Do you invest or waste time?

“Invest time, don’t spend it” – Jeffrey Gitomer

In the early 2000’s “Invest Don’t Spend” was 1 of 10 guiding principles my employer (System Software Associates) embedded within the culture of the organisation. “Invest Don’t Spend” essentially meant that return on investment (ROI) applied to everything. It was framed as “would you spend the money if it was your business?” The same logic can be applied to what gets our attention. How much time do you invest towards driving targeted outcomes versus wasting throughout each day and week?

Effective workers have high levels of productivity. They achieve results because they get more done of the work that matters most. Whereas, ineffective workers don’t execute well. They might have the right intent but not the tools to get the job done. It’s like trying to fill water into a bucket that has holes in it – there’s just too much leakage.

Whether you’re a senior manager or a cadet, we all have 168 hours (24x7) available to us each week. While a very small minority of workers might waste time intentionally, a far greater percentage do so unintentionally. Their issue is they either only know what they know, experienced difficulty adapting to better techniques or they haven’t found an approach to work that’s aligned to their respective strengths, weaknesses and preferences.

More often than not, wasted time sneaks up on workers. Before they realise it’s happening, it’s already occurred. The top 3 are:

Interruptions – the degree of interruptions and strategies on how to manage haven’t been considered or implemented

Email – there’s not a simple approach to managing email that’s aligned to the individuals’ preferences

Meetings – too many meetings that don’t add value require attendance

The difference with workers who invest time is they proactively minimise the amount of time they spend on the things that waste time. Sure, there’s an amount of effort required on time wasting activities, but their high levels of efficiency enable them to keep it in check. This creates space for them to:

Plan and prioritise – focus on the work and initiatives that make the biggest impact

Schedule – have a realistic and effective schedule that makes execution possible

This week, consider how you work. At the end of the week, how much of what you planned to do was achieved? Alternatively, how many hours did you waste on unimportant low-level tasks?

Maybe an intervention is necessary to help you establish a rhythm so you will stop wasting time and instead invest it towards driving targeted outcomes.