Ah, if it were only Edward Cullen cloaked in his pale skin that we would be wrestling with…but instead, today I speak of another type of vampire: of the time variety.
You probably already know what I’m talking about – the all day, vacuous corporate meeting that everyone is required to attend, to the 5 minute phone call that turns into 50 minutes, to getting stuck in traffic and taking double the amount of time to reach your destination. These are all examples of what I call time vampires–they literally suck time right away from you.
Time, as I’ve probably ranted about before here, is the most precious resource we all have. It is more valuable than money, it is more valuable than any gold, silver, or any other commodity I can’t think of off the top of my head this morning. Time is precious because it is finite. Everything else is potentially infinite.
This is why we must watch our time like a hawk – we must carefully try and maximize each fleeting moment to the best of our ability – because it is just that…fleeting! So, here’s a few things I do to try and beat the monster in the time machine:
1. Be ruthless about your calendar – try and block the time you need to get things done – you need down time between appts to actually think through items, so schedule it!
2. If it is a meeting you’re being asked to attend – make sure you really need to be there. If you’re not the decision maker or making decisions in the meeting – why are you having it in the first place?
3. Kick it old school – with the nasty weather, instead of trying to fight mother nature and doubling your time to and from a meeting – just pick up the phone and do a phone meeting. That way, jammies are optional, you still get your work/networking done, but you don’t have to leave home. YAY!
4. Double your work, double your downtime – try taking your laptop to a meeting you are merely observing. Not only can you take notes on it, but you can also crank out a ton of work during the dull moments, or time the content isn’t as relevant to you.
5. NEVER blow off a meeting. If you can, try and reschedule it. As an example, my iPhone had a “upgrade” (of my own doing, mind you) and my calendar was switched to a new platform in the new year. Of course, it LOST a bunch of my appointments. But I’m usually not that careless about my schedule – a backup plan is necessary so that you don’t blow your appointments. OTHER PEOPLE’S TIME is as valuable to them as YOUR TIME is valuable to you.
6. Max your time out in the car – I’m trying to learn Chinese right now – but I only do it in the car. I have Chinese for dummies, on CD! If you don’t/can’t find the time to read, get a book on CD! They are AWESOME, you can actually LEARN while you’re driving, and keep up with the literature. That way at the cocktail party, when someone asks, “Hey, have you read such and such book?” You can reply, “But of course!” They don’t need to know HOW you read it, just that you read it!
So, unless the vampire looks like Rob Pattinson, I’d avoid time vampires altogether. They suck…literally! Instead, figure out how to maximize your time and use it as a power to do more of what you love, whatever that may be. For our time is limited on this earth – so why not focus instead on what we are here to do, what we love to do, and in turn make the world a better place by doing so?