“The rich invest in time; the poor invest in money.” — Warren Buffet
We always value money over time, and it's hard not to. Money has a tangible value assigned to it; we are aware of when we spend money usefully or when we flush it down the drain. Those unnecessary purchases make us look at our account balance ruefully and we think twice before spending more on something that we need. But we're rarely this guarded about our time. We waste hours indulging in idle chit-chat and aimless distractions, never once realising that our hours and minutes are far too important to be wasted. Millionaires (the self-made ones), inherently some of the most successful people on the planet, have learned to value their time over money. They are acutely aware of how they spend each minute and they know how to prevent any wastage. Only by mastering time, can one gain success in their life. If you always feel that your days simply too short to do all the things that you want to do, here are four tips on learning to value your time like a millionaire:
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Start saying ‘no’
Millionaires are fiercely protective of their time. They don't indulge every person who comes to them for help and they don't agree to do things they don't want to just for the sake of appeasing another. The fear of being viewed negatively by others often compels us to agree with them even when we know it's bad idea. But saying ‘no’ is something you need to learn if you want to avoid wasting time. Someone comes to you asking for help because they're too lazy to figure out the solution themselves? A simple ‘Sorry, but I'm too busy to help you right now’ is all you should say. There are, of course, certain situations when helping someone is warranted. The best way to make sure that you're in the clear is by treating your time like money. If someone in dire need of money asks you for some financial assistance, you should certainly help them. In other cases, perhaps not.
Anyone who works in an office knows that most meetings are a grand waste of time. A study by Altassian found that the average worker spends 31 hours each month in unproductive meetings. That's around three to four working days wasted in meetings. People who conduct meetings should opt for better ways of facilitating group communication. Tools like Slack and Trello enable easy and quick collaboration without involving everyone in something only a couple of people should be concerned about. If meetings are absolutely necessary, you can find ways to get them done with as quickly as possible. Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group, has a novel take way of holding meetings: “One of my favourite tricks is to conduct most of my meetings standing up. I find it to be a much quicker way of getting down to business, making a decision, and sealing the deal.”
Draft a schedule, and stick to it
Planning your day is often the first step in effective time management. But even those people who religiously draft a schedule often fail to abide by it. Millionaires, on the other hand, not only create detailed schedules to break their workload into manageable tasks, but they follow them to a fault. And it's an astounding amount of self-discipline that enables them to do this. The ability to focus on one task at a time, without being distracted by anything for the time it takes to complete it, is what helps them get through their enormous workload. An important tactic to getting your work done on time is scheduling all the difficult tasks for the morning when the chances of inevitable disruptions ruining your carefully planned day are the least.
Dedicate time for yourself
It's a tragedy that most people nowadays associate time spent not working as time spent being unproductive. That translates to people not spending time doing the things that make them happy which in turn damages their emotional and physical well-being. Exercising, reading, or indulging in any hobby is vital for maintaining your health. Assigning a portion of each day for doing something we enjoy is essential when our hectic work lives threaten to overwhelm are personal ones. Getting up early, something that countless millionaires and successful people swear by, is a great way to get more time on your hands. If your daily routine involves jumping out of bed, getting ready in a rush, racing to office, returning home late, and crashing on your bed, it won't be long before you feel like your life is an utter waste of time.
Just remember that money once lost can always be regained. Time once lost, on the other hand, can never be recovered. And that's where its true value lies.