Time Is Your Most Important Resource
We have all been there at one time or another: we have an important task that needs our full focus and despite our best intentions we get distracted, unable to ignore the ping from our inbox with an email someone else deems urgent. We get sucked in, and forty minutes later, we have yet to start on our important task.
I had come from three decades working inside an organization, where I was surrounded by infrastructure—an HR team that could help with hiring, and an IT team that could help with my laptop—when I first became an entrepreneur.
By contrast, in my business, not only was there a lot to do, because I was a startup founder, there was nobody else to do it. I was letting email rule my day, and doing it all; task-switching between client calls, new client acquisition, marketing and business development. It was very inefficient. The constant task switching was taking my energy, and depleting my focus and productivity.
I faced a moment of truth when I realized something huge: my time and energy were a precious commodity. I had to quickly decide where to spend my time, and started the practice of ruthlessly prioritizing. A business coach started talking to me about time bucketing—batching all my tasks together rather than completing them individually. Time bucketing creates containers around low-value tasks like email, protecting my time, and energy for important, complex deep-thinking. Instead of writing blog posts between other tasks, I began dedicating one day to writing blogs. That way, I could knock out ten posts in one day. What tasks do you have that you could start to block?
Ritualizing Your Routines
Another time management strategy is to create rituals and practices around your morning and evening routines. Start by asking yourself the following questions:
- When do you do your best work?
- When are you most creative?
- When do you want to do routine work?
Be sure you know where your best energy points are in your day, and develop practices and rituals that work for you. For me, my routine is to wake up at 4:35 in the morning and commit to working until 9:30 a.m. with a one-hour physical workout and what I call deep thinking. I work on the business vs. in the business during that time, spending hours on strategy, content development, and thinking about the future. I am always seduced by email; it’s always there, but I no longer engage with it during these high value hours because I now have a ritual and a process.
Time multiplied by energy equals success, because there is an energy multiplier. We have a finite amount of time. If you spend that time in the places you want to, rather than feeling trapped, you’re more likely to go further. If you spend that time doing the things that you love, that’s the energy multiplier. You feel good about it, and it can help you advance towards your big dream.
Stop wasting your life by giving your time, which is your most valuable resource, to everyone else first.
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