** Originally Published on www.theentrepreneurnotes.com**
When I read my first book on productivity, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey (http://www.amazon.com/Habits-Highly-Effective-People/dp/0743269519/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1247861976&sr=8-1) I had no understanding on the need to be productive, nor did I understood the importance of productivity, I read it because someone recommend me the book, and told me that the book will have the opportunity to influence my life and change it forever. That person was right, and I am grateful for that.
Since then I have read many books on productivity,I have learn a lot about productivity over the years, have learn to appreciate productivity, have been on times more or less productive, and have understand the reason why I am productive, and the reason I strive for productivity, including, increase my quality of life.
When I began reading about productivity, I did not understood the value or the cost of productivity, forget about the fact, that I though I could afford to be unproductive. Sadly people don’t know how expensive is to be unproductive, people think that being productive is too much work, and maybe they are right, but the cost of being unproductive is so high that only a few people can afford it.
After you get to certain level on your professional career or your business, but specially in your business, time is the only asset you can never get back, and learn to use that time wisely is the only way to improve. Spend the time and resources need it to learn about productivity and be highly productive, is a cost you cannot afford not to spend, learn your peak times, your valleys, the time that the best you can do is close your eyes for 15 minutes, the time that go into a meeting is simply a bad idea, learn how to maximize the little time you have is more essential that anything else. For this reason people look into GTD Systems, TimeDesign, 7 Habits of the Highly Effective People, and many more, is to learn to manage time, and learn to identify how to maximize the little time we have, to learn to reduce the unproductive time cost.
The problem with productivity is that people do not understand it, people think to be productive is too much work and too expensive, they think they are too busy to be productive, the hidden cost of being unproductively is hiding from them, they think they are too busy to stop and think, from people that just have no understanding and knowledge about productivity at all, I often ask myself, how can they afford not to be productive, I know I can’t.
I am amaze by the people that measure their time in hours. If you are measuring your time in hours, you better be invoicing per hour, otherwise, you are loosing your time. I am not saying every job should be billed by hour, but if your job is to produce the biggest output per hour, you need to find ways to maximize those hours, not to measure them.
Last week, I was working with someone without a computer, when I ask about some information that I need they told me that their technician was fixing their computer, in shock, I ask since when, he had 2 days waiting for it. I was in shock, this person cost per hour will buy a new laptop, the expenses of two days down, I really don’t want to see that invoice, and he has no clue about that invoice, I even ask why he did not have a backup machine, the answer, I do not need it, my computer is a really good one.
In 2007 my laptop died on a friday afternoon, with a really important presentation on Monday, with a costumer outside of the office. I went a bough a new computer, that friday afternoon, I did not had the time to fix it, I went an got a $399 netbook and was up and running in less than 2 hours. Later I fix my laptop, I simply did not have the time to fix that and I could not afford not to have a computer to do my job. There are times that the best you can do, is let things go, there is no need to push for a lost cause.
The problem when you can’t understand that time is your most important resource, is that you can waste it, you will waste it.
Over the years I have developed a Do Not Do List, and I have talk about it before (http://theentrepreneurnotes.com/2009/07/08/the-do-not-do-list/) more than anything to avoid mistakes I have made in the past, like came to the office after a 12 hour trip. What I was thinking?,correctly I was not thinking, I was to tired for that, but I went to the office and sit there for ninety minutes, looking at the screen, trying to do the expense report, the only thing my brain was able to do after that plane trip. I waste 90 minutes that I will have never get back.
You need to let the trees go, and see the forest, if the computer die, stop focusing on the computer down and focus on how you will get back a soon as possible, worry about details later.
Do you have a more important resource than time? What is your story, on a time waster situation and how you bounce back.