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The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment

Achieve More Success with Less Stress

By Elizabeth Grace Saunders
13-minute read
Audio available
The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment by Elizabeth Grace Saunders

The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment (2013) is a practical guide to living a life by design instead of impulse. It provides step-by-step strategies for planning your days around the commitments that really matter to you, setting up effective routines, and finding people to help you stay on track. It also reveals the importance of dealing with emotional baggage like guilt and shame, which can derail even the best-laid plans.

  • Freelancers desperate for more structure in their days
  • Workaholics who need help learning to switch off
  • Over-optimistic schedulers who try to cram too much in

Elizabeth Grace Saunders is the founder and CEO of the time coaching company Real Life E, working with corporate and private clients on six continents. Her writing has been published in Forbes, Harvard Business Review, and TIME magazine, among many other publications.

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The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment

Achieve More Success with Less Stress

By Elizabeth Grace Saunders
  • Read in 13 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 8 key ideas
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The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment by Elizabeth Grace Saunders
Synopsis

The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment (2013) is a practical guide to living a life by design instead of impulse. It provides step-by-step strategies for planning your days around the commitments that really matter to you, setting up effective routines, and finding people to help you stay on track. It also reveals the importance of dealing with emotional baggage like guilt and shame, which can derail even the best-laid plans.

Key idea 1 of 8

The first secret to effective time investment is to make action-based priorities.

Imagine your friends, family, and colleagues just helped themselves to money from your wallet. It would be pretty infuriating, wouldn’t it? You might even be tempted to call the cops!

You’d never let people help themselves to your cash. So why do you allow them to do the same with your time? Time is a limited and precious resource. But, often, we don’t treat it that way. We allow colleagues to heap extra work onto us, or get roped into too many committees. Sometimes we waste our own time, too, like when we fall prey to the temptations of social media, and spend hours scrolling on our phones.

There’ll always be people (and apps) that are hungry for your time. If you don’t want to get pulled in all directions, you have to define clear boundaries around time investments. But you can only do that if you know what your priorities are.

The key message here is: The first secret to effective time investment is to make action-based priorities. 

To identify your priorities, you first need to ask yourself a very important question: What makes your life successful? This really is a personal question. It’s got nothing to do with what society deems important and worthy. Success, for you, may look like having enough time to work on your butterfly collection while holding down a job that pays the bills. Or it may be about spending time with all your friends.

Once you’ve considered what success means to you, make a list of your real priorities, in order of importance.

That’s just the start. Now you need to make your priorities action-based. For example, if spending time with family is number one on the list, then perhaps you need to leave the office earlier, so you’re always home in time for dinner.

Of course, your priorities can change. Sometimes a major life event, like illness or a new relationship, will mean you need to reassess your needs. You may need to temporarily devote more time to your health, or scale back extra work to allow space for romance to blossom.

Living according to your priorities is a dynamic process that requires constant balancing and rebalancing. As long as you keep asking yourself that question – What makes my life successful? – then you’ll always have a North Star to work toward.

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