How to avoid time-consuming people and activities
“The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person who is doing it.” – Chinese proverb
Time is a limited and precious commodity. It is much more valuable than money, since you can always create more money but you cannot create more time.
We each are given a fixed amount of time to improve our family, business, health and welfare. While we know when our life started, we don’t know when it will end. Therefore, it is absolutely critical to achieve the important things in life and not waste a minute, by getting into the habit of using our time wisely. I am not simply referring to a schedule, but to a mindset where you avoid any time- consuming people and activities.
Eliminating time wasters starts with clarifying the difference between being busy and being productive. It’s more than getting rid of excessive relaxation, media consumption or leisure activities. Instead, it’s about focusing on those activities that give you the greatest results for the least amount of effort.
To develop this habit, do the following:
Be Selective. Get used to rejecting most activities that are not directly aligned with your major goals. Say no to most requests from people, particularly if they involve any expenditure of time, resources or money.
Be Tough. Develop a thick skin. In the short run, you will not be making many new friends, but you will be gaining respect and increasing your time bank.
Be Discerning. If you do agree to requests, make sure your time commitment can be significantly reduced. For example, if someone requests a testimonial or letter of reference from you, tell him or her to craft the first draft and send it to you for revision.
Be Fair. Use your judgment in each case and always treat people with respect and dignity. Don’t deny requests that are necessary or that are significant to the welfare of others, even if it is an inconvenience for you.
Be Focused. Focus on the few critical things that produce exponential results, and outsource everything else, so you can avoid all the minutiae and trivia that tends to consume a day. Use these critical few items to generate wealth, enabling you to outsource even more in the future.
Be Sincere. Before beginning an activity, ask yourself “If this were my last day, would I do what I am about to do?” If you keep asking yourself this question, it will drive you toward activities and people that create opportunity, instead of those that needlessly consume your time and resources.
Be Honorable. If you do accept a request, be honorable and fulfill your commitments to the maximum of your ability.
Eamonn has a B. Eng. (Electrical) from Lakehead University, MBA (Finance) from University of Toronto, and has completed Executive Education at Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He lives in Vancouver, Canada. Follow him on twitter @EamonnPercy.