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Just think about it: What’s our most valuable asset? For me, it’s time, but before this year, I didn’t plan or strategize how I used my time. It’s crazy that I didn’t really have a firm grasp of this time concept cemented in my mind — yet time itself is so important to me.
With a strategy, we can find and keep time. We can’t bottle it yet, but we can build a fuller life. I hadn’t realized or consciously considered that, with a strategy, we have the ability to shave many millions of seconds off tasks, which then convert to minutes.
As we gather and look at the data and revise our strategy, we fine-tune our efforts to transfer these minutes into hours added to our days. These collective hours and days, then, equal life.
Those few seconds may not mean much to me during the seconds that are wasted or those that pass unnoticed. When we developed out the analytics part of Calendar, I saw how and where I was spending my time. That sad realization was that I was spending time with people and doing tasks that were a waste of my time.
If those spare seconds added together mean that I can make a recital for my daughter, they’ve been meaningful. Consider finding time to attend an award ceremony for a colleague or making it to Grammy’s birthday party. You can bet those seconds enrich many lives, not just yours.
I recently started spending 15 minutes at the end of every day planning the next on my calendar. Here’s what I’ve found:
- It helps me hit the ground running in the morning.
I do my best work in the morning, but it used to take me a lot of time to get things organized when I arrived at the office. I’d get coffee and say “hi” to co-workers and then get caught up in the happenings in my inbox.
Now, I get to the office and immediately dive into important tasks. A lot of these responsibilities are done by lunch, which ensures I make an impact each day. Because I hit the ground running early, I can see things from a better perspective for work.
This action prevents me from going down the rabbit hole of email or any other mindless duty. Best of all, I’m finding that I can get caught up with my work for that day rather than feel I’m behind or rushed.
- Planning the day before helps me visualize what my day will look like as a whole.
Seeing the day as a cohesive whole, rather than in fragmented pieces, exposes errors in planning how much time a task may take. Your calendar informs you of buffer times that should be added for certain events.
My calendar brings to light where I may have needed prep time I hadn’t thought about. This little planning session with myself notifies me that I better get to the office even earlier tomorrow or I’m screwed.
- It helps me prioritize important things.
If I haven’t booked my time with clear precision, I gravitate toward what I like to do, rather than what’s most important for the company. That means my misspent time can literally cost us money. Worse, it can prevent us from hitting the milestones we’re working so hard for on the timeline we want.
- Planning the day ahead plainly shows where time can be saved in certain areas.
I love helping people, so I tend to agree to be part of a lot of things I should turn down. As I view my schedule for the next day, I’ve sometimes included things that I have to force myself to throw out. I can shoot a quick email and say, “it looks like you guys have this handled” or “I won’t be able to make this.” Sometimes I’m able to immediately free up hours of time.
This planning has helped me move choices from “something of worth” to something of even greater value over the long haul.
- Planning ahead helps infuse a mental strength and determination in me that I hadn’t tapped into before.
Planning at the end of the day allows me to leave the office somewhat relaxed and not feeling like I need to stay up all night to get everything done. I’ve also learned that being more organized has taken a lot of stress out of my life. I am more prepared and have a lot fewer scheduling mishaps. (If you’ve ever double-booked yourself, you know the pain of realizing you’ve let someone down 10 minutes into a meeting.)
At first, you may feel you can’t devote that extra 15 minutes to your calendar. But trust me on this, and try it out. I now have an “event” for my calendar, and I wouldn’t miss our team huddle for anything.
My calendar almost feels like a friend; I’ve realized what it can do for me. I want you to have the same experience of facing your tomorrows with confidence, knowing you’ve crushed what’s elusive to so many: You’ve conquered time.
December 16, 2018 at 07:16AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs