This is why you should think marginally about your time

commodity marginal thinking Jun 21, 2020

Your time is precious!

Time is a finite resource, and therefore arguably our most valuable commodity.

We can always get more money, but we can never get more time…so it’s vitally important to make the most of it!

Don’t waste your precious time on low-yielding tasks or uninspiring activities.

Years ago I learned from a great chap I used to work with at Deloitte how we should ideally learn to think marginally about our time, and, for example, how we can eliminate time-sapping tasks out of our day, keep a clean inbox, and learn to deal with emails once.

It took many years for this message to finally and properly sink in, but eventually I did learn this amazing lesson (thanks Jono!).

Marginal thinking

What can you do in this regard to make more time for yourself?

Well, many things!

Resolve to be more organised.

Prioritise the 2 or 3 critical tasks that will make a huge difference to your results and do these first…and don’t worry anything like so much about everything else.

Only check your phone and emails twice per day, setting up voicemail or out of office messages if required.

Moreover, simply be ruthless and cancel all pointless meetings (yes, you know the ones I mean!).

Don’t lot other people schedule your life

This is such an important but routinely ignored idea that I’ll suggest it again: don’t let other people schedule your life.

It’s your time, so own it!

Take charge of your own schedule, and delete the things which don’t inspire you.

A few years ago I was getting more than 50 phone calls per day on average, which was becoming so overwhelming I went overseas to Thailand and stashed my Aussie SIM card in the bottom of a suitcase for a couple of months.

Admittedly this was quite an extreme approach, but I retrained people to email me instead and it was tremendously effective (both for me and for them).

Take some some time working out what makes you happy and prioritise that.

And here’s a more radical idea: you could simply choose to place a much higher value on your time, and not waste it by spending it on energy-sappers!

The magic of thinking big

Thinking bigger still, how can you free up dozens of hours of time per month, or even per week?

It definitely can be done, as I’ve eventually discovered, but naturally it requires thinking differently.

The first time I read The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss I was looking at it through the lens of an employee mindset, and it didn’t really grab me.

Now, I really do get it.

These days I think much more carefully about booking in time to spend with people or scheduling in meetings, because it’s potentially time taken away from other things that are important to me, like spending time with my family or travel.

But that’s just my journey.

How can you think more marginally about your time?

I discussed this concept a little further in the short video here

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