Why does it always seem like there’s too much to do in too little time?
We all have just 24 hours in a day. And yet, why are there some people easily able to juggle a full-time job, build their side hustles, and enjoy quality time with family and friends without breaking a sweat while others can barely find the time to do anything besides work and sleep?
The secret lies in time leverage. Having enough time isn’t about working harder, but rather working smarter and more intentionally making decisions to optimize your life.
If you want to know how to leverage time to achieve your personal, financial, and career goals without feeling burnt out and utterly exhausted doing so, read on as I’m going to show you how!
What Is Time Leverage?
Before diving into how to incorporate time leverage into your busy life, it’s essential to have a firm grasp of what time leverage means.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary,
Leverage is defined as “the action of a lever or the mechanical advantage gained by it”.
In other words, leverage involves using resources to gain an “advantage”, such as achieving your goals more efficiently.
Time is arguably the scarcest resource. Understanding that time is finite and that you are in control of how you use your time are fundamental principles of using time leverage to optimize your life.
Time leverage involves achieving the most significant result with the least possible effort.
Time leverage does not mean working 12 plus hours a day, 7 days a week, and risking your physical and mental health to achieve your goals.
Rather, learning how to leverage time allows you to still achieve those same goals as if you were working all day and night, except you don’t have to feel constantly overworked, stressed, and overwhelmed.
This is because time leverage involves using other people’s time to delegate tasks they can do for you and/or using technology and the power of automation to work smarter, not harder.
There’s only so much time you have on any given day; therefore, there’s only so much you can achieve all on your own per day. However, by using others’ time and taking advantage of technology to automate your life, you’ll be able to achieve your goals more efficiently, without needing to compromise your health and well-being.
Time leverage boosts your productivity by being able to delegate lower-level tasks (i.e. responding to emails, cleaning your home, even walking your dog) to other people who are also able to do those same tasks for you at a given rate.
While delegating these lower-level tasks does come at a cost, the amount of time you gain back will allow you to devote more undivided attention to higher-level tasks and even personal commitments/opportunities that can significantly improve your personal life and professional career (i.e. developing a business strategy, better managing your staff, presenting at a conference, spending quality time with loved ones).
Some of the most successful people of our generation, Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk, even use the power of time leverage to successfully run and scale their companies by intentionally delegating tasks to the right people to effectively grow their businesses.
While you may not be running a multi-billion dollar company, if you are an entrepreneur and can offload some tasks to the right people, this can not only help you achieve your goals more efficiently, but ensure you don’t burn out or have to compromise quality time with friends and family to accomplish your goals.
How to Leverage Time to Boost Productivity
If you are curious about how to leverage time to achieve goals more efficiently in your life, consider:
- leveraging your own time
- leveraging other people’s time.
Being self-aware of where you are in terms of how you can successfully leverage your time is important. If you are just starting your business, you may not have as much money and resources to leverage other people’s time to grow your business quite yet. However, you can still leverage your own time to effectively grow your business.
Likewise, you can only grow your business so much all on your own, even with time leverage, until you reach a point where leveraging others’ time can be extremely beneficial.
Learn how to increase your productivity and results by leveraging both your own time and the time of others:
Leverage Your Own Time
While we all have limited time, that doesn’t mean there aren’t effective ways to leverage your own time to achieve your goals efficiently. Use these three tips to help leverage your own time more effectively.
1. Setting SMARTer Goals
One of the most important ways to leverage your own time is defining what your goals are and devising a concrete plan as to how you are going to achieve those specific goals.
You’ve probably heard of SMART goals, but what about SMARTer goals?
Many people fail to achieve their goals because they may not truly understand why they want to achieve certain goals. Understanding why you want to achieve certain goals can help you make the distinction between what you want (your perceived goal) vs the purpose behind the goal you are setting. This way you can make adjustments to your goals to ensure they actually align with the purpose behind the goal. This is also what makes a SMARTer goal.
Sometimes it can be tricky to understand your truest desires and intentions behind a particular goal. If this is the case, consider using the 5 Whys Framework to gain a better understanding as to why you may have your goal in the first place.
Once you understand your “why” behind your goals, it’s time to work towards setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound) goals that align with your purpose, while also giving you a sense of accountability to successfully accomplish these goals.
Setting specific goals is just one of the five factors that make up the SMART goal system. One prime example of why setting clear goals is important is Edwin Locke’s goal-setting theory. The goal-setting theory refers to the power of setting goals in improving overall performance in that those who set specific, more difficult goals are more likely to achieve those goals compared to individuals who set more general, easier goals.
Want to learn more about how to set smarter goals and accomplish them? Read “Achieving Goals: The Ultimate Guide to Goal Achieving & Goal Setting”.
