People who have a lot to accomplish feel that they don't have time to accomplish everything so end up not accomplishing much. People who don't have a lot to accomplish don't have to worry much about time but won't accomplish much anyway.
If you are reading this or other similar articles, I assume that you are in the first category -- you have too many things to accomplish and you think you have too little time.
As it has been told many times, you can't manage time (everyone has only 24 hours) -- you can only manage yourselves. If you believe in that and start working on your discipline, a lot of progress can be made. For me, this part is the obvious part. The only real resource that you have control over is you -- manage it well and you can "sort of" manage time.
Lack of time is a really a manifestation of a bigger problem -- lack of leverage in your life. So my proposal is this: Amp up your leverage and you solve your time management problem.
Leverage is anything for which you get a disproportionally high positive return on investment. If all else is equal between two professionals, the person with a higher leverage always wins -- and he or she wins with far less effort than the other person.
So, if you work on increasing your leverage you automatically get a cure for your time management problem.
Here are three ways you can increase your leverage starting tomorrow:
1. Ensure that your job increases your personal capacity. Usually these jobs require you to stretch and walk the extra mile -- capacity increases happen with certain amount of resistance. Typically, no resistance means no growth. What if your job does not provide that opportunity? Then, volunteer to pick up additional work in your workplace and do whatever it takes to get the right amount of resistance to grow. With progressively increasing personal capacity to perform you will notice an increase in leverage.
2. Get higher quality help requests. Your influence and power increases with the quality of help requests that come your way. If you position yourself to constantly receive higher quality help requests (and you work to fulfill these requests satisfactorily) you will start to notice increase in leverage. For you to have the capacity to respond to higher quality help requests, you have to learn to get away from responding to lower quality help requests. Quick litmus test: If a request could be handled by anyone but it came to you because you were available, then typically it’s not a high-quality help request.
3. Find a second reason to do anything important. If you are working on anything important, it’s not hard to find a reason to do exactly the same thing. For example, If you are commuting to work, you can also use that time to listen to an audio book. Once you get into the habit of finding a reason, stretch yourself to find a third reason. If you succeed, start finding a fourth reason and so on. The goal here is to get multiple outcomes for the same effort - the hallmark of high leverage.
If time management is a topic of interest to you and your team, you can download my manifesto on time management titled “Making the Most of Your Time” at ChangeThis.
Image credit: Leo Reynolds
Rajesh Setty is an entrepreneur,author and speaker based in Silicon Valley. He also creates and sells limited-edition prints at Sparktastic. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/rajsetty.