Time is our greatest asset, it is our truest and most valuable currency, and it is completely non-renewable. This is something which I consider every single day. I value my time so much that I try to squeeze out every single second of it to be as productive as possible. If you’re reading this article as a millennial (usually categorised by demographers as someone born between 1981 and 2002) then you too might also be susceptible to this innate desire to ‘squeeze’ out each second of the day. And there is good reason for this, millennial or not. We live in a 24 hour working world, on a daily basis we communicate with people around the globe and, as long as we have our phone in our hands, we are merely a few clicks away from nearly half of the world’s population. Moreover, a survey done in 2016 found that 49% of millennials are categorically workaholics who want to be seen as ‘work martyrs’.
The same study found that millennials make up half of the western world’s workforce, but that 1 in 4 are already in management positions. That’s pretty good going. But with all of this pressure, and all of this competition, what is the future of our generation? And what is the future of the generation after the millennials, commonly labelled as the ‘iGeneration?’ Is competition on the rise? Is work life destined to consume us?
If we’re to survive in this progressively hectic world, we must adapt our habits to ensure that we can squeeze out each second of our day. It is imperative to our survival. So, as this topic seems to be so increasingly important, let’s investigate how we can boost our ROI (Return On Investment) on our daily 1440 minutes.
1) Keeping Track.
“It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.” Steve Jobs.
From my own limited experience, I think that the best way to make any improvement in your life is to review and evaluate that particular area. By doing this with time management, you can see where you waste time. I recently did this myself and found that I gained an extra half an hour each morning by simply eating my breakfast while watching motivational videos/reading rather than watching something less meaningful. By combining the two activities into one, I found that I created much more time for myself in the morning to do more productive things – like writing these blogs!
If you really want to push the boat out even further, there is actually a useful little app (isn’t there always?) called ‘Hours,’ which helps you track of how you’re spending your time. It may sound a little tedious, but even if you were to add merely an extra hour to your day, just imagine what you could do with it?
2) Interval Time.
My favourite parts of the day are those bits where you physically can’t be working. For instance, if you’re driving, walking somewhere, or showering. It’s physically impossible to be working during these times. Therefore, to fully maximise our day, it’s good to find ways to boost our productivity during these times. I always think that it’s indelibly useful to use these times too listen to podcasts or audiobooks, especially ones which relate to your work at the time. By doing this, you can ensure that you’re maximise your time, while also bettering yourself in the process.
This interval time doesn’t seem like it offers much opportunity, but, like I said in the last section, even if it’s just an hour, imagine what you could learn? It’s important that people realise that we’re living in an increasingly competitive world when it comes to learning, not in terms of learning itself (there’s only so much people can learn in a day) but in terms of how readily we can absorb it. Behind the screens people are pushing more and more accessible and useful content out for us, and it’s vital that we take advantage of these opportunities. We live in a world of abundant information, and it’s all at our fingertips. If you can find just a few hours in each week to absorb more useful information into your mind, I can promise you that the benefits will become apparent very quickly.
It’s vital that we take action every single day towards our success. However, it is also important that we constantly continue to learn and feed our imaginations, in order to see more exciting results. So prioritise where you can, and add to your learning time when there is no opportunity to take action.
3) Cut The Crap!
“Managing your time without setting priorities is like shooting randomly and calling whatever you hit the target.” Peter Turla.
Here is the fun and brutal bit where you ask, is it worth your time? This applies to both social events and work. I am amazed by some people’s daily wasting of time. You know those neighbours you have who seem to spend all of their weekend cleaning their windows, cars and drives, then mowing their lawns and cleaning out their sheds? Ok, well let’s get real about these people. Let’s say that the main earner of the household earns a tidy salary of £60,000; let’s call this person Sam for the sake of gender ambiguity! Per month, Sam earns £5,000. So per week Sam earn £1,250. Let’s say that he/she works 60 hours per week, this means that Sam earns approximately £20.80 rounded to the nearest penny per hour. So…
The big question is: Is washing your car for an hour really worth your time when you can pay someone else £5 to do it? Also, is it worth gardening for an hour when you can pay £15 for someone to do it? Unless you genuinely enjoy doing these jobs then it probably isn’t. So, start thinking about your time more like a currency, and less like an expendable commodity, because it really isn’t.
You might think that you’ll save money by doing everything yourself, but in the long run you’re actually reducing your value by not outsourcing your more menial daily tasks.
4) Buckle Down On The IGTs.
An IGT is an ‘Income Generating Task.’ This is a term I came across in Rob Moore’s book, ‘Life Leverage’. He makes a very relevant to this blog post point when he uses the illustration of golf. 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 practicing his putting shots.
It’s worth considering how you can spend your day maximising your income. In other words, what is the highest amount of profit that you can make in the shortest amount of time? By focusing on your IGTs you’re squeezing out every moment possible.
A Final Point…
As I said at the start of this blog, the world is getting more and more competitive and, as a race, humans are going to have to become more innovative in regards to how they use their time to achieve the greatest results. The dividing lines between work life and social life are blurring at an alarming rate, but please, don’t fear! There are plenty of hours in each day, and there is more than enough time for everyone to have the opportunity to relax and enjoy their hard works rewards. BUT, the more time you waste, the more that you will lose. Squeeze out every second of your day and you will come out on top, a happy, relaxed and productive person.
“If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.” Bruce Lee.