“Dost thou love life?
Then do not squander time,
for that is the stuff life is made of.” – Benjamin Franklin
There are very few things in life that are constant but time is one of those few things.
Regardless of how hard you work, how wealthy you are, whether you live in the northern hemisphere or the southern, whether you are 10 years of age or 110, the fact remains, there are 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. Granted, some days may seem longer than others, but the reality is no amount of effort can provide you with additional time.
You can’t buy it, rent it, borrow it, store it or renew it. …. All you can do is spend it.
And herein lies the question: Are you spending your time wisely?
In a time, when most of us are being asked to do more with less – less money, less resources and less time – it is the people who are able to use their time productively that are reaping the rewards. Rewards both personally and professionally.
What is it though about some people that make them so productive? In an age where ‘being busy’ is the norm, how do we ensure that we are getting most of the 24 hours in the day, the 7 days in the week that we all have?
I would encourage you to think about the tips below when evaluating your use of time:
- Value time as a resource: You need to value what do you do as if it were a precious resource you are about to invest into. Just as we need to determine the viability of and return on staffing resources or financial and IT systems, we need to do the same with our time. Ask yourself the same questions as if you were about to allocate other resources:
- What will I obtain in return? Is it worth it?
- Does it fulfill my needs and the business need?
- What type of environment does this resource / investment require to maximise a return?
- What do I need to prioritise to ensure that this resource / investment achieves the strongest outcome.
- How do I best protect it?
- Know your direction and purpose: People often complain about lack of time when lack of direction is the real problem (Zig Ziglar). Without clear objectives your attention and subsequently your actions are spent focused on whatever seems important only in that moment.
- Know your influencers and stakeholders: Don’t allow yourself to be sidetracked by people who are not on track!
- Blend efficiency and effectiveness: Efficiency is doing the job right whilst effectiveness refers to doing the right job. Strong leaders know how to blend the two approaches. You understand all that is required, prioritise the most important tasks and complete them in the best possible way.
- Influence what you can and let go of what you can’t: Understand what the demands and constraints are and what choices we have. What do we ‘have’ to do versus what are the limits to what we can do? What choices do we have in how the work is delivered and, where when and by whom?
- Know yourself: What makes you work? Time is also a very personal resource. You are the only one who can spend your time.
- Collaborate: Productive leaders know that they cannot do it alone. Whist they have a very clear understanding of the value of their own contribution, they also know how to effectively harness the talent around them, draw upon individual strengths and encourage collaboration to achieve the desired outcomes.
Understanding that you have the ultimate control over how you invest your time is critical to your success. Your fulfilment and productivity levels are greatly enhanced when you feel in control of what you do, value what you do and can see the contribution that it offers to the broader business or environment.
How do you ensure that you are making the most of your time? I would love to hear your thoughts.
If you would like to explore ways increase your productivity and efficiency in your career, please contact Margot on 0400 336 318.