“Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.” Jim Rohm
Time is the secret of the self-made rich and successful people. Why? Because they understand that time is the most important asset that they have: they cannot get it back and it is limited. If we were to utilize our time in a more efficient manner, it would completely change our lives. It would improve our decision-making, keep us focused, disciplined, reduce our stress, and increase our success. Most importantly, it will allot us time for enjoyment.
This blog will give you the steps necessary to have better control over your time.
- Get a journal. I recommend a good quality leather journal that is compact, light, flexible yet sturdy. I prefer the Moleskine Classic Squared Notebook. This specific brand can be bought at any Barnes & Noble, Staples, Target or The Container Store.
- Figure out how much your time is worth. This quick exercise will give you an idea of how much “money” you are squandering away as you waste your time on mindless activities such as social media, TV, getting involved in other people’s problems, etc. Here is the exercise: Take the money that you DESIRE to make a year. Have fun with this! If you desire to make a million dollars, then so be it, use that amount. Take the desired amount of money and divide it by the number of days that you will plan to work (don’t forget vacations, holidays, weekends and/or an allotted time for sick days). Then divide that result by the number of hours that you will dedicate to your vocation every day. Finally, divide the last number by 60, so you can figure out the value of each minute. For example:
Desired Amount: $1,000,000.00 after taxes [which equals about $1,850,000.00 gross]
Days that I will work per year: 219
365 days – [(62 days vacation/holidays/sick leave) – (84 weekends left)] = 219
Hours that I will work per year = 1752
219 x 8 hours per day = 1752
One day earnings (I didn’t include vacations and days off), to me is worth: $8,448
A work-hour is worth: $1,056.00
A work-minute is worth: $17.60
- Find Out your Rituals. Rituals are daily practices, a compassionate discipline, which helps us focus our scattered mind. It allows us to center on a single activity, and do it in a mindful and elegant manner. Aristotle once said, “We are what we repeatedly do.” Nourishing routines helps us manage our energy, focus and time effectively, and they stimulate positive habits. Finally, routines require minimum engagement in order to reap amazing outcomes. We can transform the most mundane activity into a time of serenity and reflection. Creating rituals can be as simple as grooming, making coffee, washing dishes, praying, meditating, etc. For example, these eight activities are my daily rituals: Praying, Meditation, Exercise, 5 Mindful Meals, Morning Grooming, Reading, Creative Practice (like DJing, making music, writing poetry in Spanish, etc.), Writing in my Diary (at least in the morning and night) and doing a Time Analysis (see step number seven).
- Write your to-do list for the month, the week and the following day.
- Once you have your to-do list finished, whitewash it by using the Pareto Principle (20% of your activities/tasks will account for 80% of your results). Only keep those tasks that will earn (or potentially earn) equal or more than what your time is worth. Therefore, do not include chores, your activities (or your kid’s), events/invites (unless attending them would potentially move you towards the achievements of your goals), and any $10/hour task.
- Draw a Coordinate Plane, Implement and Time Management.
The quadrants on the coordinate plane will be allocated as follows:
Quadrant I: Routines & Rituals.
Quadrant II: Day 20% Tasks.
Quadrant III: Week 20% Tasks.
Quadrant IV: Month 20% Tasks.Here is a completed Coordinate Plane:Once you have put the “20% Tasks” and rituals in their corresponding quadrant, input them on your calendar (Outlook Calendar, Google Calendar, Dials, etc.), and give them a specific time to complete it. I prefer the Dials calendar app:A method that I recommend for time management is the Pomodoro Technique. Lifehacker explains it as follows,“When faced with any large task or series of tasks, break the work down into short, timed intervals that are spaced out by short breaks. Pomodoro is a cyclical system. You work in short sprints, which makes sure you’re consistently productive. You also get to take regular breaks that bolster your motivation and keep you creative.”
My intervals are as follows: I work on a task for 25 minutes and I rest for 5 minutes (I usually read emails, periodicals, answer voice mails, check out social media, etc.). Every time I hit the 3 hour mark, I give myself a 20 minute break. My 20-minute breaks usually land at the 9:00 am, noon (I take an hour for lunch),3:00 pm and 6:00 pm. DO NOT INCLUDE YOUR BREAKS ON YOUR DAY LOG (read the next and last step).
- Day review. At the end of the day, do a “portfolio” (time) review of your day. In order to complete this implementation, you will need to do the following exercise: you will need to keep a log of what you do all day; from the minute you wake up, to the minute you go to bed. If you spend time for pleasure on mindless activities, mark that chunk of time as “M.A.” This is not an exercise on judgment, but an exercise on auditing. When the day is over, assess it –you will treat your time as a real asset. With your minutes and your Coordinate Plane in front of you, answer the following questions:
- Where did you spend most of your time?
- Where could you have been more efficient?
- Did you complete all of your daily tasks? (If it is the end of the week and/or the month, answer the questions for them as well) If you answer is, “no,” why not?
- Tally up the hours or minutes that you spent in activities in your To-Do/Goals List and in Mindless Activities, and give it a monetary value (using the figures you came up with in step number 2). Do you have a positive or negative value? Where could you have used your time more efficiently?
- Finally, create a new to-do list for the next day (if it is the end of the week and/or the month create a to-do list for them as well). On Sunday, do a week review and create a new to-do list for the following week. The same rule applies at the end of the month.
To your success,
Ricardo de Manzo y Flores