Time is Your Most Valuable Asset
Author H. Jackson Brown Jr. said that we all have the same amount of hours per day as Albert Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Helen Keller had. And it’s true!
Our excuses for not having enough time are laughable when compared to individuals who have achieved an immense amount within the same parameters. Yet, it’s so easy to grow complacent and convince ourselves that we’re far too busy to achieve just as much as other individuals!
Most of the time, if we would just minimize our daily distractions, focus, turn off the email and social media for a few hours a day, and get to work, we would have more time than we knew what to do with.
Because time is your most precious resource, minimizing the ‘time-wasters’ in your life is absolutely essential.
Let’s look at some of the most prominent things we do that wastes our time.
Social media marketing is a great tool for growing your business, spreading your message, and growing a community around your vision. But spending too much time on your social media feeds can quickly become a problem.
I think we all subscribe to the sentiment that social media in excess is a waste of time. And yes, it can be an absolutely powerful tool for communication and connection, but so many of us wonder where our days go despite habits of checking our social media profiles a few times every hour.
Now don’t get me wrong, I too can get caught up scrolling through a news feed here and there. However, allowing social media to consume your life can be a tad bit overboard. In fact, most people don’t even know that they’re doing it!
If we tally up our daily time spent on social media, we might be shocked. This resource says that on average, 142 minutes a day is spent on social media sites.
Because it’s easy to fall victim to autopilot and the internet’s many clickable distractions, we have to limit ourselves from spending too much time online. Try unplugging for 24 hours. It can be quite invigorating, and I promise, you’re going to survive without it!
Forcing ourselves to not habitually check social media means that we have extra time to hit daily workouts. It also means we can spend time on those projects we never seem to have the energy for. And cultivating discipline towards time management contributes to productivity and less procrastination.
We need to approach our daily tasks with a focused mind. If not, we are bound to spend twice the amount of time on a task than necessary.
Instead of drifting through a workweek, we need to make every minute count. Instead of multitasking and taking our attention to a hundred different places in any given day, we can focus on 2-3 tasks instead.
Now, we all know the dangers of procrastination. As the information on that webpage shows, breaking down a task into smaller sections and putting aside interruptions is key for keeping ourselves focused on what we need to accomplish.
So, instead of avoiding work because it is difficult or makes us uncomfortable, we can learn to break down a formidable task into smaller sections and then force ourselves to finish, no matter what.
You can also try reverse engineering a task to save time. This means you can find the solution to your problem first, that you can determine from the outcome how to tackle a problem and figure out the process. Sometimes working backwards can save you a lot of time!
These strategies for saving time are not easy to practice though! It takes a lot of vigilance and self-accountability to make sure you are forcing yourself to focus. This is also where having team members, friends, mentors, family members, significant others, personal trainers, can keep you on track.
In that sense, consider setting up a system where the important people in your life are also keeping you accountable for the things you want to accomplish. There is strength in numbers!
Also, consider a “will do list”. It will help hold you accountable and at the end of the day when you review. And plus, it’s a great feeling to cross each individual item off your list!
Of course we are going to stress about the future. We are always going to be anxious about something. It’s perfectly normal to worry about finances or our health. It’s also just as normal to fixate on past mistakes as a sort of prophetic look into the future.
I used to have severe anxiety stressing over the future, and to this day, it is personally the hardest thing not to get caught up in. Always feeling like you’re not doing enough is a very common element of being an entrepreneur, so I have my hands full with that on a daily basis!
Not such a great way to spend your life though, when you think about it. Nor is it a productive use of time!
Again, we want to maximize the hours of our life. This means that when we go to bed, we get deep, restorative sleep. If we are up late into the night, worrying about the future and unable to relax, then your work will suffer. This will then start a vicious cycle!
So, this doesn’t mean that we should just wish away our worries. That too is a waste of time!
The point is to actively pay attention to the time you spend worrying. Often time all you need to do is ask yourself: “Am I really being productive right now? Am I wasting precious time I’ll never get back?”
When considering our anxieties about the future, we need to look no further than the padre of positive thinking, Napoleon Hill. In his famous book, Think and Grow Rich, Hill points out this brilliant insight:
This idea is alarming when applied to our worries about the future. It is not only a waste of time, but it is also harmful because our thoughts have the power to dictate the way we perceive and interact with the world.
Minimize this worry means we have more time to use to enrich our lives, and to learn to positively perceive the world (and even teach others to do the same!).
Easier said than done for those with severe anxiety of course! But if you can help it, quit wasting your time by worrying about the future!
Very briefly, when considering our fixations on the past, you need to remember there really is no point crying over spilt milk. No matter how commonplace that sounds, it is essential for maximizing the amount of time you have at your disposal.
If worrying about the future does not make sense after you have analyzed all the time you spend doing so, then by extension, why would regretting the past do any good as well?
Instead, of worrying and wasting our time fragmenting our attention in a thousand different places every day, let’s see what we can do with the time we have NOW, in the present moment, fully focused and ready to take the world by storm...in a good way of course!
