You can use these 4 simple but effective methods immediately to protect your time from today. As Jim Rohn said:
“Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.” — Jim Rohn
But many of us make the mistake when we value money higher than time!
The typical example that many people fall into is the guilty feeling when they spend too much money on material things and later on feel regret about buying.
But they don’t have this kind of guilty feeling when they wasted many hours on the couch watching TV or having parties with friends.
This was also the feeling I have many times before when I studied at University.
At that time, I felt the money is more important than time. And spending a few hundred dollars for a new jacket makes me feel (happy for a while then) guilty rather than spending 5–6 hours checking my social media accounts daily.
I don’t have the feeling of wasting my time because I think that I have plenty of time in life. But the reality is each of us just has the same 24 hours in a day.
And absolutely nobody know how long we can live.
In the middle of the pandemic, when millions of people are stuck at home, the rate of wasting time on useless things even becomes higher.
Because we don’t need to rush for public transport to the office, come early for the meeting…And we can work next to our own lovely bed that often seduces us to take a short break to enjoy the comfort of working from home.
This causes a big problem for us when controlling the time.
As Benjamin Franklin described for the first time in his essay “Advice to a Young Tradesman” (1748).
Time is gold!
It means that time is precious and the more time you waste, the more gold you lost! It is still right nowadays.
Because in the same 24 hours a day, why someone can earn a lot of money while others are struggling with their financial life?
This is all about how you control your precious 24 hours a day.
If you want to become someone like Elon Musk, Warren Buffet,…, you need to learn to use the time like the way they do, not the way how a couch potato uses his time.
So how to stop wasting your time and make it works for you more effectively?
Each person will have a different way to approach and find ways to make their time work better for them.
And for me, by analyzing and learning hundred of hours about this topic. These are the 4 biggest lessons that I wish I know about it earlier to optimize and protect my time.
1. To protect your time by delegation
The delegation will make you become more successful and happier, not perfectionism.
The belief that
“Only you can do the tasks perfectly and nobody can do it as good as you”
is a wrong belief that will kill your success and make you run out all of your time invaluably.
But this is a belief that I have had for years.
Because I thought that an A+ grade student like me will always create a better result than a C grade student when doing a task.
Then I choose to do most of the things by myself instead of asking my teammates who have lower scores in class to give me a hand.
But later on, when I read the What Were They Thinking?: Unconventional Wisdom About Management from Professor. Jeffrey Pfeffer of Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, this reading is totally changed my thoughts.
And I recognized that I was wrong. As you try to chase all the goals at the same time, it will ruin your time rather than create a positive impact on your life.
Being a perfectionist and self-made everything doesn’t equal effectiveness. Instead, this makes a person be easier to burn out and waste a lot of precious time.
And follow Prof. Jeffrey Pfeffer,
Delegation is a skill.
And your most important task as a leader is to teach people how to think and ask the right questions so that the world doesn’t go to hell if you take a day off.
It means that learning to delegate effectively will make you be a great leader and create a massive outcome, not trying to do everything by yourself to make your work more effective.
Because when you delegate your tasks, instead of using your own 8 hours/day. Now, if you have 1 person to support you, it means that you get 16 hours instead of 8 hours.
And if you have 10 people working for you, you can get 80 hours done your job in just one day.
This is the power of delegation.
But many people fall into the trap of “perfectionism and self-made”.
It means that they just trust themselves and believe that they can do all the tasks with the best outcomes by themselves, and no one else can make a better outcome than them.
Let be honest together, I did it for years as well.
And I totally understand this feeling.
In the beginning, it helps you to be more flexible and can come up with the final decision quickly.
But when you have more tasks to do, you start to feel overwhelmed and face the dilemma
1. If you try to complete all the number of tasks, you need to reduce the quality of each task you did. So you can have enough time to complete tasks on the deadline.
2. If you still keep working on tasks with the same quality, you will late for the deadline because there are so many tasks that come up at the same time.
