Getting more done with Non-Negotiable time

I get a lot done. At least relatively speaking. And based on what many people tell me after I let them know what I’ve been up to. Whether it be being a catalyst, speaking engagements, helping job seekers, writing a book, building an app, planning to start a school, etc. I don’t say this to brag, but to suggest that you could do as much, if you wanted to. I started by defining what I call non-negotiable time. Here what non-negotiable time is: consistently scheduled time for personal professional development that cannot be used for anything else
And here’s some attributes for non negotiable time:
  • consistently scheduled time: I recommend starting with 1 hour a week. Put the time in your calendar. Include all of the appropriate reminders if you need to. I recommend Sunday evenings 8-9 or an hour around then. Then add 15 minutes to your Monday routine. To Tuesday. And so on. Get the Sunday time up to 2 hrs. The weekday time to 30 min, a full hour.
  • for personal professional development: if you’re a student replace work with school. Profession with degree. Personal professional is NOT stuff you didn’t finish at work. It may be related to your work and profession but not related to work. during this time complete the tasks on your personal to-do list related to your professional development that are important but not urgent. Reading that book. Researching that stuff you’ve always wanted to try. Messaging that new person you hope to speak to. That old colleague you’ve lost touch with. Tasks need to be proactive, not reactive. You can send as many messages as you can BUT cannot reply to any.
  • that cannot be used for anything else: favourite show on TV? Cannot! Friends want to go out for drinks? Sorry cannot. Want a snack? Cannot. Need to go to the bathroom? Cannot (come on you’re an adult, go before or after).

Why is non-negotiable time so impactful?

Why? I use the analogy of compound interest. Save a bit of money now, and interest over time exponentially increases the value. The changes seem small and negligible at first, and eventually start growth starts at an amazing pace.
Also, when investing in yourself, you’re increasing your value. Most people incorrectly assume that you get raises for being at a place longer. The reality is that time is a proxy for how much more you know. doing 1 hour of non-negotiable time for a year gets you over 2 person work months of extra growth and value more than someone without. For those math inclined that’s 1hr/day x 365 days / 40 hr work week/4 weeks in a month to get to over 2 months which over the year is over 15%. Imagine getting that type of raise year over year!
Believe me, adding this small change can do wonders for your sense of accomplishment. Start small with blocking off an hour a week. Or start big and block of half or a whole day. Try it yourself for 10 days and see how much you get done.

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