I hear this quite often and I’m even guilty of having said it myself. But, more time isn’t an option; it’s a non-renewable resource. We all get 168 hours a week. And, surprisingly, that’s enough time to sleep 8 hours a night (56), work a full-time job (40), commute both ways (10 hours), handle personal care (14), workout every day (7), spend time with family and friends (15) and still have an extra 26 hours left over. What are we doing with all that extra time? Probably wasting it.
I know I was. In 2014, I read the book 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam. I was shocked by what I discovered. After meeting her challenge to audit my time in 15-minute increments for a week, I discovered a spent far more time on useless activities than I would have liked to admit (even to myself). I clocked hours watching television, surfing the Internet, hanging out on Facebook, “conducting research”, and other forms of mental puttering. I also found myself doing a lot of “multi-tasking”, which meant switching gears a lot, losing focus and wasting precious minutes re-engaging in my original task. She even challenged my assumptions that I was working 50-60 hours a week and that all those things I really wanted to do (like write a book and spend more quality time with my kids) were absolutely possible.
Cut to today, and while I now have a four-month-old, I feel have more time than I did before the little guy was born. How is that possible? I had to get very clear on what was important and what wasn’t. This applies as much to your business as it does to your personal life. Clarity of purpose and objectives means the difference between spinning your wheels on low-impact tasks like “researching your market” for the tenth time and driving business growth with high-impact activities like talking to qualified prospects about their biggest pain points. We all know how to be busy, but building a successful business requires us to be productive.
Here’s how you can manage your time on Take Action Tuesday:
Audit your time in 15-minute increments.
Take Laura Vanderkam’s challenge this week. You can download her template here. Knowing how you spend this precious resource means you can budget it more effectively in the future.
There are countless apps and functionalities on our phones and computers to help minimize distractions and even stay on task. Some will even do both. One of my favorites is Forest for iPhone. Once you start the timer, you can’t access your phone (unless, of course, you’re comfortable killing the tree you planted).
Do what matters most.
First. By employing Pareto’s Principle or the 80/20 rule, you can surmise that 20% of your efforts produce 80% of the results. Determine which 20% is creating the most value, and make sure it gets done first thing in the morning. The rest can go on your to do list.
If you decide to take the challenge, let me know what you discover. We hope to see you over here at ASU Chandler Innovations Center soon!