Time is a commodity. Many would argue that it’s the world’s most valuable commodity. But there are a lot of misconceptions about time. One of the biggest misconceptions is that you can somehow save time. But the truth is, you can only spend it. There is no way to get it back once it’s gone, and you can’t store it anywhere. But, you can create more time, and I’m going to show you how.
I have spent a lot of time -- pun intended -- studying billionaires like Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey, Mark Cuban, Elon Musk and Warren Buffet, amongst others. They all have a similar line of thinking when it comes to this magical four letter word.
Time is something that most people mismanage, waste and abuse. But time is the one thing that is going to get you closer to the billionaire entrepreneur’s club if you can master it. Here are five things you need to know about time.
1. Distraction is time lost.
First and foremost, focus is the name of the game for all of the billionaire entrepreneurs that I’ve studied and met. Distraction means you are losing time or spending it unwisely.
For instance, distraction happens the minute you open your Facebook feed and aimlessly scroll through. Before you know it, you are three viral videos deep and researching something that is completely unrelated to your goal.
Buffett has a great method of coming up with your most important goal. He tells people to list the 25 most important things they want to do in their life. He asks them to review each goal, and choose the five most crucial ones. Most people want to do the five main goals while sometimes working on the other 20. But Buffett insists that the other 20 are your “avoid at all costs” list until the first five are completed.
2. Writing your goals down increases chances of success by 42 percent.
Goals are extremely important. You have to know what you are fighting for or you’ve already lost. If there was a way to wave a magic wand and reprogram your brain to be more productive and effective, this would be it.
According to John Assaraf, author of The Secret and Neurogym, goals are 42 percent more likely to be achieved if you simply write them down. Once you have your goals written down, they become much more real. One of the biggest problems entrepreneurs face is not knowing where to focus their energy. They are trying to accomplish 100 things at once, instead of focusing on specific goals.
So you know what you need to do, you have your most important goals in hand, you aren’t distracted, but you still just don’t have enough time to do everything you want to do. What next?
3. Empower others by allowing them to take responsibility.
This can be one of the hardest to actually execute, but it is extremely important. If you are a one-man or one-woman show, you are always only going to only have 24 hours in a day. But, if you can hire even one additional person, you now have 48 hours in a day. And this obviously multiplies with every person you add. You could get five to seven productive hours out of each person you hire, on average.
The big question is -- how do you get employees to stay with you? The iconic saying from Branson sums that up very clearly. “Train people well enough so they can leave. Treat them well enough so that they don’t want to.”
4. Utilize technology instead of people.
People aren’t always the answer. Often times, it’s easier to utilize technology instead of people. Automation is something that works in all sorts of businesses. But before you implement automation, you need to make sure your system is working efficiently, or you could turn a small problem into a big problem.
“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.” -- Bill Gates
Related: 25 Best Habits to Have in Life
5. Don’t be afraid to be a contrarian.
Billionaires and wildly successful people are known to not follow the rules. For every one rule, there is a billionaire out there breaking it.
Case in point -- Gates is notorious for reading emails one at a time on a dedicated monitor, with nothing else on the monitor and zero distractions. Musk, on the other hand, who is the CEO of Tesla Motors, SpaceX and Chairman of SolarCity, is notorious for reading and replying to emails while having a meeting or call at the same time.