fires out and reacting to situations, rather than consciously creating our day and focusing on our most high value tasks.
Starting the day with a sense of purpose by working out what your highest goal is for that day, week, or month and the most significant task you need to achieve that day can be a great way to live a more self-directed life.
In this sense, you are living in response to a plan that you have carefully considered rather than in reaction to ‘urgent situations’ that perhaps, aren’t as urgent in the grand scheme of things as you might feel they are at the time.
In summary, if you’re looking to save more time in 2019 it’s all about getting more focused, conscious and deliberate in how you spend your time.