Time. The great equalizer. Our most precious and valuable resource. While just about everything else can be bought or built, we cannot create more time. We say, “I need more time” or “If only I had more time”. We can only work to use what we have better.
First, we must commit to protecting our time and using it wisely. We undervalue commitment. If we skip this step, we fall back into old habits of using time poorly. Commit to change first, then design the approach.
Second, our values must be clear. When we have clear decision criteria, we make better decisions. To protect our time, we must first be clear about how we want to use our time. These values become guides to make decisions about whether to do this or that, and how much time to devote to it. The great thing about values, is we can re-visit and refine them often.
Third, we must have tools to manage our commitments. We waste a lot of time worrying, living in the past or future. The best solution, though not perfect, is externalizing and reviewing all of our commitments. It’s much easier to manage our time well with effective and trusted systems to track and review all of our tasks and appointments. This unloads remembering and reminding from your brain, tasks it was not designed to do well.
Fourth, we must know where our time goes. Absurd though it may sound, consider tracking your time in thirty-minute increments for the next two weeks. Be honest, this is to help you. See where your time really goes. What do you like? Dislike? Want to change? And most important: what’s your plan to make those changes? We make better decisions with data, so collect your time data.
Finally, time wasters. I’ll bet you’re underestimating how much time you waste by at least 20%. The only way to know for sure is to track your time. If true, the key to changing that is to design new routines and better habits. See this great guide from James Clear for more on that.
We can’t create more time. We get the same 24 hours every day. We can use our time better, but it only starts with real commitment. If all we do is complain in frustration that we don’t have enough time, well, we’re just wasting time…
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