What is your opportunity cost? (2/3)

Anyone have too much time?

Time for the second section in learning to manage your time better!

Opportunity Cost

Remember learning about opportunity cost in your economics class? Well, it’s time for a refresher. The concept behind this term is basically that you can’t have it all. Your time is limited. This means you have to decide what you’re going to do and what you’ll have to sacrifice.  In order to make these decisions, you need to know which options are most important. If you choose to accomplish the most important task of all, the next best alternative will not be completed, and that is your opportunity cost.

You can never get time back, so make sure you use it wisely. Think about how much your time is worth. How much is one minute of your time worth? How many minutes of your day do you waste on activities that don’t ultimately help you accomplish your goals? If you spend an hour working on a task that’s not very valuable, that is one hour of your life that you’ll never get back. And that is incredibly monumental.

Instead of just doing things, ask why you are doing it. What happens if you don’t do it? Be more aware about doing things right vs. doing the right things. You’re about to do something because it’s on your To-Do list, but why is it there?

In a lecture by Professor Randy Pausch, he mentions Lou Holtz, who has a great list of 100 things he wants to do in life. Once a week, Lou would look at the list and ask himself, “If I’m not working on these 100 things, why was I working on the others?” I think that is a really powerful way to think about life. We should all have a list like this.

So, the way to find more time in your life, is learning how to say, “No.” Simple. Do less and you’ll won’t be constantly weighted down by a giant to-do list. Don’t become overloaded with work because you agree to every project or do other people’s work. Learn to delegate effectively and teach others how to do their own work.

Pausch loves to ask himself three questions everyday:

“What am I doing that I could delegate to somebody else?”
“What could I do more efficiently?”
“How am I wasting other people’s time?”

Start asking yourself these questions.

Part three will be about distractions. Stay tuned.


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