I came across a quote the other day from Stephen Covey, the author of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It said “The key is in not spending time, but in investing it”.

It got me thinking about how much we actually invest in our time and how much we just spend it. There is a difference.

We can easily give ourselves a big long ‘to do’ list and then happily spend time being busy while we work our way through it. However, being busy doesn’t mean that we’re being effective. That ‘to do’ list may just contain tasks that we like doing but are not really taking us anywhere. So we are busy but we’re busy on the wrong things.

Obviously if you’re running your own business, you could think of this literally by multiplying your hourly rate with the amount of time you spend on non-fee earning projects. This is certainly a good exercise if you’re thinking of outsourcing as it shows you how much some tasks are costing you by doing them yourself.

Investing in your time though is not just about money. It’s also about using the time you have more effectively so you’re focused on doing the right things. These are things that will help you and your business to grow, and which will move you towards your goals and what you want to achieve in life. This can be anything from learning a new skill to getting your business to a level where it can run without you.

So take a look at your ‘to do’ list and see if the tasks on it are important or not. For each task, ask yourself the question: “Would it make any difference to my goals whether I did this task or not?”. If the answer is no, then delete it or at least put it as a low priority.

By investing more of your time rather than just spending it, you will feel less stressed and more fulfilled as you find yourself achieving quicker results in your business and personal life.

About Valerie Eaton

Valerie is the founder and owner of Smart VA who provides virtual PA services to self-employed professionals who are feeling overwhelmed by their workload and want more time to focus on growing their business.

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