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You Can't Buy Time

Warren Buffett, once in a roundtable several years ago, prescribed:

"It's the only thing you can't buy. I mean, I can buy anything I want basically but I can't buy time.”

In school, I had no problem getting my homework done, because most days I got my homework done before I got home. I've taken the same approach in my career, where I pride myself on handling all small tasks as they come, in order to free space for bigger items, fire drills, strategic thinking, and most importantly, more time with my family.

Earlier in my career, there were times I've felt bad, watching others playing “catch up” instead of “kept up.” But not anymore, as everyone has the choice as to how to manage their time.

Though there is no “one size fits all” in productivity, I disagree with the notion of avoiding phone or inbox for hours on end, as is often prescribed by writers on LinkedIn, Harvard Business Review, et al. I struggle to believe that these writers are fielding hundreds of unscheduled touch points, most requiring a return call or email; this, of course, on top of a calendar that stays fairly booked.

You don’t do this through multi-tasking, but rather the exact opposite idea of single-tasking small tasks as they come. This allows for focused blocks of time for critical tasks, with a full mental capacity at your disposal, versus knowing you also have many small tasks to also do (and to thus think about) while attacking the critical tasks without a clear mind.

Two closing thoughts:

-- You cannot want someone to get their workload in order more than they want to get their workload in order.

-- You cannot feel guilty that, due to effective management of your time, you fit more quality work in to the day than others.


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