Saturday, March 1, 2008

How Valuable Is Your Time ?

A little known fact: 20% of our activity produces 80% of our work. We spend most of our time doing things that have zero impact on our goals. It could be writing endless emails, internet surfing for hours, tv watching, long phone calls for no particular reason. It's endless interruptions, distractions... that prevent us from concentrating on what will make our dreams a reality. Is that effective? Hell no. So I have gradually improved my ratios by asking myself, before I take on an activity, 'is this the best use of my time? Is it really?'

It's 7:22am on Saturday March 1st. I'm doing something a bit different. Usually I post at the end of the day. Here, the idea is to look at this day as being infinitely important, as in every minute counts. I know everyone has heard that saying: "Treat this day as if it were your last." Anyone who has actually managed to do that, I would love to hear about it. No, what this is about is having the intention to make this day matter. In fact, every minute is going to matter.

I love to do this, though it's not as refined as it could be certainly. It doesn't mean I can't have fun and have to be 'productive' all the time. No, it's about having balance and living with intention. For example, spending hours watching tv is not having balance. Personally I don't have cable, so it's not an issue. I do watch movies quite often though.

Operating like this is especially important because I am self-employed, and self-managed. As such, I have to wear a lot of hats, and my to-do list is a mile long. In fact, I don't think I will ever get through it because everyday I add stuff to it. It's ok though, as long as I focus on the most important items. I get lost in the details, the meaningless stuff, all the time. And then I act surprised and disappointed when I don't get the results I want.

Another tactic that works well to increase productivity is having chunks of time (60 to 90 min.) dedicated to an activity, with zero interruptions allowed. That means phones are off, no internet surfing, no snack breaks, no tv... It's about focusing intensely on the task at hand, working with speed, concentration and care. I get more done working that way in 90 min. than I do in a full day working the haphazard way, no joke.

So in summary, it's not just about improving productivity, it's about improving my work/play balance, making every minute count, and focusing on what will impact my goals. It's an ongoing process for me. Let's see how it turns out today as an experiment.


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