In order to get ahead in life and in your career, you need to learn to value your time.
There are a couple names that will show up in my inbox once a month. It’s guaranteed that they’ll ask if I want to chat over dinner, a drink, and make it look as if they’re trying to do business.
Anyone that knows me in the slightest knows that I’m all about business, and even just socializing in general. But one thing that pisses me off more than anything else is when people just simply waste my time. They might talk about wanting to work together, or why their team and my team would work great together, but at the end of the day there are no deals closed and no papers signed.
So what do I walk away with? Maybe a good conversation, some of my hopes let down, and about and a couple hours of my time thrown out the window that I could have been using elsewhere.
Time is more than each minute passing by
I remember reading something incredibly profound about the subject of time and it completely changed my life.
It said, “Time is one of the only things you cannot inherit, steal, or borrow.”
I applied it to every aspect of my life. When I was in college, I started my first company and a nationally-recognized foundation dedicated to college mental health. I went to the number one party school in America, and was the president of one the largest fraternities in the country.
I invested my time in the places I knew would pay dividends.
The decisions we make and how we choose to invest our time HAS to be beneficial to us in ways that will move us forward. I have to know that spending my time with somebody who never closes out a deal won’t help me get the business I want. I have to know that spending all of my time with people who are just getting started in their career won’t help me much in becoming the leaders that I look up to.
While working in the marketing industry, I have noticed five time-wasting habits which keep a large majority of people from reaching their true potential.
1. Accepting wasteful meetings.
Like I shared previously, people will always want to schedule meetings. It makes them feel more productive, but if there is nothing to gain, it ends up being just a big fat waste of time. Know what you’re getting into before stepping foot into a meeting before you just waste time talking about what could be or what could have been.
2. Holding on to bad employees.
Getting rid of bad people is probably even more crucial than bringing in great people. If you don’t get the wrong people out quickly, you’re only doing half your job. It might sound like a rationalization, but it is quite likely that you’re doing a favor to this employee if you make that decision sooner, and let them go. It can be beneficial to everyone involved, with no hard feelings.
3. Maintaining toxic client relationships.
Oh you know, the “something for nothing” clients.
Cut those customers who always want something but don’t pay. The ones that don’t value what you have to offer, and constantly question your prices. If they don’t value you now, they never will, and you’ll constantly be justifying the work you do, no matter how cheap.
Cut them loose. Give them the heave-ho. Tell them goodbye and never look back. Only work with clients who appreciate your value.
4. Trying to find shortcuts.
We have been trained to look for shortcuts. Copy-pasting, plagiarizing, repurposing, skimming, the list goes on and on. But in my experience, shortcuts always lead to failed projects and unhappy clients.
Hopefully, someone will catch the mistakes inherent in shortcuts and make you fix it, or start over from scratch. You spend more time fixing the mistake than you saved by taking the shortcut; if it’s the who client catches these mistakes, not only will it cost you time and money, but also their respect and confidence.
5. “Winging it.”
Do you come into the office with a plan? Do you have an agenda for that day or week? Do you know what items you need to tackle today and in what order?
If not, then congratulations: you’re “winging it”.
To “wing” something means to enter any situation without a plan of action. When you “wing” your day, you get pulled into every meeting, and you usually respond to every call.
By starting your day with a plan of your priorities, you don’t waste time, and you know what items take priority; not only do the most important tasks get accomplished first, but you are able to finish more tasks overall because you waste less time leaving items half-finished and coming back to them later.
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