What does it mean when we say time is the most valuable commodity? It means understanding how you use every hour and every minute as an investment decision.

Budget time like a world champion

You probably shouldn’t plan on sleeping only three hours per night like Donald Trump, or working until 3am every morning like Picasso. But you should definitely realise the value of sleep compared to time, and organise and automate your schedule and tasks to the maximum extent your job (and life) allow.

You’re also unlikely to have a team on standby to wake you if something is urgent enough to deserve your attention at 2:30am like Barack Obama – but that doesn’t mean you can’t set reminders to follow up on crucial items when your morning alarm does sound. That way you’re ahead of the day before you put on your slippers!

Set your own goals

This is one of the secrets the self-help books skip over: in order to set your own goals, you first have to make time that is truly your own.

Tim Maurer, in his excellent book Simple Money, writes “the key is not to embrace someone else’s time management strategy, even if it has worked for them, but to customize your own strategy in a way that will work for you”. This makes perfect sense – if time is the most valuable commodity, then of course it is worthwhile developing a personally customised system to manage yours!

Automate to excel

There are many amazing choices out there for automating time-tracking. In the context of tracking personal time (whether around a full-time career, or integrated with it, but separate from “boss-tasks”) a stand-out is Trello. Using Trello, or one of the many similar apps such as Wrike or Taskworld, is a visual experience, much more intuitive and fun than laboriously maintaining multiple to-do lists and calendars. Trello boards integrate well with other tools, and it’s intuitive to assign tasks and pick up tasks assigned by others.

Once your time management is on track, focus on reclaiming the dead time spent dealing with your personal admin. This often includes tasks like book-keeping and dealing with endless bills – work with a financial adviser (if needed) to set your financial strategy; then outsource the details to Bill Butler who will set up and maintain your customised plan. Now you have outsourced the work all you have to do is sit back and relax in the knowledge your plan is being followed and monitored by the experts. Let your Butler deal with the details.

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Jay Stephens

Jay Stephens

Jay began his career in London with Rabobank, CLS bank and a Lloyd’s of London syndicate. Jay’s work has spanned corporate communications, content editing, newspaper articles, courseware, blogging, policy drafting, technical writing, and a regular crossword. He is passionate about 8-bit tunes, self-improvement, and the Oxford comma.