Glenford Smith, Career Writer
There is a popular aphorism in business which says time is money. Let's correct that here: Time is much more valuable than money.
Time is life. You can always get more money, but once you run out of time, that's it for you. Ask the late billionaire CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs.
Benjamin Franklin once said: "Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that's the stuff life is made of."
That's sage advice. To follow it requires that you ask the question: How can I optimise my time at work, and in life generally? In other words, how can you get more important things done in less time.
Now, you're certain to come up with a few answers to that question. You'll find though, that ultimately the answer comes down to this: To get more of the important things done in less time, you need to give yourself less time within which to get it done.
Have you ever had to finish a report under the pressure of a pressing deadline at work? Did you ever have to cram overnight for an exam next day, which you were woefully unprepared for?
Did you notice something interesting, that you somehow were more focused? That somehow you finished the work report in record time, and covered more in one night of concentrated study than a week of unfocused 'reading'?
Well, if that has been your experience, it's time to use this observation as a conscious strategy to explode your productivity at work. This could mean a lot more money and discretionary time for you.
Also, as a super producer, you'll enjoy greater respect from colleagues and superiors and be more influential.
There's a very important law which represents the phenomenon just described. It's called Parkinson's Law, and states: 'Work will expand to fill the time available for its completion'.
This law was named after C. Northcote Parkinson, a British naval historian and author who first formalised this observation.
To revolutionise your productivity using this law requires three things.
First, decide on your priority goal.
Second, give yourself a timeframe for when to start and finish. You should give yourself a time which will require that you hustle, that you are under some stress, without being unrealistic.
Then finally, exercise your willpower to discipline yourself to do your task within that time, without distractions. This will require practice and persistence at first.
Procrastination is the great enemy of human productivity and success at work and in life. That's because success comes down to achieving goals, and procrastination is what prevents goal achievement.
As Brian Tracy, author of Maximum Achievement, wrote: "Success is goals; all else is commentary."
One important element in the popular SMART goal-setting acronym is the 'T', which stands for 'Time-bound'.
This means that you need to set deadlines and timeframes for your goals. The real secret however, is to practise giving yourself less time.
It may seem counterintuitive, but you'll discover that you get more of the important things done, when you give yourself less time to do them.
Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of a new book, 'From Problems to Power: How to Win Over Worry, and Turn Your Obstacles into Opportunities'. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org