There are endless articles written online about how to get more done, time management hacks, slipstream ninja time hacking whatevermajig, 4 hour work weeks, 90 days years; you name it.
The masters of time are out there en masse, all ready to onboard you into their thing.
But at the end of the day, it doesn't matter how much you try to practice time management systems or become a self made getting things done guru. If you don't view time like actual currency, it doesn't matter.
This is hard because in the early days, the cheapest labor (and sometimes the only labor) to get things done is you. You don't have anyone to do it for you, you can't afford to hire it out, so you do it yourself. It's got to be done, right?
But does it really?
A lot of the things I see entrepreneurs killing themselves to accomplish are things that are ultimately minor. They don't really make a difference, they don't "move the needle." They didn't emerge from said activity having made huge progress, or even more rested, more connected, more inspired or having learned a new thing.
So what is really happening here?
We are saying "Yes" to ourselves when we shouldn't be. And then promptly becoming our own worst type of time wasting client (You know who they are).
Some examples of what we do include:
- Publishing blog posts that nobody reads, when blogging doesn't actually lead to acquiring customers. Because we should.
- Noodling for hours on the color and font of website buttons, when the buttons look fine, and the website itself gets hardly any traffic.
- Paying thousands we can barely afford to be featured in a publication that can't itself prove return on investment or conversion to sales.
- Cramming non critical meetings into busy weeks, when we can just as easily be scheduled a couple weeks out.
Imagine you are spending 1 hour noodling on the color and font of your website buttons. Now, imagine you shell out $5 for every minute you spend doing this. $300 an hour.
Since we are all trying to do a lot with a little. Can you honestly say the new color and font of your website buttons will really help generate you the result you are currently are working toward? You don't even have the traffic, so the answer is probably not.
You unconsciously said "Yes" to the voice in your head telling you to waste time noodling on the website buttons. A "Yes" you never would have said to anyone else. But in this case, you didn't even realize you did it.
It's easy to waste hours doing things that are meaningless. Searching around in your email when you could have been meaningfully connecting with a customer. Poking at a spreadsheet until late into the night when you could have been getting rest. Letting a "can I pick your brain?" request turn into hours of your afternoon that could have been spent getting to know your new hires.
Have you ever spent exorbitant amounts of time doing something that had no real goal or purpose and did not matter whatsoever? How did it make you feel?