A statement I hear at least a few times each week is: I don’t have enough time. While every individual comes from a different situation with parents, education, background, trauma, socio-economic background, or country… Absolutely every single person on the planet has the same amount of time each day. I’d like to help you maximize your ability to use the time you have, well. When you use more of your time in the way you feel satisfied you will feel far more in control of your day and your life in general.
The late Stephen Covey wrote a book you should have on your shelf: 7 habits of highly effectively people. Today’s post and the thoughts I have on this topic are largely influenced by one of the first chapters of that book.
Take a quick look at the picture above. It is a graphic of the concept I’m helping out with today. In order to understand your time and then start changing how you interact with your time, you need to understand your priorities (the post I wrote last Friday). Your priorities will help you determine what is important for your life and must correspond with your goals (more on that another time). If you focus more on the activities in your life that meet your priorities you will feel so much more satisfied with your use of time. An example: say one of your priorities is quality family time. Now, what if it is late one night, you are tired, and you are tempted to play on the computer or watch a movie/sporting event? At that moment you can remember that if you start building your business instead, even if it is in a small way, you will be making more money which allows you to spend more quality time with your family. Does that make sense? Every activity in your day has a price tag on it and a consequence that comes from it. Some of these consequences are what you want, some are what you don’t want, and some don’t really make a huge difference in life either way. When you get into a habit of consistently doing more important things instead of less important things you will see massive changes in your results and confidence! While you may feel better in as short as a few minutes after trying this, the major results will build in momentum because you are investing in your priorities. Think of this very much as an investment in the things that matter to you.
The next concept you need to understand is the concept of urgency. Most have heard the idiom “Tyranny of the urgent”. This idiom plays a major role in most people’s lives because you tend to do the things that demand your attention the most; a temper tantrum from your kid (or your parent for that matter) or the bill that has the greatest disadvantages if you don’t pay it like the utility company. While this makes sense and there is some merit to doing what is most urgent, if you get into the habit of focusing only on the urgent you will feel completely out of control of your life. Even though things can FEEL really scary if you don’t do something urgent, you need to balance these urgent tasks with important tasks (always invest in yourself and your priorities).
Here’s what I want you to do. Take the things you need to do this week and divide them into four categories:
1. Important and urgent
2. Important, not as urgent
3. Urgent, not as important
4. Not very important and not as urgent
Next, I want you to do something extremely simple. Start with the #1 tasks and work through them until they are finished. Then, tackle the #2 tasks for that week. Realize that you can do this every day as well: Divide the tasks and then start doing them. I can 100% promise you that if you practice this you will feel better after a week and you will be wealthy in every one of your priorities in 18 months! This system may take a while to practice and figure out. When practiced it will begin to change how you think about relationships, tasks, work, hobbies, exercise, sleep, diet, spirituality, money, and more. It will help you build boundaries into your life and feel so much more in control every day. You will now have so much more time for all the things that are important to you today as well as into the future.
Extra tip: Start monetizing your time! Here’s a quick extra tip I’m throwing in. If you work as an employee this will be difficult and I have a different kind of advice: start working for yourself instead of others. Being an employee is like renting a house… you are always investing in someone else’s asset. OK, back to my point here. Calculate how much you make for different activities in your day, week, and month. Come up with an hourly amount for the different tasks. Now, focus on those tasks that make the most money and start paying someone else to do the things that aren’t making you money. If you want to focus on priorities other than money, you can easily do that with this idea. Start evaluating how much you get when doing certain tasks according to your priorities. If your priority is feeling like you have helped someone, then focus on the things that give you that feeling the most. If your priority is quality family time, start choosing family dinner conversations or bike rides over TV time together.
Have a fantastic week feeling more in control.