The real cost of television? The answer will surprise you

real-cost-of-televisionHave you ever considered what the real cost of television is and the effect it has on your life?

When you’ve worked hard all day, I’m sure you find it so easy when you arrive home in the evening, to have a bite to eat and then relax in front of the television? You just passively watch whatever’s on offer because it’s your time now, right?

If you’ve worked hard all day you deserve a rest, surely?

Anyway, you’ve got a nice television and it cost you a lot of money, right?

So of course, you want to make the most of it, don’t you?

If you’ve spent all that money, why would you want to waste such a fine piece of technology by not using it? Surely that’s a reasonable argument?

Well, it’s an argument of course but have you ever given serious thought to the real cost of that television to you? How much do you think it really costs?

Now I’m not referring to the price tag in the store when you purchased your television, though even that’s not insignificant.

I’m actually referring to the opportunity cost of the time wasted passively watching television.

Never forget, time is money. And time wasted watching television could have been used doing something that would have been far more profitable for you, in the longer term at least.

Deep down I’m suspect, in your heart, you know that dear reader, don’t you? Nevertheless, knowing and acting on the knowledge you possess are two different things.

real-cost-of-televisionHow often do you hear people say things like, I’d love to earn more money; I’d love to have a better job; I’d love to learn another language; I’d love to learn to play the piano; and so on. Then you’ll hear them say, if only I had the time.

Do you recognise yourself anywhere there, dear reader?

The simple fact is when it comes to time, we all have exactly the same amount, 168 hours each week. It all comes down to how you choose to use and prioritize your time.

Successful people recognise that time is their most precious resource and they use it wisely.

People who succeed have a genuine sense of purpose and they’re very focused on their goals. They know what they want and they have a plan as to how they’ll get it.

Do you have a genuine sense of purpose dear reader?

Have you got a clear idea in terms of where you’re going?

Do you know what it is you want out of life?

Perhaps life is something that’s just happening to you and you’re just going with the flow? That’s an acceptable strategy if you’re willing to accept whatever life dictates.

However you must ask yourself, are you really happy with your life and the share of life’s pie you’ve been given so far or do you want more?

Well, let me tell you this dear reader. For things to improve, you must first learn to use your time wisely.

Remember; time is more important than money because you can always get more money but you can’t get more time.

Secondly, you need a clear sense of direction and your own plan for how you’ll get to where you want to go. Without direction and a plan, you’ll be destined to be used as part of someone else’s plan.

However, that’ll only be for as long as you can serve some useful purpose to them.

Once you no longer serve any purpose to them you’ll cease to be part of their plan. And then you’ll be scratching around looking for another way to earn a living. The world is an unforgiving place, that’s for sure.

Work is just doing stuff for other people in exchange for money.

However, we don’t just get paid for the hour. Our pay is dictated by the value we put into that hour.

The more value we can add the more we’ll earn.

And to add more value we must be increasing our knowledge and skills constantly.

We reap what we sow.

If we fail to reap, we cannot sow.

And how can you reap if you spend your life passively watching television? Time wasted cannot be recovered.

In my experience, we get out of life exactly what we put in. The more we put in the more we’ll get out.

The obvious question is, how can you get more out of life?

If you’re happy to go through life passively watching television but struggling to make a decent living then that’s fine, if that’s what you want. Just keep doing what you’re doing. Waste as much of your time as you like.

However, if you want more than that then it’s time to start designing the life you want and avoiding time-wasters like television.

It’s time to decide where you’re going; what you want out of life; and it’s time to develop your own plan for success. And above all, it’s time to stop wasting your time.

You can be a winner. Anybody can.

However, it does require some effort on your part and a clear sense of direction though. That’s a given.

A great source of inspiration:

And if you’re really going to be a winner, in addition to using your time wisely, you’ll also need a constant source of inspiration to keep you motivated.

One of my greatest sources of inspiration is the late, great, business philosopher Jim Rohn.

You’ll find plenty of videos featuring Jim Rohn on YouTube.

However, you might also consider buying one of Jim Rohn’s audio recordings to listen to in your car or on your smartphone or iPad.

