Time is the most precious commodity of them all. In the business world, more time translates directly to more earning capacity. Generally, the trend of stocks is to go upwards, and the best performing portfolios of all time belong to the decreased. And for one simple reason – Time.
An example of a company that sells time in an almost literal fashion is Uber. Despite a third-quarter dip last year, Uber is now among the highest valued startups in the world. Additionally, this rise came among many rumors that Uber was being rendered obsolete and was losing market share rapidly to competitors. This has not been the case, because Uber sells time. Time is the single most valuable asset that you have.
The fact is that people are phenomenally poor at time keeping. They go through their day having conversations they should not be having or looking at web pages not relevant to productive work or constructive well being. Idle chit-chat is perhaps the biggest time waster of them all. If stealing somebody’s time was an offense, most workers would be serving lengthy jail sentences.
On the other hand, it’s not reasonable or practicable to be 100% dogmatic in terms of how time is spent. People have varied interests and in the course of completing a job, you are operating in a shared environment. It is not possible to be 100% efficient with your time. Even outside of the workplace, you are in an interdependent environment with friends, family, dependents, and other relationships where interactions and objectives are the functions of a shared set of values. For you to be efficient with your time, you rely on others to be efficient with theirs.
All this aside, you have a responsibility to do the best you can with the worlds most precious commodity. Here are three things to do to protect your time.
#1 – Prioritize the Most Precious Commodity
As simple as it sounds, what you need to do is recognize the important role time plays in your life. Most people go through life trying to complete tasks without looking at the wider picture, which is doing these tasks more efficiently with more optimal methods.
By prioritizing your time, you are taking it back for yourself. This means telling time eaters to back off. If you don’t do this, then the invasions will continue. There is little nobility in being a victim to the vicissitudes of life. You need to establish some boundaries. The art of saying no is something that is being brought to the public awareness.
The fact of the matter is that other people will consciously and subconsciously consume your time if you allow them to. They will never understand that they are taking up your time unless you tell them. It is also worth noting that often it is not other people that steal your time. Devices such as smartphones and television are among the greatest time-wasters of them all. Don’t use them unless you have something definite to look up. When finished, stop using them. Idle browsing or looking at alerts is a subtle but poisonous time thief.
#2 Time Defense With Catch Phrases
You need to establish a way of circumventing conversations you do not wish to have. You may, for example, not wish to go for drinks or talk to a particular person in the morning. The best way to do this is to have a memorized catchphrase. It can be as simple as “somethings come up” or “I have some work to complete for a friend”. You need this catchphrase. If you think you will come up with one on the spot, your facial expression will give you away. Your eyes might go to the left or right as you try to think how best to get rid of the person, and they will pick up on it.
Feel free to cut somebody off in the middle of a conversation. It might sound harsh, but this will convey that your time is not for wasting. Otherwise, the person will keep intruding and the conversation could last for some time. It will also train your mind to be more assertive.
Passive people let their time be taken over. You should be very aggressive when it comes to your time. Just because the commodity is intangible does not mean other people are entitled to it. If somebody took your wallet, would you stand by?
#3 Connect With Others Who Value Time
In all industries, it is necessary to associate with the most efficient people. Their thoughts and habits will rub off on you. You need to connect more with people who value their time. There will be a close correlation between those who value their time and those who are the best in their field. After all, it is practically impossible to be good at anything if you don’t value your time. People who waste time are bound to experience mediocrity.
Getting started can be difficult, and there are thousands of shades of grey that you will have to determine for yourself. For example, you will have to judge whether to refuse or accept a wedding invitation. While it is not black and white, in most respects people do not set clear boundaries around their time. And because of this, they fail to make the progress they should be making in today’s age. Taking command of time and making it a priority is the most important thing that you can do right now. It is not only a healthy habit for work and productivity but is a requirement for emotional and mental well being.