I came across this wonderful analogy in time while doing research for one of my events:
“Think about the airline industry. Their goal is to have a full cabin on every flight. They really don’t like empty seats. So prices are high and dynamic. As the day of the flight approaches, prices continue Good luck to anyone on a tight budget, wanting a seat on a flight at the last minute!
But once the plane takes off, an empty seat is worthless. That is a loss for the airline. There is no way they can get money for it. As expensive as the seat may have been, once it’s gone, it’s worthless.
The same can be said of ‘time’. A very expensive product indeed. As the clock ticks down, it becomes more and more precious. You would kill to save those precious moments right before something needs to be done. Do anything to have a little more time at your disposal! Unfortunately, you can’t stop the clock.
And once it’s gone, it’s no longer expensive. Stop being anything!”
There is a very simple thing that I like to say,
Past Time = Failed Time
Let me give you some statistics. The average person gets 1 interruption every 8 minutes, or about 7 per hour, or 50-60 per day. The average outage lasts 5 minutes, totaling about 4 hours or 50% of the average workday. 80% of those interruptions are typically categorized as “low value” or “no value”, resulting in approximately 3 hours of lost time per day.
By taking 1 hour per day for independent study, 7 hours per week, 365 hours in a year, one can learn at the pace of a full-time student. In 3-5 years, the average person can become an expert in the subject of their choice, spending just one hour per day.
If only we had that one hour that we could squeeze out of our crucial time (set aside to waste)
I know it’s hard. The habit of wasting time is hard to break, especially the blissful joy of doing nothing. And then running around in a mindless panic at the 11th hour, even though that’s not much fun. Here are a few things you could do that have proven to work well for me, if you’re looking to better manage your time:
1. Price your time
Yes, please give a rough estimate of the cost of your time. You may not make it comparable to some industry stalwarts, but consider yourself as someone who is pretty successful when you do it.
Depending on how much you earn (or spend, if you’re a student) each year, you can count the number of productive days in a year and the number of working hours in a day. Get your own hourly rate ;)… If you don’t know the value of your time, who will? I do this exercise every time I review my compensation rates for clients.
Once you have that estimate, the next time you need to waste your time on something, you can compare whether or not it’s worth it. The concept of value in marketing is defined as benefit/cost. (Some even consider it benefits minus costs.) Discover your own version of the benefits over the cost of your time, that is, the value of time.
Now, I am not saying that you do everything according to this method. But many of your trivial activities could go through this simple test before you decide to undertake them. This will simply give you an idea of how much valuable time you usually waste doing things you don’t really need to do.
2. SWOT analysis
You must have heard of SWOT, right? It is an analysis of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. It is generally done at the organizational level against competitors to understand the path traveled so far and what lies ahead.
But who said you couldn’t do it yourself?
SWOT can be helpful in prioritizing your time and to-dos. Among all the items in your SWOT, I suggest that you focus on your strengths. Spend more time on the things you are good at and play to your strengths. This will ensure that you enjoy more of your productive hours. But it will also help you determine which of your weaknesses you can spend how much time on, so that you can turn them into your opportunities and, subsequently, into your strengths. It is very doable, if you put your heart into the search for ‘the best’.
If you can’t imagine a long-term situation, don’t panic. Take one day at a time. I would say spend some time each day on your SWOT elements. Some will be high priority and some will be low. But be sure to take some time. As mentioned at the beginning of the post, simply putting out 1 hour every day can earn you experience in a particular field (condition applied: one hour dedicated). Just find time first for your priorities.
You’ll be surprised at how much spare time you’ll have left each day for you to decide how much to spend on trivial, non-essential things. SWOT has always come to my rescue. It will do the same for you, I guarantee it!
3. Get up early
This doesn’t sound like time management advice, but trust me it is. When I started getting up early and trying to get 50% of my to-dos done before the rest of the world even woke up, it gave me a very beautiful illusion of having more than 24 hours in my day. I had more time for myself, my family, my work, everything. This habit works wonders.
The most important things are done early on, leaving time for leisure and fun and, most importantly, doing more important things than you had planned! That’s a welcome deception, I’d say. Here are some morning activities that can set up your day.
4. Creating to-do lists
Creating to-do lists is a classic time management tool. I have a white board right above my workstation where all the to-dos go. It’s the easiest way to tackle your endless to-do list. Keep crossing off what was done and keep writing down what more needs to be done.
Strategically place him in a position where his eyes will move from time to time. If you’re a more organized person, you can even color-code your to-do whiteboard. The gist of it is to make you feel embarrassed if the list of crossed out items is smaller.
And don’t be embarrassed to write down to-dos. Once you have an exhaustive list, you can do your SWOT and prioritize too! Find out what is most important and what needs to be done right away.
5. Right Here Right Now
If it takes you 2 minutes to do something, do it now. Don’t procrastinate even over very small things. Often 2 minute tasks, when stacked up, look like an Everest you have to conquer. It’s this 2-minute pile of noodles that is often perceived as a crisis. And trust me, an important part of crisis management is dealing with these simple things efficiently. It is not a big thing. We just make it one.
It would also be advisable to do the things you fear the most first. But he hates. That inertia of having made a good effort is carried forward for the rest of the day (or sitting). You may not be successful initially. But little by little, you will get into the habit of facing your fears and doing things on time, those are two good things!
6. Kill your Distractors
Have you heard of the Pareto principle? Pareto’s 80-20 rule, when applied to time management, says: 80% of your time halves generates only 20% of the results.
And it’s not rocket science that 80% of your unfocused time is the result of too much distraction. Kill those distractors. Free high-speed internet, buffer-free YouTube streaming, endless social media and its apps, so many relationship problems to worry about, numerous trivial things to think about, useless people problems to get involved in – a lot of work, a lifetime modern it is!
These distractions can be kept at bay. A little willpower is all you need. And what starts out as willpower soon becomes a habit. Gradually eliminate your distractions if you want to get anywhere in life. Because what doesn’t take you towards your goals, takes you away from them!
There are many more ways to better manage your time. But the first step for all of them is: their absolute and unerring determination to make use of these very important non-renewable resources, in a better and more judicious way.
The difference between a Steve Jobs and a normal job is: how 24 hours are used!