One Jim Rohn audio recording that I can highly recommend is The Art of Exceptional Living.

I bought my own copy of this audio recording a couple of years ago but I still listen to it when I’m driving and each time I listen I get something new out of it.

This audio recording really is an exceptional source of inspiration in my opinion.

You can check it out on Amazon if you CLICK HERE.

DISCLOSURE: This website is an Amazon affiliate. Should you click on any of the links included in the text above and you then make a purchase, you should be aware that this website will receive a small commission. However, there will be no additional charge to you in making that purchase. Nevertheless, these commissions do serve to cover the cost of maintaining this site, so you’ll be helping to ensure that this resource can remain available free of charge to readers. Your understanding and support are truly appreciated, dear reader. Thank you.

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How to develop effective time management skills

time management skillsTime Management Skills:

Developing effective time management skills is an essential ingredient for success, I’m sure you’ll agree. You can’t add real value without making the best use of your time.

However making the best use is not always easy in practice, is it?

So, how good are you dear reader at managing your time?

Do you have a reputation for being ruthlessly efficient and productive or are you someone who’s always struggling to keep up?

When someone asks you to do something in the office, do you accept their request without question and simply add the task to your ‘To Do’ list? If you do, you’re not alone. Many people will do that in my experience.

Alternatively, perhaps you’re the type who thinks carefully relative to your priorities before you accept such a request? Now be honest. We’d all like to think we’re the latter, when in fact far too many people are the former I think.

Productivity is what really matters:

In the world of work it’s easy to confuse being busy with being productive but these two concepts are not the same thing at all, are they?

For instance, you can be busy doing things that don’t really need doing at all. Whereas being genuinely productive means delivering real results from high value tasks which can only be done by someone with your skills.

And let’s face it, reputations are built by being productive not merely by being busy. It’s the results you deliver not energy you expend that matter most.

Time is your most precious resource:

How often do you hear someone say, “Oh, I would love to do that, if only I had the time.

And yet we all have exactly the same amount of time, i.e. 168 hours per week.

Time is simply a resource like money, albeit it’s more important than money. I say that because you can get more money but you can’t get more time. None of can do that, can we?

So you must learn to use your time wisely. Time is your most precious resource, so you must develop effective time management skills.

High value tasks must take precedence:

Modern pressures mean it’s easy for us to try to do too many things. We can all be a bit like that, including me dear reader.

Our lives are cluttered with too many activities, too many objectives, too many distractions and far too many demands on our time.

The result is that we tend to lose focus on what really matters most and in the end we don’t do anything as well as we should have done.

In my experience, in most jobs you’ll find that 90% of productivity is down to completing the top three or four major activities within that job. What I’d call high value tasks.

If you take the top three major activities, the high value tasks, associated with your job and focus on those to the exclusion of just about everything else you’ll almost certainly maximise your productivity and efficiency.

Most common time management mistake:

The problem is, when we’re working, we seem to find it easier to focus on minor tasks and random actions requested by other people.

We feel obliged to accept requests from others. It’s a common mistake of which we can all be guilty.

Now, whilst tidying up all those minor tasks might make us feel like we’re achieving some quick wins we’re usually fooling ourselves.

By the end of the day we’re usually left with a sense that we haven’t done all we should have done and that leaves us feeling stressed.

And that’s when we start to think about how we might improve our time management.

We can’t do everything, nor should we try:

We must recognise that we can’t do everything but we can be selective about what we choose to do.

And if we’re going to get those major tasks of higher value completed then they must take precedence over those low value, minor tasks, which can always wait if necessary.

High value tasks should always take precedence over low value tasks.

Work smarter:

People often think of time management as a skill which would allow them to work faster. Well let me tell you this, that’s not the idea at all.

Effective time management skills allow us to work smarter, rather than harder.

Instead of getting lost in the minutiae of everyday life, with effective time management skills, we focus on and prioritise those things that will add most value to our productivity. In other words, we focus on high value activity.

The law of three:

So. if time management is an issue for you dear reader, start by taking a good hard look at your list of daily activities and ask yourself these three questions:-

  1. What single task can only I do and when completed by me will add the most value to the business?
  2. What’s the second task on my list only I can do and when I’ve completed it would allow me to add the most value to the business?
  3. What is the third task on my list only I can do and when completed by me will add the most value to the business?

