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The myth of lost time

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You know that saying ‘You can never get time back’.

Well I think it’s a poor excuse. You can.

Let’s prove this mathematically first. Let’s say you’ve ‘lost’ a collective 100 hours over the last year doing ‘stuff’, when you wish you had spent the time on something more valuable.

Here’s what you need to do. For the next 100 days wake up ½ an hour earlier and go to bed ½ an hour later.

100 hours last year x doing nothing = 100 hours of lost time.  

100 additional hours over the next 100 days x doing productive things = 100 hours of time back.

Thus getting that time back. Wooo!

Now let’s talk about another way you can do this. It’s not quite as logical or as true as the above example, but it is as equally important and worth elaborating on.

It’s the ‘what are you doing with your time right now?’ and ‘what to do with the time that’s ahead of you?’. Yeah we’ve all heard it before. But if we’ve heard it so many times, why do we keep messing it up?

Now before I get into some of the things I recommend around this. I want to mention that the reason why I’m writing this post is that I got frustrated thinking that I had lost time and wanted it back!

So please don’t take this as a sermon, but more of as an affirmation that hopefully brings a bit of time back into your lives like it has for me.

1. Nail the number one rule on Time Management
Take the time to plan out your time.

So simple and powerful, yet so few of us do it consistently. Notice the addition of the word ‘consistently’. I think a lot of us do this now and then, however it is those that do this religiously that reap the real rewards.

Take an hour every Sunday night that begins with the question “What will I achieve this week?” is a practise you need to start ASAP. Again, notice the wording, I didn’t ask myself what I wanted to achieve, I deliberately asked what I will achieve.

Do not underestimate these seemingly small adjustments in words.

At the next stage of this process is where I also think a lot of us can get it wrong. We immediately dive into the ‘to do’s’ for our working world. Not considering the other areas of our lives that are equally as important. E.g. our health, relationships, family, friends, mindset, contribution etc.

To help you with prioritising what you will achieve in the week in all these areas there are another two important and complementary questions you should ask yourself at the beginning of this planning hour, which are:

‘What is important to me?’ and ‘Will it will make me a better person?’

Now you’re ready to get meaningful work done. This one hour a week with these questions could save you hundreds if not thousands of hours over your lifetime.

2. How you start your day is how you start your life
I can’t quite remember where I read or heard this, but I love it.

That every new day is a new beginning to my life. What is done, is done and what will come, will come and the ‘all we have is now’ quote being the truest truth of life.

Therefore the time you spend at the beginning of your new life every day then becomes quite important.

The most powerful way I’ve figured out in starting the day/my life is connecting to the higher presence. Call it God, Mother Nature, Allah, whatever, the most important part is connecting with it. By becoming more connected, you become more effective.

I do this through meditation. Some people do this through exercise. However you do it is fine, the important part is just making sure you plug into it.

It’s like connecting your sail to the mast of your ship first. If you don’t do this before your journey, your sails are just going to flap around madly in the wind and you’re not going to get anywhere or achieve anything.

Connect first and you’ll achieve so much more in less time.

3. Spending time doing nothing on something great is better than spending time doing lots of things on nothing
Yes you read that correctly. Let me explain further.

There are two types of ‘nothing’. The first is the meaningless type. The type of things that bring little value to you and no value to others, e.g. checking your Facebook every half hour, watching TV, carrying papers from one side of the office to the other in order to ‘look busy’.

You’re doing things, but you’re really spending that time on ‘nothing’.

The other type is what a lot of people mistake as nothing, but it is often everything and that is thinking.

Sometimes I sit at my desk and just think. When I’m doing this I often have people come up to me with a kind of shocked ‘why aren’t you working’ look and ask “What are you doing?”, to which I reply “thinking”.

They see me as doing ‘nothing’, whereas I’m doing exactly what I feel they should be doing more of. Thinking.

Don’t get me wrong, action is incredibly important, however I can say for sure that your actions will become more powerful, meaningful and effective if there is strong thinking behind them.

Never feel bad about deep strategic and meaningful thinking. I feel an hour spent doing this is equal to a hundred hours of doing ‘that’.

Time is incredibly precious. It is limited and sacred. It is something that has always been there and will continue to be. The great news is that you own it and you can certainly get it back.

Time to give time the time it deserves!

About Luke McLeod

Luke McLeod is a passionate entrepreneur, angel investor and the Senior Advisor at The Entourage. He has helped grow and develop over 600 businesses around the world from early stage startups to Fortune 500 companies.

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