Time is the only thing in life you can’t get back. You can make friends and lose friends. You can make money and lose money. You can gain weight and lose weight. But you never ever get back your time.
So where is your time going? What are you doing that you know someone else should be doing? What are you doing out of obligation that is devoid of enjoyment? Where do you invest more time than you need to, requiring you to give short shrift to other priorities?
It may seem odd that a communications expert is writing about time management. I don’t speak or train on time management. But I do teach coaching and delegation, and effective managers and coaches know when to give something away.
Here are five time-management questions:
What are you doing at work that you know someone else could or should do?
If you invested a few hours training someone, what could you give up, creating room for something new?
What personal relationships do you invest time in because you think you’re supposed to?
Which family events are you attending out of obligation?
What do you give 110% percent to that 70% would be more than sufficient, leaving more of your time and energy for something more important?
You only have so much time and energy. Where are you going to put it – on the things that matter most or on distractions that seem important?
I’m not suggesting you skip every family event you don’t want to go to. But perhaps go for less time or skip every third event. I’m not advocating cutting corners or doing mediocre work. But sometimes we spend much more time on things than we need to, when investing less time would deliver the same result.
Here are a few examples of what I mean by 70% being more than enough:
- You spend 25 hours on the formatting of a presentation when the content is what’s really important. You create gorgeous tables and graphs when five bullets were what the client really wanted.
- You host a party and make hand painted table tents describing each food, when your guests will have a great time with typed descriptions or no descriptions at all.
- You maintain friendships you know should have ended long ago because it seems like the right thing to do.
- You avoid calling friends if you don’t have an hour to talk instead of calling and saying, I only have ten minutes but really want to talk with you.
Invest your time in what produces the greatest results and maximizes your enjoyment. Work hard, do great work, invest in your family and friends, and know when “no thank you” is the right answer.