How To Multiply Your Time
Self-Discipline Strategist and New York Times bestselling author Rory Vaden electrifies the audience at his TED-Talk called “How to Multiply Your Time.” This is an important topic for many online high school students, especially those looking to take part-time courses online to help catch up or finish school early.
The quest for time management isn’t new. It’s been studied for decades. However, because time, as Vaden professes, marches on with or without us, “there is no such time as time management, really, there is only self-management.” Einstein, who professed that there is no such thing as time, would be proud.
In the 1950s and 60s, the solution for time management was EFFICIENCY: creating tools and developing technology to make our tasks and lives more efficient, so we would have more time. “And yet,” Vaden points out, “There is an unfortunate limitation to efficiency as a strategy for time management, and it’s evidenced very well by the fact that we all carry around miniature computers in our pockets, and yet we’re somehow still never caught up.”
A hundred of you just nodded solemnly in solidarity.
In the late 80s, Steven Covey created a new two-dimensional model for efficiency by creating the “time management matrix… where the x-axis was urgency, and the y-axis was importance.” Essentially, Covey created a system for scoring our tasks to help us PRIORITIZE our time.
Vaden describes prioritizing as “all about focusing first on what matters most.”
Setting and knowing your priorities are a crucial part of success. However, here’s the catch: having priorities doesn’t actually create more time. Vaden describes prioritizing like juggling: “it’s borrowing time from one activity to spend on another.”
Fast forward to today. There is now a new type of thinker-- a third-dimensional thinker called a Multiplier. “While most people only make decisions based on urgency and importance, Multipliers are making a third calculation, which is based on significance.” Vaden describes the Multiplier task model like this:
Urgency- How SOON Does It Matter?
Importance- How MUCH Does It Matter?
Significance- How LONG Does It Matter?
Adding significance to the mix changes everything, because, as Vaden says, “How we choose to spend our time isn’t just logical- it is also emotional.” So, how can we practice this? Here’s the key question Multipliers ask: “What can I do TODAY that will make TOMORROW better?”
“You multiply your time by giving yourself the emotional permission to spend time on things today that will give you more time tomorrow.”
Here’s how you do it: Put your task through this funnel.
ELIMINATE. Can the task be eliminated? This one is where most of us get stuck. We don’t like saying no. Saying no makes us feel guilty. Therefore, we say yes to things even if they don’t hold a strong significance for us.
AUTOMATE. Can I automate the task? Can I create a system today that will save me time tomorrow?
DELEGATE. Can it be delegated? Can I teach someone else to do it? Yes, that person may not be as good as you are (props!) today, but add SIGNIFICANCE (how long does it matter) and by some later tomorrow, they will be. (Sidebar: If any of you figure out how to delegate making breakfast to your pet, videos must be shared immediately.)
For all tasks that make it through this task funnel, you then must ask: Must this task be done now or later? If it must be done now, you’ve given yourself permission to protect that task by eliminating other needless distractions. If it can be done later, you’re practicing what Vaden calls purposeful procrastination: not procrastination in the sense of waiting to do something you really should be doing but don’t want to, procrastination in the sense of making the conscious decision that this task can be done at a later time. If this is the case, the task goes back in the Multiplier’s funnel to be either Eliminated, Automated, Delegated, or Done.
Check out Vaden’s TED-Talk for a more in-depth look at how to multiply your time, as well as to see the models of his theory explained for all you visual learners out there.
Do you have a strategy that helps you save/multiply your time? You’re cordially invited to share with us so we can learn from each other!