Using Time Wisely A SecretAuthor: Catherine Pulsifer, ©2017
The aspect of using time wisely has been the best kept secret from those who squander this one-time resource for many, many years. However, using time wisely, once mastered as a skill, will bring numerous personal and professional rewards. Want to know how, then read on.
What We All Know Or Should RecognizeWe have all heard about the 80/20 rule when it comes to work or business, that is, twenty percent of what you do actually brings in, or results in, eighty percent of the fruits of your labor. If you were to record everything that you did for a day and then looked at what actually brought the most results, you would find that this rule holds true; only twenty percent of what you did actually brings real results, or real benefits.
An Extraordinary FocusSo what about the 90/10 rule, or is there such a thing at all? If there is such a rule, or at least a rule pertinent to this discussion, does it mean only ten percent of what we do is equal to ninety percent of the results? In order for this rule to apply, you must have extra ordinary focus. And this focus means eliminating distractions, not just from other people, but the things we do to distract ourselves.
The power of this very directed focus is explained through the words of Alan Pariser, who stated, "The sun's energy warms the world. But when you focus it through a magnifying glass it can start a fire. Focus is so powerful!"
Imagine if you only did ten percent of the work in a day, but that ten percent was very focused. And if you did that for a few days every month, what do you think the results would be? If you are self-employed, I am sure you are saying, no way, not possible. But, if you stopped and looked at your business and identified the one thing that you need to do to bring the results you need, and you only did that for a couple of days, you may be more than pleasantly surprised by what amazing results you would have.
What About Spending Time On Things That Really Don't Matter?In order to answer the question whether we all spend or use time for trivial unimportant matters is to also understand that time, as far as usage is concerned, has two key components. These two key components in using time is the efficient use of time and the effective use of time. What does this mean?
Using time effectively means that you use up all of your time doing a task or tasks that generally contribute to various kinds of work being done. However, effectively using time does not mean that time is used to work on all of those things in a priority sequence. For example, doing one's work emails by opening and answering them all uses your time effectively but the time that you devoted to emails may or should have been used to address or work on a priority assignment.
On the other hand, using time efficiently recognizes from the very beginning that one only has a certain amount of time in any work day. And, secondly, recognizes that this available time should be devoted to working on or addressing priority items, tasks or assignments.
You see, we all get caught up in non-trivial things, such as phone calls, emails, checking this and that - but in reality if we were really focused we could achieve so much more.
"There is only one person with whom to compete and that is yourself. Keep aiming to surpass your own best performance and ever strive to reach higher levels." Norman Vincent Peale
Before every task, we should being asking ourselves how important is this task? If our efforts stayed focused on priority issues, tasks, duties and redressing issues or problems, you would find you could actually eliminate a lot of unnecessary or time wasting tasks. The effective use of time points to doing what needs to be done rather than doing all that can be done. This time specific and effective focus can bring extraordinary results.
Identify Your Peak TimeAnother way to look at this is to identify your peak time. For some people, first thing in the morning is when they accomplish the most. For others, it is early in the afternoon, and for some it is just before they leave work for the day.
"Time is a gift that most of us take for granted. We get so caught up in the busyness of our daily lives that we rarely stop and take a serious look at how we're spending this gift." Cheryl Richardson
A Secret To Reduce StressThe other benefit for us by doing this specific focus of effective use of time is reduced stress. When there are a million things to get done and we focus on the key areas, then at the end of the day, we will find less stress because the critical things that needed to get done or be addressed or moved forward are done.
Do Not Get This Key Lesson WrongI can't tell you how often I had this wrong. I would rather check off the things on my list, but the things I were checking off were not the critical things but the things I could do quick and easy. And, then at the end of the day I would be filled with stress because the most important thing or things were still to be done. And, I had less energy and less enthusiasm to get it done. If I had just done this one important thing first, then my stress levels would have been reduced.
Just identifying this simple thing can make all the difference. For example, if your peak time is in the morning, say the first two hours - then during that time you did the most critical thing that will make a difference in your work. Try it, do it for just a week and see the difference it makes.
To Find SuccessSo, if we were to define success in the least amount of time, this is what we would do:
- Identify your peak time.
- Identify the one main thing in your job or your business that would have the highest impact
For one week, during your peak time, do that one main thing. Do this every day for five days and you will not have to even think about the 80/20 rule, or the 90/10 secret. You will find that your secret will be that you focus and exercise the effective use of time during your peak performance time of the day.
Read the wisdom of David DeNotaris, "I once heard someone say that success is not hocus pocus but focus focus." Focus is a core principle of success. You can be busy doing many things, but if these things are not focused on your end result then you truly are just doing hocus pocus.
Inspirational Quotes for Reflection:"Talent is the result of hard work and focus; it is not an innate gift. People are capable of growth in pretty much every trait and ability. What one person can do, so can you." Joe Gaebel
"Every single one of us has a reason to manage our daily time. Managing what we do and when we do them is important in making our lives less chaotic." Stephen Hall
"Most people are focused on managing their time. When they really need to be focused on managing their energy." Alex Altman
"There are numerous ways to help yourself concentrate more effectively on those things that really matter, and always remember that attention is like any other skill: the more you do it, the better you become at it." Debeena Harris
"Discipline simply means staying focused on chipping away at the identified tasks you need to complete in order to eventually realize your goals and achieve success." Jonathan Mills
"Some people think that they can have more things done when they do things simultaneously. Our minds, however, cannot focus on two things at one time." John Morgan
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