Our greatest ally and worse enemy. Which one is it for you?
You can bend it to your will or surrender your miserable life to its mercy and suffer the consequences. It's that simple—a choice.
Although we talk about things in the engineering spectrum, time and energy management crosses all disciplines, it's the commodity we all share, trade, seek, and dread.
Last year I read a fantastic book—Essentialism (The Disciplined Pursuit of Less)—about time and energy management. I learned how high achievers and top performers manage to get so much done in the same time allocation as the worst performers on the planet.
Whatever you please, it might sound shocking and unfair, but there is a reason for that. Once you learn and implement it, your life won't be the same again. So stick around!
Have you ever asked yourself why, with a universal allocation of 60 seconds a minute, 60 minutes an hour, 24 hours a day, 30 days a month, 12 months a year, some manage to achieve greatness, yet others manage to do nothing at their best? You'll be surprised to find out it does not boil down to what they do but rather what they do not do.
Nearly everyone has a TO-DO list--that they only get to check off partially, but only a select few have a NOT-TO-DO list. And believe me; this is the one that makes or breaks you.
How does one achieve more doing less anyway? We all know achieving greatness is hard work or die—there is no substitute for hard work. How about selective hard work--still lost? Let us rephrase this for the ones in the back. How do you achieve more in 24 hours? Without needing more time?—there can only be 24 hours a day.
There is one possible answer to that. Do less but essential work.
However, reaching this conclusion and discerning the vital few from the trivial many is a delicate process and a "dangerous" one. It would be best to have a framework that would integrate with your busy mind and help you make this process effortless.
The Pareto Principle stipulates that twenty percent of our efforts make up 80 percent of our results (both good and bad). So we must all be stubborn not to let go of non-essential tasks and commitments, yet they seem apparent if you ever pay attention.
I invite you to Explore, Eliminate, and Execute.
You say "YES" too many times. You are trapping yourself in situations and commitments that do not propel you closer to your goals and objectives. These situations and obligations are like weeds in a crop farm; if you do not remove and uncommit, you will have no crop to harvest.
Be careful what you wish for when you become a "YES person"--you might get it! Then you would become mad as a dog at how things went; you would swear and curse the fates because your life would be a giant pool full of other people's commitments. Luckily, we have an escape boat that is going to promise land. You can board or freeze to death in the open sea--your choice!
Explore your schedule for commitments, tasks, and meetings you would not say yes to if you had another chance to choose. It might be hard to tell in the first place. But here is a trick for you, what are tasks, commitments, meetings, etc., that have a positive ROI on you, your goals, and your objectives? Once identified, proceed to eliminate the rests that are otherwise trivial many.
Eliminate ruthlessly anything that clutters your schedule and takes away so much of your time for so little ROI down the road.
Now, doing this won't save you. You've just implemented a quick fix. It would help if you had something that can last, something effortless that can blend in with your stubborn self and become your way of life--learn to say "NO."
You must learn to say "NO" to sustain this quick fix. Otherwise, you will find yourself at square one with tons of tasks and commitments you'd rather not do or in a meeting or place you'd rather not be. Provided you do not do non-essential things to procrastinate critical tasks, there might be hope for you.
You need time to do the things that will help you become a top performer. You won't make it by giving it away.
Be ruthless with time to make more time for Essential things and commitments.
Are you building that app, launching that business, working on that project, spending time with your family, or taking a week off--you know what it is for you.
Is it a "Hell Yeah" or a "NO"? Use that next time!