We spend a large portion of our lives earning money; but what is more important, the time we spend or the money we earn? Many people, especially in this modern competitive world, spend a significant amount of their time working and earning money. Some sacrifice their weekends on important projects while others burn the midnight oil. There's nothing wrong in giving up your free time to get critical projects done but if you do it too often, you need to organise your time better and prioritise your tasks accordingly.
What is More Important?
You can't survive in this world without money so you do need to spend some time earning it; but time is an extremely limited resource, and you should keep that in mind. There are only so many hours in a day and so many days in a week that you can work before you exhaust your body and mind. It's important to strike the right balance between reasonable effort and too much work.
Most business owners fail to find this balance because they value money more than their time. They aim to save money on different tasks and aspects of their business by performing those tasks themselves. That only serves to add to their stress and doesn't really save them any money in the long run. For example, you might save money upfront if you don't hire an accountant to handle your books and handle the task yourself, but do you really save money?
An accountant will charge a fee for their services but they'll provide relatively error-free work and finish your books in a shorter amount of time. You will be able to focus on your other projects instead of wasting time on a task you're not professionally trained for. If you do the books yourself, you might spend twice as much time on the task as an accountant would.
This isn't effective money or time-management because you will have to take time away from projects that actually make you money. You need to keep in mind that even if you lose all your money today, you will earn it back tomorrow. However, all the time you waste today is gone forever and will never come back.
Zones of Time
Some business owners and professionals plan their day down to the last minute in the hopes of keeping everything on track. However, that's an incomplete way of looking at time management. You need to understand how you spend your time during a 24-hour period and then organise your schedule based on that. We recommend you consider the concept of zones of time. Here's a brief description of these zones:
Zone of Distraction
As the name implies, people are distracted during this time zone. They focus on things that don't contribute to their work, such as social media, phone calls, online shopping, etc. Most people don't realise that the seconds and minutes they spend in this zone of distraction can add up several hours at the end of the week. Once you enter the zone of distraction, you don't realise how much time passes by and only come out of it when something or someone warns you that you've spent too much time being distracted.
It's important to understand and identify these zones of distraction and slowly eliminate them from your schedule and habits. If you're constantly distracted by your phone, lock it away. If you're distracted by social media, block those websites on your computer. This will help you minimise the time you spend in this zone.
Zone of Delusion
The zone of delusion consists of time spent on tasks you think are urgent, but they aren't as important as some of the other projects you need to be working on. Most people linger in this zone when they want to avoid a task or are faced with an unpleasant project. For example, you might focus on a task that's due in a week rather than a sales call that you need to get through within the day.
Instead of performing the unpleasant task and getting it out of the way, you create an unnecessary urgent situation, and that can be a waste of your time and energy. You'll have to perform that unpleasant task eventually, so the zone of delusion only messes with your schedule.
Area of Demand
This is the zone dedicated to tasks you actually need to do. It's usually divided into urgent and important tasks. Important tasks are scheduled in advance so you know how much time and effort they might take. You plan your day around these tasks and manage the time accordingly.
Urgent situations pop up unexpectedly and rattle your schedule. You need to move things around to fit these tasks into your area of demand and arrange other tasks accordingly.
Once you identify these zones, you'll have a better time organising your schedule and saving both time and money.
About the Author
Ben Fewtrell is a sought-after Business Coach, Keynote Speaker and trainer who has featured in Virgin’s Inflight Magazine and Entertainment Portal, SKY Business and “Secrets of Top Business Builders Exposed”. He is also the host of the popular Business Brain Food Podcast where he interviews leading experts on anything and everything business.