Billionaire John Paul Getty was a serial cigar smoker until he realized one day that – based on what he would earn hourly – he was spending the equivalent of $50,000 per year … smoking. That wasn’t $50,000 worth of cigars – it was $50,000 worth of his time. That kind of perspective definitely helps highlight the “time is money” concept, doesn’t it?
Think about the words we use to speak about time. We spend it, waste it, and save it – just like money. We put a premium on it. If you thought of every minute of your day as being worth, say $1,000, wouldn’t you look at that minute differently?
As I said in my last blog entry, this is a time of year when we really feel the squeeze of our to-do lists. The holiday fun can become a chore as we try to juggle work and family obligations and pressures – to use our time most effectively.
So, in the spirit of giving, here is my second installment of productivity tips and tools that I’ve discovered over the years. This time, I want to focus on the person which most busy individuals neglect – themselves! My hope is that this post will set you on a positive, new course for 2018 so that you always find time for YOU™ in the midst of the many demands you face.
To respect your precious time, it should only take 5-10 minutes to read these tips. As always, let me know what you think! Feel free to share your response in the comment section below.
My Favorite Productivity Tips & Tools – Tips #4 – 6
Tip #4: Get clear on how you really use your time.
Most of us never stop to think about how we actually spend our time. That’s why I recommend creating a “Time Log.” How? For 7-14 days, track all that you do every 15 minutes, from the time you get up until the time you go to bed. That may sound daunting, but I promise – doing this is an eye-opener! The key is to be honest with yourself… just observe what you are doing, objectively – and write it down. Don’t try to sugarcoat it.
This simple exercise has helped hundreds of clients get clear on what they honestly do each day (not just what they think they do). In my book, Leading You: The power of Self-Leadership to build your executive brand and drive career success, I provide a format for a time log and walk you step by step through creating a log so that you can not only get clear on how you are using your time – but, once you analyze the outcomes, to help you shift to using every precious minute of your life more wisely.
Bottom line: Change your perspective about time, and you will act differently toward the time you have. Try it!
Tip #5: Make physical exercise a regular part of your day.
Successful serial entrepreneur Richard Branson gets more done in a day than most of us could dream of. To what does Sir Branson attribute his ability to be so productive? He’s very consistent in his answer: He owes much of it to his daily practice of exercising – first thing in the morning.
I raise this because one of the most frequent complaints I hear from my coaching clients is, “I never have enough time to exercise!”
Now, granted, Branson gets up at 5:00 a.m. every day to work out , which may not be feasible for all of us. But with a little ingenuity, there are ways to work in that all-important productivity-producing exercise, which will not only likely add years to your life (hence, ultimately more time) but will also give you more energy to accomplish what you want every day.
Here are a few examples:
- I use a treadmill desk while attending to emails or other computer work. I can fit in a good walk while getting work done. I love it and strongly encourage others to explore it, too.
- No room for a treadmill in your office? Trying sitting on a fitness ball at your desk, which is good for your core and your balance. Plus, it’s a lot of fun to bounce up and down on it throughout the day!
- Use a Steppie Balance Board to stand while you work. It strengthens your balance and give your core and leg muscles a nice workout.
- Jump on a trampoline at your standing desk. Now, honestly, I’ve never done this personally, but a friend of mine swears by it. Try it – maybe you’ll like it!
The point is: There are ways to exercise even while you work, and that will increase your productivity. Don’t let lack of time be your excuse.
Tip #6: Use so-called “down time” wisely.
Have you ever thought about how much time you spend in line, waiting for meetings, driving to work, sitting in airports, waiting for immigration officials, or sitting on airplanes? How about using that time to develop your skills?
One of my favorite ways to use that seeming “idle” time is to listen to audio books. They can teach you valuable lessons which you can use both in your work and life. Why sit idle when you can use the time to set the stage for self-improvement and advance in your career … while you wait? That’s why I’ve make sure that all of the books I’ve written are recorded and available in audio form, too.
I hope these tips are valuable to you as ways to improve your productivity and use your time smartly! I’ll post another few tips soon. In the meantime, all the best to you – enjoy this precious “time” of the holiday season!