As Warren Buffet says,
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
Therefore, if you don’t want to face this dilemma, still having the tasks be completed with high quality while increasing the quantity, you need to delegate your job to others effectively.
2. To protect your time: Say “NO” when you need
If you say “YES” with one thing, it means that you also say “NO” with something else.
And to protect your precious time effectively, you need to learn how to say “NO” more than you say “YES”.
Because your time in a day is limited. And we all have the same 24 hours, nobody has the advantage of the extra hours in a day.
And as Marcus Aurelius discusses in his book “Meditations”:
“Most of what we say and do is not essential. If you can eliminate it, you’ll have more time and more tranquility. Ask yourself at every moment, ‘Is this necessary?”
It likes your friends want you to join their parties, or hang out with them when they have free time or feel boring. But let ask yourself, does it really essential for you to go like this?
If you have free time and want to take a break, hanging out with friends, or having a BBQ party will be a great idea.
However, if you have a plan to learn for your English test or finish your CV but still haven’t finished yet when your friends invite you to their party. Do you think it will be better to hang out with them or keep working on your works until you finish it firstly?
You have your own answer.
But always remember that your friends invite you to have a party or hang out with them when they have free time, not when they are busy with work.
However, if you sacrifice your time to work on the CV or prepare for the English test to go with them, the high potential is you will lose your opportunity to get the job (because you apply later than others) or get the lower scores in the test (because you don’t have enough time to review).
So learning to say “NO” with the things that don’t make your life better (while wasting a lot of time) to spend more time saying “YES” with tasks to improve your life is what you need to master.
It will help to protect your precious time rather than ruin it for useless things.
3. To protect your time, let learn to disagreement
You can learn more from disagreements rather than agreements. And it will help to save you a lot of time.
Because when you approach the tasks from the point of view of disagreed people, it helps you to view your problems in more ways and can find out more effective solutions to solve them.
And in life, finding a better solution equals saving more time and money to invest in “trials and errors”.
But many people normally ignore the disagreeing point of view and try to protect their own opinions.
It will be good if you and your competitor are having a competition together and need to protect your own ideas.
But if you are a boss/leader/a person who is looking for a better solution to solve your issues.
Learning to carefully listen and notice the other ideas (who disagree with your primary idea) will bring the best benefits and save you a lot of time for finding the best solution.
4. To protect your time, let ask for the things you want from the experts
It will help you to save a lot of time instead of doing everything by yourself.
As Ray Dalio says in his book “Principles in action”,
“Going from seeing things through just my eyes to seeing things through the eyes of these thoughtful people was like going from seeing things in black and white to seeing them in color. The world lit up.
“That’s when I realized that the best way to go through the jungle of life is with insightful people who see things differently from me”
Why do you need to spend hours, months, or even years trying things in your new ways? (But you are still not sure it works or not). Instead, you can choose to learn or get advice from the “insightful people” who already did it successfully.
Asking advice from experts who has years of experience in solving your issue will help you to avoid unnecessary mistakes and create better results in a shorter time.
And in the research from Harvard, they point out the best way that you can use to seek the best answer you want from the experts will include 6 steps:
Start with a positive tone
Identify the type of advice you’re seeking
Come prepared with specific details
Don’t ask everyone, Ask the right person
Don’t assume you already know the answers
By doing this, you will get the best result in the quickest time. Because you are “borrowing the brain” from the others who have more years of experience than you.
The people who use their time, money, and health to “trial and fail” before finding the right way to work on after years. And now, you can get it just in a few days, or even just a couple of hours when you consult with them.
Time is precious!
Because when it’s gone, you never can gain it back.
It is different with the money, if you lost it, you just need time to work and gain it back. And even you can be richer.
Or if you get sick, you just need time to do exercise and recover. Then you even can be stronger.
So using your time wisely will be the best investment in your life. Because it helps you to work on yourself more effectively and have time to achieve the life you want.
And instead of laying on the couch to watch TV and waste your time, let learn to appreciate every minute in your life and try to apply these 4 simple methods to help you work more effectively with your time.
As Steve Jobs used to say
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.
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