Understand how you spend time: Combating the top common time regrets.

April 22, 2017

 

There are many time regrets we may have but I’d like to address three that most resonated with me on my entrepreneurship walk. For each one of these “time sucks” I have had to put processes in place to ensure that I don’t allow them to take over.” These processes that I’ve implemented are there so that I’m not just walking through my day subconsciously but instead am making conscious choices with the time that I take to do the task that I need to do. For all of us, life and work can become hectic in a single moment. You’re there and you’re working on something and something else comes up and all of a sudden you feel this sense of urgency to address that issue. You then find yourself reacting without a plan. Are there times when it is necessary to shift gears and address that issue? Sure. However, I believe that we need to be truly conscious of the choice and adjustment we are making otherwise we will find that the choices that we make will continue to result in a lose an abundance of time.

 

                                                     Not Paying Attention

 

Not paying attention to the work you’re doing, the time it’s taking, the distraction that came up during what you were doing and how much time that could take. I don’t believe most people realize how much time they lose when they are distracted. The tendency is to unconsciously react. You are working on a project and your phone rings. You determine that it will probably be a quick conversation and take no more than 15 minutes of your time. Then another call comes through, maybe a few emails and then one diversion leads to another diversion and another. You look back at the past 2 hours and think to yourself, “ Wait a minute, I was working, what just happened?”, “What did I accomplish in these past 2 hours?”. You were on a roll, being your most productive self, but you stopped paying attention and time slipped away. Sound familiar? So what I’ve done for myself and what I suggest for most people to do is to find a way to track your tasks and your time. Whether you put things on your calendar, write them on index cards or on a white board. For myself I purchased an app called “Time Doctor”. Now I laugh when I think of this app because this app and I have had a few fights. I would enter my tasks for the day and literally every 30 minutes or so there will be a pop up asking; “Are you still working on xyz task?” or “Have you completed xyz?” Really, who needs that right? So I would pause the task to engage in whatever the “distraction” was to avoid the continued pop up message. I found that when I would return the task would still be paused and 15, 30 or maybe even 45 minutes may have passed. Now mind you, the “distraction” that I was engaged in many times was not on my agenda to do, and was not what I was supposed to be doing and it sucked up much of my time. So at the end of the day; when the app showed the summation of my daily tasks and how much time I spent, even though I know that I may have worked a 10-hour day the app would show I only worked 5 hours. This helped me to to figure out why and when I was losing the time. I then began to adjust my behaviors and start PAYING ATTENTION, staying on task and adding time in (early morning/late afternoon) for returning calls, checking emails, etc.

 

                                                          Deprioritize

 

De-prioritizing of family, friends or even our personal time. I think lots of times we’re thinking okay we’re working, we’re doing business, that’s the task at hand, that’s the urgency. However, we need to ensure that we are living a balanced life and that that balanced life will feed us so that we are able to do all the things that we need to do. For example, on my calendar, I have it color coded for the activities and meetings specific to my business, my clients, my family and myself. I will set the times that are blocked off for my family so if something else comes up, whether it’s for the business or for a client I know that the time is not available - it is blocked off and is specific for what I need to do for my family. This is a major part of our life that we need to prioritize and feed. It is very easy for us to say, “it’s family, they’ll understand, there will be another time” but while we are building this business our family dynamic could be deteriorating. We should ensure that we set aside for family, friends and ourselves; going on vacations, sharing experiences, making sure that you have time to rejuvenate so that you can come back stronger with more ideas; ready to go and ready to flow.

 

                                       Wasting Time to Save Money

 

I’m all about the paying for convenience when I can. I’m not saying that we all just have money to “throw around” but what I am saying is there are many times where it makes sense to say I’m going to pay this extra to do xyz. Per example, I’m going to pay to take a taxi verses taking three trains, a plane and a horse cart to get where I need to go to because I’m saving myself $50. Another example is, I don’t understand how to do X,Y, Z. You’re spending hours, days and weeks trying to figure it out instead of saying let me pay somebody, for whom this is their area of expertise. This goes back to delegation. I say this because I’ve been there and I understand the determination of, “I can figure this out”. However, how much time is too much time before you reach out to someone else. Pay somebody who knows and understands so that they can take it off your plate so that you can concentrate on the things that you need to be concentrating on. Spending the money to be able to save the time; that is something I think we all need to be comfortable with on some level and incorporate it into our lives. Just get into the mindset of being able to say, “It is worth it, It is saving me time, and that’s time that I could be using to invest in my business to be able to bring in new business”. So that’s the way you need to think about it. Delegating these time sucking, frustrating tasks to others so that you are able to spend your time coming up with new products, new services, new offerings and having the time to reach out to the people that you need to reach out to in the manner that they need to be reached out to them.

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