Once you’ve identified your list of three major, high value tasks then that’s where your focus should be each day before you touch any other minor tasks or accept random requests from other people.

Most powerful time management tool:

The point of work is to deliver results. You’ll deliver the best results if you concentrate on your top three major tasks first.

And never forget that you’ll be be judged by the results you actually deliver. No one cares what you had to do for someone else, they only care about the results they expected from you.

Your time is your time and you must decided how it is to be used most effectively.

Just because someone asks for a piece of your time doesn’t mean you’re obliged to give it to them at the expense of your own productivity. Never be afraid to deploy the most effective time management tool of them all.

And what is the most effective time management tool? It’s the word NO.

Think of the word NO as a baseball bat.

Whenever someone makes a request of you then NO is the means by which you can whack that request right out of the ballpark.

Be in control of your time, at all times:

You’re not obliged to agree to a request even if someone asks nicely. It’s reasonable to be working to your own priorities.

All too often we feel obliged to do things for other people when actually we should have just said politely, “No, I’m really sorry but I can’t do that right now for you because I have to deliver this by 5pm and it’s a priority.”

If our personal productivity matters to us, and it should, then our focus should always be on our own major, high value deliverables.

Unfortunately we allow ourselves to be driven by the agendas of other people.

However that’s not good for our productivity, nor is it good for our well-being and stress levels.

People will take everything you’re prepared to give:

I can tell you from experience that other people will take everything you’re prepared to give and a bit more besides. That’s the nature of people.

However if you fail to deliver what you’re actually being paid to deliver, then no list of incidental work completed for other people will be accepted as an adequate plea in your defence when your boss wants to know why you’ve failed to deliver your own high value results.

If you’re painting my house I’ll measure you on the quality and timeliness of your work, not the amount of help you gave to my neighbour by, say, looking after her dog.

What you do for other people is irrelevant to me, should you fail to deliver what I’m actually paying you to deliver.

Focus on your priorities:

In reality if your colleagues can’t get something done by you they’ll simply ask someone else. So let them.

Why worry? Just be very polite when faced with a random request but say NO firmly. I can tell you this, you’ll have to be disciplined but it’s a habit well worth developing.

We can all be guilty of expending far too much of our energy helping other people achieve their aims, to the detriment of our own interests and our ability to deliver our own high value results.

To achieve anything of significance in life we must be focused on our own major activities.

We must concentrate on completing our big three major high value deliverables daily and focus relentlessly on working towards achieving our own goals generally.

The need for balance:

If you’re asked to do something then it’s perfectly reasonable to say NO, if to do otherwise would prevent you from delivering the results you’re being paid to deliver in a timely manner.

Yes of course, occasionally there will be tasks you’re obliged to accept for whatever reason.

However mostly being firm in declining such a request is a sign that you’re assertive and in control of delivering as much value as possible.

Another polite but firm response to a request might be something like, “Sorry I would love to help you with that but I cannot right now because I have my hands full with the deadline for this project.

As with everything there is a balance to be struck of course.

Sometimes it’s in your interests to do someone a favour because one day you might need them to return that favour. That’s reasonable, providing you always retain a primary focus on keeping your main things, the main things.

Conclusion:

You should always ensure that you’re making progress towards achieving your big three deliverables and your own goals generally.

It’s perfectly reasonable to have your own agenda and a desire to achieve your own goals and add the greatest value only you can add.

If you want to make a difference, focus on your big three major activities.

Those activities which only you can do.

And to ensure that you’re doing that, don’t be afraid to use the most effective time management tool  of them all whenever necessary. The word NO expressed politely but firmly.

Further Reading:

In writing this article the aim was to convince you of the importance of your need for a transformation, should one be necessary for you to achieve better time management.

However you might feel you could use a little extra help. That’s fine and it’s always useful to add a good book to your personal reference library. And one book you might consider on this subject is:-

How to set your Personal Boundaries: Learn to say No and Protect Yourself from Overwhelming Stress by author Josie Baxter

In this book the author Josie Baxter explains in digestible chunks how we can learn to set boundaries and be able to say no when necessary.