We should follow these steps to ensure our time is being used to its maximum potential:
Track and then limit your social media usage every day. If you are using it to boost your influence, to market, or as a means for social outreach, then yes, you should spend a little time every day on each platform. But the next time you reach the end of your day wondering where the time went, look to social media first.
Recruit accountability partners. Whomever you decide to recruit, make sure they are holding you accountable to your weekly goals. This takes a bit of honesty and courage to openly admit to others the areas that you get distracted, but with their help, and your own rock solid resolve, you’d be surprised how much time you really have every day.
Keep focused and stay the course. The next time you are tempted to split up a task into a multiple day endeavor, see if you can actually finish it within one. Don’t underestimate your ability to get ‘in the zone’ and do some really good work in one attempt. This saves up a lot of time where you have to work yourself into a state of focus throughout a multiple-day timeframe.
Try to focus on the present moment. Worrying about the future and fixating on the past is inevitable. But to actively seek to minimize the time we spend in those states is a always a good use of energy. To be sure, where we can do the most good is in the present moment, where we can look to become as engaged as possible.
Don’t waste time complaining! You might have falling into the habit of complaining about every little thing that comes your way. This a form of avoidance. Instead, actively fixing the problems that come your way is much more productive than passively complaining about them.
Plan accordingly and practice self-reflection: If you find yourself not getting as much done as you want during the day, spending the time to self-reflect on your day and measure the effectiveness of how you spent your time is essential for saving time.
So, with this information at your fingertips, the choice is yours to invest your time wisely!
Sometimes in our culture, positivity gets a bad rap. Somewhere along the way we started equating positivity with naiveté, as if the only way to be perceived as intelligent, experienced, or successful, is to be a cynical or pessimistic person.
Here’s the thing though: That type of thinking is complete nonsense!
In fact, success and happiness are not mutually exclusive. What if I told you that positivity could be the wellspring from which all of your strength lies. That despite modern perceptions of positivity, it is actually far more likely you’ll get ahead if you cultivate optimistic habits in your life.
So you can either let someone else tell you the type of story you need to write for yourself--from a place of cynicism and negativity--or you can draw from the words of author Ryan Holiday when he says:
“There is no good or bad without us, there is only perception. There is the event itself and the story we tell ourselves about what it means.”
In this way, we can choose frame our decisions, outlook, and overall disposition from a place of positivity. It is wholeheartedly our choice!
Now, it is a fact that human beings have learned to looked at the world through negativity biases for millenia now. And this tendency towards negativity has a lot to do with the anatomy of our brains--which will process a negative input much quicker than a positive one due to the part of the brain called the amygdala (that famous fight-or-flight area).
But if we know that we’re hard-wired to be negative, we can fight against it.
The more we know this fact about ourselves and pay attention to our tendency towards negativity, the more we can stop and deliberately work to turn our thoughts positive.
As is suggested by the best-selling book The Secret, there’s a lot of good that can come from actively focusing your thoughts on a positive outcome, instead of dwelling on the negatives that occur.
“There is no such thing as a hopeless situation. Every single circumstances of your life can change!” - Rhonda Byrne (The Secret)
Instead of letting the negatives take over your brain and override your decision-making process, confidence, and ambitions, you can drastically improve the quality of your life by balancing the negatives with the far more powerful positives!
If we let our natural tendency towards negativity take over our brains, we run the risk of never really striving for greater things.
Embarrassment is a negative emotion; failure has very negative connotations that can prevent us from even trying in the first place; fear is a very negative sensation. The list goes on!
When considering how negativity prevents us from knowing our full potential, there’s an apt quote to remember:
“Someone once told me the definition of hell; on your last day on earth, the person you could have become will meet the person you became.”
Because we are often chronically self-critical and many of us suffer from impostor syndrome, we all run the risk of continually meeting the person we could have become in life. We need to prevent this from happening by actively cultivating positivity in our professional and personal lives.
Here are a few simple tips for doing so.
To truly practice positivity in your life, there are many things you can do. Some of the most crucial are the following:
1. Frame negative emotions like fear, failure, embarrassment, and stress, in a positive way. This means that if we are afraid about a particular life decision, it’s more than likely just our brain activating its self-defense system. That’s all. Remember that if you are nervous, it just means that you care. So, if you can learn to welcome uncomfortable feelings as a necessary step towards succeeding, than you will ultimately be a much more positive person.
2. Acknowledge and recognize others. There’s nothing like a little gratitude and praise to help your team members, friends, or spouse, feel a positive emotion. And through this habit you can start to experience life in a much more positive light because. Focus on the positives and you’ll become positive.
3. Remember the words of Napoleon Hill: “Every adversity, every failure, every heartbreak, carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” Your failures do not define you but are actually blessings in disguise.
4. Don’t let others bring you down. By standing on guard and choosing to be positive, even when everyone surrounding you is not, you are actively expressing a desire for positivity. Often times you can lead by example, and those around you will look to you for leadership and guidance.
With all of this said, you don’t have to embrace negativity to be a successful person. You don’t have to substitute being nice with working hard. And you can have a positive outlook on life and be wildly more successful than those who don’t care for others’ wellbeing.
The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday
The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
The Reality of Impostor Syndrome: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/real-women/201809/the-reality-imposter-syndrome