“This day I will drink every minute to its full. I will savor its taste and give thanks. I will maketh every hour count and each minute I will trade only for something of value.” I say this quote to myself every morning. It’s from The Greatest Salesman in the World, a book written by Og Mandino containing ten scrolls, of which each scroll is meant to be read three times a day for thirty days.
After reading it for a month this one quote stuck with me because I believe that time is our greatest asset. Time is like a currency – the way we manage it will either lead us to failure or success in the long term. Therefore if we invest our time in the most profitable areas throughout the day, we are setting ourselves up for ultimate success.
But the thing is, it’s very easy to think we are spending our time wisely – on things like everyday maintenance of our businesses. Whereas in reality our time could be leveraged much more effectively.
Here’s my most effective methods of leveraging your time every day, so you start increasing the ROI on your daily 1440 minutes:
1. Time tracking
I believe that measuring, reviewing and refining is the surefire way to make consistent progress in any area of your life. By tracking how you spend each minute of your day it makes you become aware of precisely where you are wasting time. I recommend buying a journal and writing down how long each thing you do throughout your day takes.
For example: 7:03AM – 7:08AM – shower, 7:08AM – 7:15AM – shave, etc. You can also use an app such as Hours to save time on writing everything down. I know this sounds incredibly tedious but it will pay off hugely when you start to take action to eliminate those time wasting areas.
When I started time tracking I found that I was wasting at least an hour every day on preparing meals. To eliminate that wasted time I learn how to make a breakfast in 5 minutes – scrambled egg whites with spinach (3 minutes) and a protein shake with oats (2 minutes). I also started bulk preparing my lunches on a sunday so it would take 2 minutes every day to prepare lunch rather than 30 minutes. That adds up to valuable hours saved every week which I now spend working and exercising.
“It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.” – Steve Jobs
2. Interim time is learning time
We all have at least 30-60 minutes in our days where we physically can’t be working. Specifically, times such as showering/getting changed and walking/driving. In this time I always listen to podcasts and audiobooks. I ensure it relates to what I’m currently working on in my life.
For example, I may be working on a social media strategy for a new client, I’ll listen to audio specifically related to social media marketing in their industry. Or perhaps I’ll be focusing on a fitness regime to reduce body fat. I may even listen to a book on pitching when driving to a potential client to pitch to them.
This interval time doesn’t seem like much but it adds up over the week. Learning is important to make progress but taking action is where we really see results. So prioritise your work when you can and do your learning only when you physically can’t be working.
3. Is it worth your time?
In order to prioritize your time, only do tasks that are actually worth your time. To do this, you must first figure out how much your time is worth. Let’s say you earn $4000 per month – that’s $1000 per week. Divide that by how many hours you work in a week – let’s say it’s 60. That means an hour of your time is worth $16.67.
So is it really worth washing your car or cleaning your house when you can pay someone $10 per hour to do it for you? Or is it worth posting to a client’s social media when you can pay someone to do it for $5 per hour? You may think that you’ll earn more money by doing everything yourself, but in the long run you’re actually reducing your value by not outsourcing the menial stuff.
“Managing your time without setting priorities is like shooting randomly and calling whatever you hit the target.” – Peter Turla
4. Only work on your IGTs
IGTs (income generating tasks) is a term I came across in Rob Moore’s book, ‘Life Leverage’. In it, he explains that a golfer takes 40% of his shots with 7% of his golf clubs (the putter). Therefore he should be spending more time on practicing his putting than on the other clubs.
At least your top 3 items on your to-do list should be you IGTs in order of priority. Say you own a marketing agency – your top three IGTs for a particular day could be:
- Make 5 door-to-door cold pitches. (each successful pitch could mean $1000+ income every month so this is an obvious IGT)
- Write 1000 words of your social media marketing eBook (this will be given to potential clients as part of your sales funnel – also an IGT)
- Create a new Facebook ad campaign for a client (successful ad campaign = money from commissions. Another IGT)
Focusing on the tasks that will generate the highest amount of profit in the shortest amount of time is the top way of investing your time. By focusing the majority of your day on your IGTs you are squeezing all you can out of each minute invested.
So there you have it. By committing to at least one of these you will not only save valuable minutes but make more progress within each minute. I recommend starting by tracking your time for at least a month. Then figure out ways to get back wasted time. Then use that saved time on your income generating tasks. This way you’re literally making twice as much progress on time you didn’t even have to spare before.
How do you manage to squeeze every minute out of your day? Please leave your thoughts below!
Image courtesy of Twenty20.com
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