She recognises that what should be a simple thing is in fact often quite difficult.

She acknowledges that it’s natural that people care about other people but potentially that can put us at risk if our tendency always is to say yes.

The risk being that we take on too much which can add to our stress levels and stop us from achieving our own goals. In turn this can lead to exhaustion and burn out.

Josie Baxter explains that it’s not selfish to care for ourselves first.

In fact she notes that it’s actually quite sensible.

The advice in this book is useful for all areas of your life and you’ll find it invaluable if you’re someone who struggles to set firm boundaries. It’s an excellent book and well worth considering.

You can take a look at it if you CLICK HERE.

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Top 10 Tips for How to Manage Your Time

How to manage your timeHow to manage your time? A question that is frequently asked but few actually manage to master the art of effective time management, in my experience.

If only I had time!” is an expression I hear constantly.

People will say to me, “Oh I’d love to do that, if only I had the time.

However, we all have exactly the same amount of time. We all have 168 hours each week and it all comes down to how we make the best use of it. In other words, our priorities.

Time is our most precious resource, wouldn’t you agree dear reader? Yet far too many people don’t use their time as wisely as they should.

So here are my Top 10 tips for how to manage your time.

How to manage your time:

1. Be in control: Just because someone makes a demand on your time, it doesn’t mean that you have to agree to it. You are the captain of your own ship and you should always be in control. And you’re mindset should always be, “I am in control of my life and if anyone wants a piece of my time then they’ll need to provide me with a very good reason as to why I should agree to their request.”

2. Keep your life and your desk free of clutter: Dealing with clutter just stresses you out, so be ruthless and get rid of it. You cannot work efficiently at a desk which is full of clutter. And you will waste so much time looking for things you need. So clear your desk and get rid of anything in your life that will prevent you from managing your time as efficiently as possible.

3. Be organized: A place for everything and everything in its place. If everything is in its place then you’ll know where to find it should you need it. And that reduces clutter and makes for a better environment in which to work, be it in the workplace or your personal life.

4. Make lists: You need to plan your week and plan each day too. Write it all down so you won’t forget it. Having a weekly planner is a good idea. Knowing what needs to be achieved each week, allows you to identify ‘must do’ activities each day. At the end of each day make a list of what needs to be done the next day in order to achieve your objectives. And do not rest until your list has been completed each day.

5. Prioritize: Everything is urgent these days, so you have to identify those things that are important to you achieving your objectives. Those are then the activities on which you must focus. You should know your priorities and they are the things that will allow you to achieve your objectives and meet your deadlines.

6. Develop routines: Having a proper routine will allow you to get very efficient at what you do. For instance, rather than responding to emails as and when they arrive in your inbox, set aside two or three time windows each day when you will deal with email. That could be for exactly one hour at the beginning of each day; half an hour just before lunch and then say half an hour at the end of the day just before you leave your desk. Be very strict about these windows for dealing with email and don’t allow email to become a distraction at other times.

7. Set deadlines and stick to them: If you have a piece of work to complete, judge how long it will take, use that to set a deadline for completion and then focus on that work such that you complete it within your deadline.

8. Delegate whenever possible: You should only be doing those things which absolutely have to be done by you. If you are lucky enough to have people to whom you can delegate then make use of them as much as you possibly can.

9. Don’t procrastinate: Procrastination is the thief of time. If you have got something to do, then get on with it. Don’t mess around. The sooner you start the sooner you’ll finish.

10. Learn to say No: Master this skill and it is the biggest time saver of them all. Far too often we agree do something for someone else simply because we don’t like saying no. It may not even be our responsibility but we do it anyway rather than say no. Always be polite but it is perfectly reasonable to say, “I’d love to help you but I’m busy right now.

Master your time management skills:

Whilst this is not a comprehensive list, it’s a good basis on which to start improving your time management skills.

If you want to be successful then effective time management is an essential skill.

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How to get along with people and make the world better

How to get along with peopleHow to get along with people? It’s a classic problem. We don’t have to like people but life’s better if we can get along with them. But how?

