“The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person who is doing it.”
– Chinese proverb
Time is a very limited and precious resource. Time is much more valuable than money, since you can always create more money, but cannot create more time.
We each are given a fixed amount of time to build our family, business, health, and welfare. While we know when it started, we don’t know when it will end. Therefore, it is absolutely critical that we achieve the important things in life and not waste a minute, and get into the habit of using our time wisely. I am not just referring to a schedule, but a mindset where you avoid any time-wasting people or activities.
Eliminating those time wasters starts with clarifying the difference between good busy and bad busy. It’s more than getting rid of expensive time wasters like excessive relaxation, media consumption, or leisure activities. Instead, it’s about focusing on those few activities that give you the greatest results for the least amount of effort.
To develop this habit:
Be Selective: Get used to turning down most activities that are not directly aligned with you 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 since, in the short run, you will not be making many 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 wants a testimonial or letter of reference from you, ask them to craft the first draft and send it to you for revisions. Saying Yes to requests should be a rare event.
Be Fair: Use your judgment in each case and always treat people with respect and dignity. Don’t deny requests that are necessary or beneficial to others if it is not a significant inconvenience for you. You will know these genuine requests when you see them. Even then, be selective.
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 consume a day. Use these critical few items to generate wealth to enable you to outsource even more in the future.
Before beginning an activity, ask yourself, if this was my last day, would I do what I am about to do? If you keep asking yourself this question, it will drive you towards activities and people that create opportunity instead of those that needlessly consume your time and resources.
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