Time-squanderers

18th August 2021

“Garry, the podcasts you recommended sound great... Are they just for inspiration or do you actually learn anything from them?”

One of my subscribers, Lee, sent me that question last week after I shared a list of podcasts I really enjoy. (If you missed the email, you can see my list right here.)
How to Fail with Elizabeth Day | A Bit of Optimism by Simon Sinek | Slo Mo with Mo Gawdat | The Delta Flyers.

It’s a great one, because many of the podcasts I listen to are about finding meaning, happiness and fulfilment.

But they’re also mostly conversations with some of the highest achieving people on the planet. And so they’re full of leadership tips, and insights into how the top of the top think.

If you want to be the best, model yourself on the best.

Sometimes little things they say just jump out at you. I was listening to a podcast a few months ago which actually made me change my behaviour...

...One of the guests said that they were ruthless about identifying “time squanderers” in their life - things you do that take up way too much time while producing relatively small results - and eliminating them.

They challenged the listeners to go away and think about the things you do every day that consume huge amounts of time, and find ways to do them more efficiently.

As I listened to this, two things occurred to me...

  • I loved the phrase “time squanderers”. Something about it really resonated with me and it’s stuck ever since.

  • This isn’t exactly original advice, but the difference is that the high achievers actually do it!!

This thought inspired me to examine what sucks up my own time.

There’s no shortage... The truth is that I’m one of the most predictable people on the planet - a creature of routine, habit and order. (I’m an accountant, it’s not exactly surprising!)

One of the biggest issues I identified was dealing with email. Like most people, I face a deluge of messages during the day and there’s a lot of pressure to answer everything right now - constantly interrupting my work.

I immediately tightened up the rules I had about what makes it to my main Inbox, what gets labelled “leave until later” and what goes straight to Spam. I’ve also freed myself up mentally from pressure to reply to non-urgent emails “by return”.

Stricter filtering means that non-urgent emails never make it to my Inbox so I am less distracted during my work day. And I can still read all those emails at my leisure. We’ve done the same thing in our business - for example, templatising some of the documents we use again and again so we no longer have to write them from scratch each time.

Becoming more efficient is part of the process of creating a more mature, well-run business.

What about you? What are the time-squanderers in your life - and your company - and what are you going to do about them?

Warmly,

Garry

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