Time is Money! An hour wasted is an hour that you can’t get back. Most productive people understand that there are only so many hours in the day and if we want to get more done we have to learn to juggle our seemingly infinite amount of goals, obligations, and relationships with the finite amount of time we have to do them in.
This need to use our time wisely has given way to a whole new industry of time management as people ask the questions, “what if I had more free time” and “how can I get more done”? We try to schedule time to work on our goals, our errands, and to just relax.
The question we are afraid to ask ourselves is, how productive are we really being when we are working on our projects. It is easy to trick ourselves into thinking that we have done a lot of work and have accomplished a lot in the day when we really haven’t.
Some examples of this occur;
• When We Are Doing Things Other People Want Us To Do
We convince ourselves that we are being productive when we do things that other people want us to do simply because we are actually getting things done. The problem is, we know deep down that it isn’t what we really want to be doing and we may end up ditching it once we work up the courage to do so.
In this situation all the time we spend educating ourselves, building relationships, and working on a goal that someone else wanted us to have is time we have wasted. We may accomplish something when we work on goals other people have for us, but we don’t accomplish the things we want to accomplish and therefore it isn’t the most productive use of our time.
• When We Do Things Without Big Rewards
Sometimes when we want to stay busy we will focus on doing busy work. This can include things like rearranging the furniture, gardening, or spending our time researching small purchase Items. It is easy to convince ourselves that we are getting things done here, and we are.
The problem is that we aren’t using our time wisely. Just because we are staying busy and we keep moving doesn’t mean we are heading in the right direction. It is entirely possibly that we are running on a treadmill that isn’t going anywhere. Staying busy is good, but staying busy and actually getting the most you can from your time are two different things.
• When All Your Time Is Spent Learning And Very Little Is Spent Doing
Learning is a good thing. You can’t go anywhere without educating yourself. That is why there is so much money spent on colleges and educational programs. But learning without action is pointless.
This world is filled with people who have spent their entire lives learning different strategies to invest their money, yet have never tried any of them. Learning is valuable, but only if you follow through with what you have learned. At some point you will need to put your book down and start taking a chance, otherwise nothing will ever be accomplished.
How To Tell If We Are Really Getting Stuff Done
If it is so easy to convince ourselves that we are getting things done when we really aren’t how can we decide if we really are accomplishing something?
The first thing we can look at is if we are advancing our goals. If your goal is to create a fantastic garden in your house, than spending your time outside with a weed wacker can be a good use of your time. But if your goal is to start your own construction business than gardening in your back yard may be a waste of time and you may even want to outsource it to somebody else.
Another thing you can ask yourself is what will happen in 30 days if you keep doing what you are doing. If you are a sells person and you spent your day reading books about selling more will you learn something? Yes you will. Will it help you? Probably.
But if all you do is read books about selling products and you do that every day for 30 days will you be any better off than you are today? You might know some tricks, other than that you will pretty much be in the same situation you are in now.
On the other hand if you spent your day making 20 cold calls than you have actually accomplished something. If you do that for 30 days straight, than you will have talked to 600 people.
You’ve probably learned a lot more from talking to those people then you could have learned from any sales book and as a side note, you’ve probably made a few sales as well.
Sometimes our biggest time wasters are things that we think are actually helping us. You may have obligations you need to take care of and it is a good idea to educate yourself. But don’t get caught up in the trap of working your life away and accomplishing nothing.
What do you think? Are you using your time wisely? What things do you do that you think are helping you get more free time, but are really causing you to waste your time?