Your time is probably your most precious and valuable commodity.
Once it’s gone you can’t get it back (why do you think people say, That’s x minutes of my life I’ll never get back…?).
If you do not value it, other people won’t.
Why you should guard your time selfishly, jealously and zealously
Maybe being self-employed and having to account for every activity I undertake has something to do with it. But I’ve found that being accountable for my time is the only to maximise my productivity and income (i.e., Why am I doing this and how does it add value to my life/business?).
Do this before doing or committing yourself to anything and very soon it becomes a habit (seriously, try it).
Even sooner, you’ll realise just how much time you waste doing things you don’t want to do, or that do not add value to your life (personal, professional or both).
What do you spend your time doing?
I once saw an episode of a television show with the chef, Gordon Ramsay. The premise of the show is simple: he goes to failing restaurants and helps turn things around. But not before telling the owner a few harsh, home truths.
In the episode I saw, the restaurant owner told Gordon Ramsay he didn’t have time to implement the changes that Mr Ramsay was suggesting for his restaurant, because he was busy.
To which Mr Ramsay replied: ‘Yes, you are a busy idiot. I’ve been in here all day and I can see that you’re a very busy idiot.’
In other words, the restaurant owner was busy, but he was busy doing the wrong things, which would explain why his restaurant was in such bad shape.
Are you a busy idiot? What do you spend your time doing?
I’m often asked about how to run a business or become a writer. There was a time when I would sit down with people and talk them through what I was doing and why.
Ninety-eight per cent of these meetings were a waste of my time because I soon realised that those people weren’t really interested in writing books or running a business.
They were interested in the end product, the ‘sexy’ bit. The bit where they can call themselves ‘successful’ authors or entrepreneurs, are feted by the media and approached to do Ted talks.
But the bit about the actual writing of the book, and the sweat, gore and tears that goes into running a business?
They weren’t interested in those non-sexy bits at all.
So now, if people ask me about how to write, I direct them to my writing website, which has lots of content about writing, making it as a writer and also online courses.
Same goes for business advice. I’ll direct you to a citizen website on how to start your own business etc, but I will not take time out of my schedule and sit down with you.
If, however, they have started writing the book or have launched the business and just need guidance from someone who’s been there and done that, I’m more than willing to have a chat, but no more than 15 minutes in the first instance.
Because I value my time.
What do you want to do, really?
Everybody has a dream, but until you start taking action, it remains just that: a dream.
Taking action means being accountable and valuing your time.
Do you spend your time looking at other people’s Instagram feed or YouTube channel and envying their success?
Here’s what those YouTube and Instagram ‘influencers’ don’t tell you:
They put in the hours to grow their follower network. You don’t get to have 1K, 5K, 20K+ YouTube subscribers or Instagram followers by shooting half-assed videos or photographs (and even those half-assed videos are staged), putting it on your profile and hoping for the best.
They’re strategic. These influencers spends hours, days, weeks of the time, planning, creating, curating and scheduling their content.
They turn up on time everyday, so that their followers (or ‘tribe’) have something new to watch or see.
To do that, they need to guard their time zealously. That could mean shooting 10 YouTube videos in one day, spending 20 hours a day editing those videos, uploading them onto YouTube and then, doing the necessary promotion to get views on their content.
And that’s just a fraction of their behind-the-scenes work.
I know someone who’s now won a lot of awards for his free-from pastries.
I also know that for five years prior to his ‘sudden’ Instagram fame, he was up at 4am every week day to bake his pastries and drop them off at cafes all over London, before going to his 9-5 job as a project manager. After work, he would do evening deliveries, do some more baking, do family time, do his business admin (accounts, marketing etc), before crashing out and waking up to do the same thing all over again the next day.
All through this, he was still on Instagram and Facebook, showcasing his products and perfecting his recipes.
That’s someone who had a vision for his life, and was extremely focused about his time and how he used it.
When I see him on television, I’m happy for him, because I know what it took for him to get to he is today.
He may given up his 9-5, but he’s still working as hard as ever.
Where are you today?
Where would you like to be tomorrow?
How can you manage your time better, so you can get to where you want or need to be?
How much do you value your time?