Time Is Money

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TimeIsMoneyA few weeks ago, while on our annual trek to the Cold Hollow Cider Mill in Vermont, DH and I stopped at a glass blowing studio/shop.

One piece in particular caught my eye (see picture).  The artist named it “Time is Money”, shredded some bills and then created the glass blown hourglass around it. 

While, from a pure business sense, it’s true that time is money, it’s also true that time is a resource (in this case like money) that can be invested, squandered or cherished in how we used it.

When you walked into your office this morning, did you sit down and get started on your top priority of the day (Did you know what that was?) or did you open email or your Facebook account and allow others’ agendas to take precedence over your own?

Or, do you have a routine, a ritual that you follow each day, week, month and year?  If you’re not getting the results (whether in business or life) that you’re looking for, it’s likely because you’re following the same routine.

Time to shake things up a bit.

You’ve likely been told that it’s important to have goals and, even more importantly, that those goals should be written.

Goals for the sake of goals alone however aren’t going to result in things happening, in things actually getting accomplished.

What would happen if you started looking at your goals as a piece of the whole?

For example:

  • What’s your mission?  Your true mission, that thing which you want more than anything (even if it feels selfish)?
  • What purpose does your mission serve?  It only needs to matter to you.
  • What impact do you want to have (for yourself and/or others) that will support that purpose?
  • What specific goals do you need to have to have the impact you’re reaching for?
  • What do your priorities need to be to attain those goals?
  • What specific activities need completing to achieve your priorities?

Can you see how we start with our mission and then reverse engineer all the steps down to the activities we need to accomplish today, this week, this month…

Now that you have that in line, a lesson from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:

  1. Draw 4 quadrants on a piece of paper (or use a table to do in MS Word or Mac Pages)
  2. Label them as shown below

4 quadrantsTo achieve your goals, most of your time will be spent working on items that fall into the “Important – Not Urgent” quadrant as this is where you have the best chance of spotting opportunities as you make things happen.

Items in “Important – Urgent” and “Not Important – Urgent” are typically the result of others pulling you away from your agenda.

Tasks which fall in the “Not Important – Not Urgent” quadrant essentially amount to busywork and should be avoided/delegated as much as possible, and never, ever given your attention during your peak productivity times.

3.  When unsure of what to work on, first check in with the “Mission Roll-up” above, then refer back to these quadrants and ask yourself “Where does X fall?” and make your decision from a place of conscious choice rather than routine or knee jerk reactions.

Imagine what a difference it would make if the majority of every day you focused on those things which would bring your dreams to life.

“What are some of your favorite time management and productivity strategies?  Please share below.”