Prioritizing your time is another way to leverage your own time. Prioritizing involves focusing more of your time and energy on meaningful, important tasks, and spending less time on small, less meaningful tasks.
Therefore, it’s essential to understand the distinction between tasks that are important vs not as important. Rather than completing all your tasks at random, be sure to grade the value of each task first. This way you can then start and intentionally dedicate the most time to these more valuable tasks first, and work your way down.
To learn more about all things prioritization, read “The Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work and Life”.
3. Use Technology and Automation
In today’s digital age, there are countless ways to use technology to leverage your time and automate your routines that would otherwise take up valuable time out of your day.
You’d be surprised to learn all the different processes and routines you consistently do that can easily be automated to do more in less time.
A variety of automation software today provides the ability to uniquely customize, automate, and then execute rather mundane tasks that don’t need much human assistance or guidance.
Top automation tools that can be used to more efficiently complete day-to-day tasks include:
You can find more time management tools in 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools.
Leverage Others’ Time
There comes a point where you can only do so much to leverage your own time before needing to hire out help. While leveraging others’ time can be an excellent way to achieve your goals faster, it can also be disastrous if you don’t take the time to find the right people to delegate your tasks to.
Here are some helpful tips on how to leverage others’ time to accomplish your goals more efficiently by working with the right people.
1. Develop Clear Guidelines and Plans
Setting a simple yet comprehensive guideline for your team upfront can save you time and plenty of headaches down the road. It’s essential you lay out to the individuals you are off-loading your tasks to 1) what they need to do, 2) when they need to do it, and 3) how they can go about achieving these tasks to meet your standards.
While some tasks such as sending out emails can be as simple as constructing an email template for your new hires to follow, other tasks such as analyzing data for your business or creating content to grow your business may not be as straightforward.
This is where creating a comprehensive guide for your team to follow is of utmost importance. Not only will this save you time in the long run so your team won’t constantly have to ask you questions to understand how to do the task effectively, but this will ensure the work your team does meets your expectations.
Therefore, setting clear guidelines and plans for your team to follow upfront helps your entire team work efficiently. This way your team has all the right resources and tools at their disposal to effectively solve problems and create quality work, without having to rely on you.
For more complex tasks that may confuse your team, consider creating training videos that run through the process from start to finish you’d like your team to complete. This way the individual can rewatch the video time and time again, and if they are still confused, reach out to you for guidance.
While delegating tasks may sound scary, it is essential to effectively boost your productivity and achieve your goals. However, you must be building the right team to delegate your tasks to. Failure to find the right individual(s) to delegate your tasks to can be detrimental and negatively impact your progress toward achieving your personal and professional goals.
Some important delegation rules to remember include:
- Identifying the right person(s) to complete certain tasks. For example, if one person is exceptional at creating and organizing data within Excel, delegate such data-related tasks to that individual.
- Be specific and clear about expectations on how to complete the task effectively. However, resist the urge to micromanage as this will hurt your employees’ performance and productivity.
- Provide support when needed to ensure your employee has all the resources and information necessary to complete their tasks.
Read my article “How to Start Delegating Tasks Effectively (Step-by-Step Guide)” to learn more about how to delegate your tasks the right way.
3. Bring in Experts and Consultants
Some things are best left to the experts. Introducing experts and consultants can be a great way to fill knowledge, skills, and experience gaps in your current team that may be hurting your business’s ability to do its best work as efficiently as possible.
Experts can not only maximize your business’s performance, but bring in new ideas, perspectives, and backgrounds to excel your business.
Time is limited; however, time leverage can significantly improve the quality of your outcomes, help you achieve your goals more efficiently, without constantly feeling burnt out and overwhelmed.
Learning how to leverage time in leveraging your own time and leveraging other people’s time is important to reach your goals more efficiently, without having to compromise your health or the quality of your work.
If you’ve been looking for ways to either take your business to the next level or are simply looking to find more balance in your day to build both your professional and personal life, try to leverage your time.
By being intentional with how you use your time and following the above ways to leverage your time, you can more effectively reach your goals without feeling stressed, exhausted, and pressured to sacrifice quality time with loved ones in the process.
Don’t have time for the full article? Read this.
Time leverage involves achieving the most significant result with the least possible effort.
Time leverage involves using other people’s time to delegate tasks they can do for you and/or using technology and the power of automation to work smarter, not harder.
You can boost productivity by leveraging your own time and leveraging other people’s time.
To leverage other people’s time, develop clar guidelines and plan, learn how to delegate effectively, and bring in experts and consultants to assist your work.
Featured photo credit: Ken Lawrence via unsplash.com
|Merriam-Webster Dictionary: Leverage
|Freakonomics: Mark Zuckerberg Full Interview
|The New York Times: Elon Musk’s Interview
|Locke, Edwin A.: The development of goal setting theory: A half century retrospective.
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