Managing and Prioritizing Your Time
Managing your time is one-dimensional thinking. The limitation to this strategy, however, is that there is always more to do than we can ever have time for.
Prioritizing your time is developing the necessary ability to move one task in front of the others. While the value of this skill is more important than ever, we must realize that there is nothing about it that creates more time. It is simply borrowing time from one area of our life to focus on another to make sure the most important thing gets done first. It leaves us no strategy, though, for what to do with the remaining items that need to be completed.
There is no such thing as “time management”; there is only self-management.
The existing constructs of time-management theory primarily offer us two solutions for creating more results in our life:
- Doing this faster (running)
- Perpetually reprioritizing tasks (juggling)
This lack of strategies often results in massive stress, anxiety, frustration, despair and eventually burnout. The result is “Priority Dilution”. This means falling victim to the “Tyranny of the Urgent,” which is always pulling us away from things that we know are important but somehow don’t demand our attention right now.
Multiplying Your Time
While most people operate and evaluate their time based on two-dimensional thinking, Multipliers consider a third factor, which is Significance.
Urgent is “How soon does this matter?” Important is “How much does this matter?” and Significant is “How long does this matter?”
You multiply your time by spending time on things today that give you more time (and results) tomorrow.
The only way to avoid always dealing with urgent fires is not to deal with your fires faster, but to get out in front of them to prevent the fires from ever happening in the first place.
“Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
The most immediate area of improvement in multiplying our time is taking inventory of all the things we can simply stop doing.
Most of us have a deep-rooted fear of saying no. You aren’t doing anyone any favors by saying yes to something that you really want to say no to. You can say no and still be nice.
Give yourself the permission to Ignore without ramping down time or needing to explain anything to anyone. Just Eliminate it!
You are always saying no to something. You are either consciously saying no to the things that don’t matter or you are unconsciously saying no to the things that do.
In every transaction there are multiple types of cost:
- Actual cost is the amount of money you actually paid for something.
- Opportunity cost is the equivalent amount of what you gave up by buying something else.
- Hidden cost is the amount of potential return you would’ve received had you invested that money instead of spent it.
Hidden cost is the greatest of all of these costs and it is the one that the fewest people ever pay attention to.
Anything that wastes your time is a waste of your money.
Many people and companies know they need to invest in better systems but cite “not having the money” or “not having the time” as the reason why they can’t. Yet, when you apply the Significance calculation and take time into account, you see that it is literally costing them more not to make the investment. They are missing the permission to Invest.
A company can never outgrow the strength of its systems. Automation is to your time what compounding interest is to your money.
The greatest threat to anyone’s success is not a lack of talent, a lack of education, a lack of resources or a lack of opportunity; it is shortsightedness—a lack of vision.
The reason we don’t Delegate is because of a false belief that “someone else won’t be able to do it as well as I can” or that “it is faster to do it myself.”
R.O.T.I. stands for “return on time invested,” and it works the same as an R.O.I. calculation of money except it is for your time.
M.V.O.T. stands for Money Value of Time and articulates that all of us have an hourly wage and that we are always either paying someone else at their rate of pay to complete a task, or we are paying ourselves at ours.
Leadership isn’t about getting things done right. It’s about getting things done through other people.
The 30x rule says that we should invest 30 times the amount of time it takes to complete a task in training someone to do the task and it will still be worth it.
Most of us drastically underestimate the number of skills it takes to just keep up with our daily lives and the incredible opportunity of creating jobs for others and peace for ourselves by learning to outsource.
Timing matters. Just as there is great power in the discipline of acting, there is also great power in the patience of waiting.
Waiting to do something when “we know it is something that we should do but we don’t really want to do it” is Procrastination. Waiting because “we are deciding that now is not the right time” is Patience.
Inaction that results from indulgence is Procrastination. Inaction that results from intention is Patience. Procrastinate on Purpose is a synonym for Patience.
Waiting till the last minute is good because it reduces your vulnerability to unexpected change cost. Waiting until after the last minute is bad because it creates stress, anxiety and many negative actual costs to a business. So you don’t want to be late, but you also don’t want to be too early. Strive to work precisely on time.
Doing something early is not the same as creating more time. It is just taking time from tomorrow and moving it into today and adding the risk of unexpected change cost.
Patience isn’t just waiting. It is also giving yourself time to breathe. It is creating margin in your life. And it is freeing yourself from the fear that you’re not good enough so you must do everything now in order to prove that you are.
A priority is any task that rises to such a level of Significance that it is beyond the convenience of what your schedule allows. You force it to be the first focus.
Until you accomplish your next most Significant priority, everything else in life is a distraction.
Temporarily ignore the small stuff so that you can Concentrate on the big stuff.
We have a very emotional fear of letting other people down that causes us to sacrifice our priorities for other people’s.
“Concentrate” serves both as a great verb to remind us to take action and also as a meaningful noun that represents the skill of quickly identifying what the next most Significant step will be.
Your highest obligation to other people is to be your highest self. It is your obligation to spend time on things today that create more opportunity for those around you tomorrow.