Life’s great challenge:

Dear reader, do you have problems getting along with other people?

Do you find it difficult to deal with some people, as you go about your daily routine?

Well, it’s true, some folk can be challenging and quite difficult at times. I’m sure most readers will have had that experience, occasionally.

However, in my experience most people really just want you to be nice to them. They want to be respected for who they are and treated with courtesy.

I’ve learned over the years that, if you respect people and take a genuine interest in their lives, then generally they’ll respond warmly to you. Not all perhaps but certainly most people.

How to get along with people:

Think about it.

We all just want to be treated with courtesy and respect and appreciated for who we are and what we do, don’t we? Certainly, I do. Don’t you, dear reader?

If we accept that as true, then the way to get along with other people, is not really difficult, surely?

The trick is to treat people with courtesy and respect, regardless of who they are or what they do. Treat them as you would prefer to be treated.

Be kind and considerate to them as individuals and there’s a good chance that they’ll treat you well too.

You don’t have to like people but life’s better if you can get along with them. And if you can get along with them and get to know them, then you might just get to like them in time as well.

The world can be a better place:

If we can all get along then it will make the world a better place.

If we can all be kind and considerate to our fellow human beings, then we could have a world free from strife and tension.

So go on, show people some respect; show them a little appreciation; take an interest in them for who they are and what they do; and above all, never underestimate the power of a thank you.

I always feel better if I think I’m appreciated and I’m sure you do too. We all do.

So the trick to getting along with people is simply to treat them as you would prefer them to treat you. It works every time for me.

And I’m confident that it will work well for you too, dear reader.

So go on, make every effort to get along with people and make the world a better place.

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If you knew you’ll die tomorrow, here’s what’s important to you today?

Life is Short

Life is short:

You’ll often hear people talk about the importance of money to living life in the modern age.

Let’s be honest it’s difficult to live without money today, is it not?

Nevertheless, we must also remember that life is short. And sadly for some people, it’s very short indeed.

So, whilst money’s important to some degree, it’s not an ideal means for measuring success, is it? Not real success in life anyway.

In the modern age, it’s easy to become obsessed with money but the accumulation of money for its own sake should never be the underlying motive that drives us, surely? That can only lead to a life of misplaced priorities I think.

If your approach to life includes an obsession with money then you’ll be doomed to disappointment, I think you’ll realise eventually. One day you’ll look back and wished you’d spent a bit more time with family, friends and loved ones, of that I’m sure.

So what would be an ideal measure of success?

For me, a better measure of success is whether we’re feeling fulfilled by what we’re doing.

If our work is something we’d do as a hobby if we couldn’t get paid for it then that’s a better way of gauging success. As the great Warren Buffett once said, “Look for a job that you’d take it you didn’t need a job.”

A sense of purpose and work which is fulfilling and truly absorbing is a much less stressful way of living.

If you enjoy what we do you’ll do it well and the money will follow anyway. If you do your work exceptionally well then people will notice. And once you get noticed, you’re on our way to genuine success.

Never be driven by money alone.

Never accept a job simply because it’s well paid.

It’s nice to have a good salary, of course. However, once you get used to the money you still have to spend a third of your life doing the work for which you’re being paid well. And doing work you don’t enjoy, is a very big price to pay in terms of emotions, your stress levels and the impact it will have on your central nervous system.

If life’s short then our time is very precious, surely?

What’s the point of working every hour you’ve got just to become rich, only then to die suddenly of a heart attack having had no time to enjoy the fruits of your labour?

What a waste that would be. Being the richest man or woman in the graveyard is hardly a title worth having, is it?

So the underlying message to you today dear reader is to find work you enjoy doing and to make sure you leave a little time to enjoy life too.

No one’s life is perfect.

Everyone faces challenges occasionally. Inevitably your life will have its ups and downs too. However make sure there are more ups than downs in life, as far as you possibly can.

Take some time to smell the roses and have a laugh. As the old Music Hall song used to say; “enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think.”

You wouldn’t want to live forever, but you should be living your life to the full today. Life is short and it’s definitely later than you think.

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