Viewpoint: Time Is Money

Rob Voorhees
(Image credit: Future)

How often do you find yourself saying "I just don't have the time" when trying to explain why you aren't doing something? I'll admit I have used this line many times. However, only recently have I educated myself on how to break out of the cycle.

Time is a resource for all of us. No matter what you do for a career or what your personal responsibilities are, time is one of the most valuable assets you have. It is our duty, and ours alone, to allocate that asset as we see fit.

[The Nine: Rob Voorhees]

It's not a lack of time we have; rather, we make time for things we deem as important to us. Even when it's something we might not enjoy doing, it is possible for that task to still be important enough that we dedicate time toward it.

For example, do we enjoy taking time off from work to take a sick child to the doctors? No, I do not enjoy that in the least, but I will always do it because the task is important to me. The same can be said for portions of my career in Pro AV.

In 2019, when I was studying to take the CTS, do you think I enjoyed spending my weekends with a textbook and study guides instead of being outside with my family? Of course not. However, I determined that the CTS was important enough that it warranted the time and effort to study, take, and pass.

What I notice is the frequency of which people will say, "I don't have the time" or "I'm so swamped" or even "I always work so late." I'm not saying those aren't viable reasons, because they can be, but I'd like to present you with three ways I have been able to "add" time to my days—while also keeping a clear mind for what's important.

Avoid Insanity

We all know the definition of insanity at this point. You cannot continue on the same path while expecting some great change to happen. That would be insane, right?

One of the biggest changes that I made to my own life was my schedule. I read that actor Mark Wahlberg wakes up at around 3 a.m. every day. He uses the early morning quiet time for prayer, working out, and setting the stage for the busy day ahead. However, he also noted that he goes to bed earlier, so he is still getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night.

He adapted his schedule to achieve his goals—and that is precisely why I enjoy going to bed early, waking up early, and generally being at my desk by 6 a.m. most days. I'm a self-proclaimed early bird and I truly believe that I get the worm!

[On Your Business: Technology Isn't Enough]

Don't worry, I'll never call someone that early, but I definitely knock out the bulk of my emails, reports, and call prep before my daughters even wake up. This allows me to spend my typical workday focused on phone calls, videoconferences, customer visits, etc. You have to be open and willing to change if you expect to see different results.

Reassign Priorities

I am a fantasy football junkie, and one facet of the game is to constantly monitor the waiver wire. This is where you find "free agents" and players that may have been dropped by other teams.

It's always exciting to snag a player who you think could turn the tables for your season. In fantasy football, you can assign a priority number to each waiver move you are trying to make. If there is a big-name player on waivers, I might assign him the top priority, so I have a better chance of grabbing him.

[Editorial: Celebrate Your Corporate Rituals]

Our careers and personal lives aren't much different. In our heads, we assign priority numbers to our responsibilities and tasks. Unfortunately, whatever comes in last is usually what doesn't get done.

Think about the CTS, for example. Why aren't you taking it? Studying for it is a great first step, but what other priorities are occupying a higher number for you? Maybe it's your kid's schedule, work travel, or even your social calendar. If you make the CTS (or anything else for that matter) a higher priority, it'll get done. For those that say, "I haven't taken it because I haven't had the time," you are really saying, "I haven't taken it because it is not my top priority."

Organization Over Everything

I am here to tell you that I hate organizers, those tiny books that are supposed to house your entire life. I've fallen into the trap before—I buy one because I assure myself this will be the gamechanger. It never is.

In our heads, we assign priority numbers to our responsibilities and tasks. Unfortunately, whatever comes in last is usually what doesn't get done.

I stay organized in many different ways. My Outlook calendar contains everything, from my daughter's volleyball schedule to my bill payment schedule. I choose to use Outlook (and my trusty iPhone) as my organizer in one sense of the word.

Outside of that, my organization stems from a combination of my schedule and my priorities. Waking up earlier allows me the quiet time to review my tasks for the day, while prioritizing those tasks helps me get them done orderly and organized. On my worst days, where I feel as though my plate is overflowing, I delegate.

Don't ever be ashamed of asking for help. I once attended a job interview when I was first starting to break into sales. The interviewer asked how I would react if faced with a deadline that I simply could not meet. I said I would always find a way to do the job—because in my mind, asking for help was a sign of weakness.

[Viewpoint: The Burden of Burnout]

Yeah, I was extremely "green" back in those days. Asking for help from your colleagues or superiors shows that you are willing to work as a team, but also that you value the task enough that you are exhausting all options to complete it. Never feel as though you are "swamped," because there is always a way out of that mindset.

I hope these three steps resonate with you enough that you may be able to identify and possibly even change some of your own personal time traps. Managing your time is always a work in progress, but whether it's a certification or a new career move, there is always time to achieve it.

Rob Voorhees

Rob Voorhees is a business development manager for Exertis Almo.