What is “time debt” and why, to get out of it, you must first pay yourself – BBC News

If we had asked James Clear for an interview, he probably would have politely declined.

The author of the bestseller “Atomic Habits” and responsible for a newsletter weekly with 650,000 subscribers, Clear has the interviews in the column “time debts”.

And this, according to his philosophy, would rob him of one of his most valuable assets.

Basically time debt is anything commits you to do a job inevitable in the future.

The clearest example of this, he says, is do things wrong the first time.

If you forget something important on your shopping list when you are in the store, you may have to return to the supermarket in the not too distant future.

Another example of debt, he says, is email.

Submitting one implies that you commit to reading the response and responding later.

They are tasks that “they will cost you additional time in the future” and they are likely to damage your productivity and concentration.

“This is not to say that all time debts are bad. You might like to serve on your school’s committee or volunteer at a local organization,” the guru explains on his blog.

“However, when you make these commitments, you are also creating a time debt that you will have to pay at some point. Sometimes it is worth it. cut the number of debts we take on, but sometimes not, “he says.

And it is that for Clear time has always been a key success factor and, in fact, his book explains how to make it work in your favor. In favor of your career, your health or your personal life.

exist various strategies that instead of stealing future time, they will help you earn it.

Woman updating a calendar

This is what is known as “time assets”.

“Every time asset you create is a system that works for you day after day,” says Clear.

It is like multiplying time. But is that possible?

Building a system

The first thing to do is go over our usual tasks and decide which ones we could save time on if we had the right tool at hand.

In the case of web pages, FAQs or frequently asked questions, they save brands time by drawing up a list with the most common questions from customers.

Today there is hardly a service website without it.

Frequently asked questions page of a website.

But an example in real life could be taking clothes to the laundry.

You won’t have to wash or iron it, which will save you a huge amount of time (but not money).

There are 4 principles that can help you establish a system that saves you time, instead of having to:

1.- Prioritize

In this it is key to ask the right questions, because being clear about what they are the tasks we must complete first It helps us buy time for the future and be more productive.

“What cannot be measured, cannot be improved,” said celebrated writer and consultant Peter Drucker.

For this, it is important to be focused and maintain attention.

According to a study published in the UK in 2014, 36% of respondents lost one hour of productivity a day checking emails and social networks.

Don’t let it happen to you.

The method that has proven to be the most effective is the mEisenhower actress, a simple chart that asks you to classify your work between urgent and important.

Dwight Eisenhower
The president of the United States, Dwight Eisenhower, was known to be legendarily productive.

2.- Delegate

It doesn’t have to be in other people.

Today there are programs or apps that are capable of doing for us some tedious tasks.

For example, accounting.

If every day we enter into a program what our expenses have been, when the time comes to make the declaration we will not spend an enormous amount of time tracking what we did in the last year.

3.- Say no

Before accepting a new responsibility or a commitment, we must take out the agenda and see if we really have time to accept what will undoubtedly be a time debt.

For example, for Clear, accepting an interview means committing time in the future, which is why he does not always do it.

The writer proposes to be “be selectively ignorant”.

“Ignore topics that drain your attention. Stop following people who drain your energy. Give up projects that take up your time,” he says.

And above all, never say yes to something out of obligation or that it commits you excessively.

There are some commitments for which if you want to make time like the family activities, meeting friends or learning new things.

But there are also commitments that will rob us of time and that we will have to attend to because we said yes in the past.

Do you feel that time is slipping away?

4.- Be aware of the time available

If you want to save money, make a monthly expense list to assess where you could cut back.

With time the same thing happens.

That is why it is important to do an initial evaluation of in which time is running out.

“Time debts accumulate when you do not know that you are spending more time than you have or are not using time wisely,” they explain from the RescueTime productivity blog.

“So it makes sense that to change that trend, you need a deep understanding of where your time is really slipping away.”

Jotting everything down on an agenda will give us an idea of ​​the things we spend the most time on.

How to fix it

But when everything has gotten out of hand, there is a rule that can straighten everything out: “pay yourself first.”

“The ability to use time properly depends on be healthy and happy“Say the experts at RescueTime.com

In other words, prioritize yourself.

This means setting aside time for rest and recharge, disconnect from work and look for hobbies and, above all, balance work and personal life.

This way the day will not end and you will feel that time has slipped away or that you never have enough for the things you like.


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