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Mind Readings: Be Ruthlessly Efficient With Your Time

In today’s episode, we talked about being more efficient and ruthlessly efficient with your time. We discussed setting time boundaries and enforcing them, making use of small time slices throughout the day, and reducing the time spent on activities that don’t help you reach your goals. Lastly, we recommended being assertive with those who waste your time by setting clear boundaries and sticking to them.

Mind Readings: Be Ruthlessly Efficient With Your Time

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In today’s episode, let’s talk about being more efficient, being ruthlessly efficient with your time. Before the holidays, I was in a meeting and set very clear boundaries; it was a 25 minute meeting. And the folks I was having the meeting with started off with a lot of fluff, some small talk, and then said, “Okay, now let’s do some introductions.” And I was sitting there going, “We have 25 minutes and you’re going to have nine people introduce themselves, you’re going to chew up at least five minutes of this call.” And sure enough, after all the fluff, by the time we actually got down to business, there were 15 minutes left in a 25 minute call. And so the folks who were on this call did not accomplish what they set out to do with the call, they ran out of time. And I know they were disappointed; you could see it on their faces, because this was a Zoom call. And it got me thinking about the things that you can do to make the most of the time that you have, not just in a meeting, but in general, and ways to implement that.

So, number one, set time boundaries and enforce them. I love calendar appointments for meetings, and I will let people know at the top of the call that I have a hard stop at a certain time. And I stick to it; stick to it and say, “Okay, we’re out of time; I’ll let’s let’s reconvene again if we need to have another meeting, we can.” But after the first couple of calls, where somebody gets cut off in the middle of the call because they’re rambling, they get the message pretty quickly: “Oh, I need to tighten up if I want to get done what I want to get done.” So be really isn’t not unforgiving, but very assertive with your time boundaries; your time is valuable. No amount of money could ever buy time.

Second, have a to-do list for tasks that take relatively little time; five to fifteen minutes. And throughout your day, when you have little time slices, allow that list and knock stuff off of that list. I used to have this one coworker who drove me up a wall. They were who would have like 25 minutes between meetings, I would just throw their hands up and say, “Oh, I can’t get anything done. I don’t have enough time.” Like, I’m 25 minutes, you can get a lot done in 25 minutes, as long as you’re prepared, as long as you know what is on your plate that you could get done and get it done. There’s always stuff to be done. And not all of it takes deep work. Some things absolutely take deep work, which is when you spend an hour, two hours, three hours, block off that time so that I’m not doing anything else, but focusing in on this sort of thing.

The third thing and this is one that comes from people asking the question, “How do you do as much as you do? How do you create as much as you create?” is you reduce time usage for stuff that doesn’t move your goals ahead. It’s not to say that you just stop being unproductive, right? You absolutely should have downtime, rest time, time to just watch silly reruns whatever, because that mental breaks are important and necessary for your mental health, your productivity, it needs that. But it has to be taken in belts, it has to be budgeted, kind of like anything. Time is a limited resource and you budget it like a limited resource just like money. It is astonishing to me how many people and organizations will will budget down to the penny for for every little thing and they won’t budget their time at all. They will not budget time, even a little bit. They’ll say, “Oh yeah, we’ve got to do some of this marketing stuff. You’ve got to do some email marketing and stuff.” And then they’ll obsess about their pay-per-click budget. It’s like, “Well, you probably should budget your time more rigorously.” And you’ll find that you’ll have more time to do more stuff and you may not necessarily need to then spend as much money as you do on your pay-per-click budget because you’ve recovered that productivity and time.

So, I would summarize this by saying you need to be efficient with your time in some cases ruthlessly efficient. Though the people who are going to waste your time, box them in; either there are certain people you have to deal with them. Maybe it’s a boss or a colleague, or a family member or a client or whoever. And you know that dealing with them is not the best use of your time. Box them in, say, “Hey, love to talk, have 25 minutes.” And then at the end when they’re still going on say, “I’ve got another thing. It’s been great talking to you; bye.” As with everything else, people learn pretty quickly, subconsciously or consciously people learn pretty quickly when you stand up for your boundaries and say that you have 25 minutes, and there’s a hard stop at the end.

So, I’d encourage you to do the same. Thanks for tuning in. I’ll talk to you soon. If you’d like this video, go ahead and hit that subscribe button.

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