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.
Get Rid of the Time-Wasters in Your Life!
Time waster #1: Social Media Usage
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.
Time Waster #2: Lack of Focus and 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!
Time Waster #3: Worrying About the Future and Fixating on the Past
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:
“The subconscious mind makes no distinction between constructive and destructive thought impulses; (it) will translate into reality a thought driven by fear, just as readily as it will translate into reality a thought driven by courage or faith.”
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!