525,600 Minutes – How Do You Measure A Year

You may recognize the line from the Broadway hit musical RENT. It underscores the fact that we all have the same time in a year. And each day the clock gives each of us the same number of minutes – 1,440. The issue is the value we put on those minutes and how we use them.

There is immense literature on subject of “Time Management”, but the
reality is no one manages time. Time is exactly what it is—just 1,440 minutes in a day. What we DO manage is the use of the time. We manage (or mismanage) our activities. So how do we use the time we have to be our most effective, efficient, and productive?

These are the 5 most common threats we face and how to conquer them:

1. Procrastination

It is natural not to want to do things that are difficult or things that we don’t love to do. When we put off a task we don’t want to do, the thing we don’t love to do takes on a life of its own. It becomes bigger, harder, and more dreadful. We then invest more and more energy and time into creating something negative. If the task is important, if it drives our productivity and our goals, the best thing is to do it first. Noted author Brian Tracy wrote EAT THAT FROG!

2. Multi-tasking

Where did we get the idea that doing numerous things at once was admirable? Focus is the key to efficient and effective use of time. Your productivity and results will dramatically improve

3. Allowing Distractions

Your phone, your watch, email, social media, other people’s emergencies…that boils down to what you allow. Turn off your phone, take off your watch, close the door, don’t take calls. When you are doing work that requires focus make sure your environment supports it. This goes for personal time as well. Disconnect during your spiritual time. Be present for your spouse, partner, child, or friend. Creating a productivity specific environment is what Gary Keller calls, “building a bunker”.

4. An inability to say “No”

When you say “Yes” to something, you are saying “No” to everything else. You may not have realized this, but it is true. Saying “No” is actually honoring someone’s request. You are acknowledging that you cannot give it the commitment or time it deserves. You are also honoring your business and family by not allowing “stuff” to get in the way of what is most important.

5. Poor Prioritization

All things are not equal, but we do tend to act without conscious thought as to what things are priority. The Pareto Principle (the 80/20) principle proves that only 20% of what we do drives 80% of our results, so clearly defining our 20% is valuable. Take your activities and tasks and divide them into A-priority, B-important, and C-stuff. Someone else can do the stuff or maybe it just doesn’t get done. Maybe there is an alternative (using Instacart as opposed to physically going to the grocery store).

So, what will you do with your 1,440 minutes today?