I would like to talk to you today about an area where I struggle the most.  If you’ve been wondering why you work so hard and still haven’t hit that big score, this lesson may be particularly applicable to you. 

We all know at least one wheeler dealer, don’t we?  It’s the person who has seven different projects going, all of which have unlimited potential – at least to hear them tell it.  

These people face two significant dangers.  The first is that they will get multiple opportunities started and then fail to finish them or take longer to get them done than reasonable.  This means that very little or no value is created in the process.  This can lead to damaging the relationships that brought them the opportunity.  In the project management world, we call this overpromising and under-delivering.

The second danger they face is that they do create value and kill themselves getting everything done to the expectation of others. Unfortunately, those “others” capture the greatest value portion.  

Both of these situations lead us to a condition where we are overworked and underpaid.  The driving reason that we get into this situation is that we have a desire to feel important and needed or we lack the courage to say no.

Failing to say no to the good things prevents you from being able to do the great things.  Since you have a finite amount of time, you have to monitor it to ensure that your core values are not being sacrificed for something less important.  I’m not saying that you have to turn down the opportunity.  I’m saying that if you’re going to take on multiple opportunities, then you have to learn how to utilize other resources.  Combining focused effort with multitasking is a system of prioritization and scheduling.  Remember, unless you create a mechanism that perpetually creates value, you cannot create a lifestyle that perpetually produces pleasure.

In order to make scheduling and prioritizing make sense, we have to talk about freedom.  Seeking to obtain wealth is ultimately about freedom.  We want the freedom to pursue the activities that make us happiest.  We want the freedom to spend our time at our own discretion. We want the freedom to express the ideas that mean the most to us.  In the economy of life, time and money are interchangeable.  When we are born into this world, the only commodities we have are our time, our mind, and our bodies.  How we allocate these resources determines our quality of life.  Since the body can only contribute so much, most of us are left with trying to optimize our time and our mind.  To do this we must first train our minds to recognize temporary self-sacrifice.  This is the key to developing long-term or repeatable value.   

Time management is very much like money management.  You can spend your time or money on creating short-term pleasures, but this is a consumption mentality.  True wealth builders invest a substantial portion of their money in assets that create future wealth.  The same is true with their time.  Wealth builders invest their time in ways that produce future benefits.  Some examples that you can borrow from wealth builders include:

  1. Training and educating others so you can delegate tasks,
  2. Building formal, social, referral, and business networks,
  3. Creating mechanisms and processes to replace repetitive tasks,
  4. Recording and documenting knowledge to prevent you from having to answer the same questions over and over again, and
  5. Educating yourself in the critical skill sets for your wealth-building strategy.