Do You Protect Your Most Precious Asset?
Randy Wolken, President & CEO

We spend a great deal of time and money protecting our assets. We lock up our valuables and go to great lengths to preserve them. We insure our cars, homes, and businesses. We practice safety at home and at work. But, do we protect the most precious of all assets – our time?

What is the one thing that once it is gone can never be replaced? Our time. However, do we protect it and use it as the rare asset that it is? Most of us do not, however smart leaders know this and go to extraordinary efforts to plan for its use, protect it from being wasted, and evaluate how it was used. Use your time well and you will have a full and successful life.

Did you know that only about a third of people actually plan their days? A study of individuals determined that on a typical day, two-thirds of the participants had no actual plan for the day. Which means that it was mostly subject to the wants and needs of others. As Zig Ziglar, the famous salesman, said, “If you don’t plan your time, someone else will help you waste it.” Having a plan each day is a very good investment.

Throughout our days, it is also a good investment for us to be wary of unnecessary distractions. Having a schedule for how we will use our time prevents us from getting sidetracked. I like to think of having two options: distraction or traction. Using our time wisely and as planned helps us gain traction. Not using our time wisely or as unplanned is usually due to distraction. To be distracted, you must be pulled away from traction. This is why having a plan for your time is so important. A plan to look at email, surf the web, or watch tv is not a distraction if it is planned. It is time away from work. However, if it is taking the place of planned work, and done instead of the work, then it is a distraction. Plan for traction and avoid distractions whenever you can. I share this with one caveat—sometimes unplanned action is the best action and not a distraction at all, especially when it is helping someone. In those moments, I definitely take unplanned action and often get the best traction and outcomes possible!

The final way to best use time is to evaluate your day after you live it. Then you can learn how best to live your life going forward. Doing so allows us to congratulate ourselves on our good use of time and the outcomes we have achieved and learn from our mistakes when we didn’t use our time in the best way. We need to do this so we not only get better over time but so we can feel good about ourselves. This gives us the energy we need to do it again tomorrow!

Do you protect your most precious asset, your time? Do you encourage others to protect their most important asset as well? Do you plan your day, avoid distractions, and evaluate your day to get better and feel good about it? These actions can go a long way in helping us be the best leaders we can be and use our time wisely.