The most valuable commodity

time2Time. Valuable because it’s irreplaceable. The time that’s gone is gone. You can’t grow or earn more. You don’t even know how much you get in a lifetime. I recommend investing the time you do have for the greatest return.

Know how long it takes to do things. Does MapQuest say your morning commute is only 15 minutes but in fact it’s 30 because you’re always stuck in traffic? How long does it take you to complete household chores? Can you really pack for vacation in 10 minutes? Once you know what the demands on your time are, you can organize and prepare.

Get organized. Know your priorities and what’s most important to you. Develop a system for keeping your home and work life running smoothly. There are a million formal and informal organizing systems out there. I use Franklin Covey and, for longer or more complicated tasks, determine the critical path. Find something that works for you. You’ll save yourself a fortune in time and lost opportunities.

Plan and prepare. Know what you’re going to be doing and where you’ll be in a day. Remember Home Ec. class? The teacher taught us to read the whole recipe first before doing anything. Make sure you have the ingredients and equipment you need. Know what steps you’ll need to follow and what to do first and how much time the whole cooking process should take. Do the same with the recipe for your day.

I’ve been teased because I have my lunch prepared and my outfit ready for the next day. People say things like “Must be nice. I’m just too crazy busy to do that.” Is that so? Those tasks have to get done. I can either do them the night before or in a mounting, messy frenzy the next morning. I know which I prefer and consider the night-before prep as a sound investment of my time and a set up for my own success. And who can argue with success?

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6 thoughts on “The most valuable commodity

  1. An excerpt from the 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene (from law #35):
    The famous seventeenth-century Ming painter Chou Yung relates a story that altered his behavior forever. Late one winter afternoon he set out to visit a town that lay across the river from his own town. He was bringing some important books and papers with him and had commissioned a young boy to help him carry them. As the ferry neared the other side of the river, Chou Yung asked the boatman if they would have time to get to the town before its gates closed, since it was a mile away and night was approaching. The boatman glanced at the boy, and the bundle of loosely tied papers and books – “Yes,” he replied, “if you do not walk too fast.”
    As they started out, however, the sun was setting. Afraid of being locked out of the town at night, prey to local bandits, Chou and the boy walked faster and faster, finally breaking into a run. Suddenly the string around the papers broke and scattered on the ground. It took them many minutes to put the packet together again, and by the time they had reached the city gates, it was too late.

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  2. Some great stuff there. With my dual form of dyslexia I always had to be extremely organized to succeed in school. The first book I used and still one of the best applies 80/20 to academics but easily translates to work called ‘How to get better grades and have more fun’ http://bit.ly/BetterGrades then later when working in ministry two book by Canadian Julie Morgenstern ‘Organization From The inside Out’ and ‘Time Management From The Inside Out’. I also pick my clothes the night before use a dressing chair to lay them out. Again great post!

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  3. Hi, Steve – thanks for these great suggestions re: the books. I agree that if you want to succeed at something, you have to make the investment in yourself and that can mean preparation and an initial lay out of time (and sometimes clothes *S*). I love spontaneity and unstructured time too – but not when I’m trying to accomplish a clear goal!

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