Be ruthless with your time

Warren Buffett is one of the wealthiest men in the world, and also a friend and mentor for many years to another, Bill Gates.

In this short video (yes, it will take less than two minutes of your time, please invest in that!), Bill talks about the blank pages in Warren’s diary and how this amazed him when he first found how ruthless Warren is with NOT being busy.

“I can buy anything I want.. but I can’t buy time:

Much of my work is spent with leaders, helping them elevate, and one paradigm shift is around VALUE and TIME.

Plenty of paradoxes here.

Here’s one. I don’t work with clients based on TIME, on a “power by the hour” basis, I work based on VALUE. Sometimes takes a while for them to understand they can contact me anytime as I am not “on the clock” (professional firm partners are particularly connected to the TIME trap!). I vividly remember a client once calling me to work through something before a key meeting. We had been working together for years at this point, and it took only a few minutes to work through something powerful, simply because we had a shorthand of understanding developed over the relationship. Later, they remarked “a few years ago that would have taken well over an hour. Perhaps I should be paying you more when it takes less time to get what I need”. Paradoxical thinking, huh ?

Another Paradox is that time is free, yet it is our most valuable resource, and Warren Buffett says you can’t buy it, but can you ? In some ways you can. Adam Smith worked this out hundreds of years ago with “division of labour”. I have an Executive Assistant who manages my diary. I pay her for something I could do myself, but I pay for the fact that is saves me time (and energy, a whole other related topic). What do you do for yourself that you could pay or otherwise delegate to someone else to do ? I see so many business leaders who keep involving themselves in so many day to day activities that take their time and energy away from what truly matters.

My dear friend and mentor Suki Laniado Smith signs off every email with :

“Awareness is the greatest agent for change”

Every client I have ever worked with, every person I have ever known (and yes, very much including myself) could always benefit from bringing what I would call “ruthless awareness” to where we spend our time.

This does NOT mean being scarce with our time. To the contrary, using myself as an example, I practice “radical abundance” with my time (as does Professor Adam Grant), but it is really important therefore to a) have boundaries, and b) make sure you don’t spend time doing stuff that doesn’t matter.

(BTW, I just thought about NOT taking time to add links to past posts that relate to the above thoughts, but to me sharing my writing and my thoughts DOES matter, so I have taken the time to do so.)

One of the most meaningful quotes in any movie for me comes from the movie Lucy “the whole purpose of life is to pass on what was learned. There is no higher purpose”, watch a clip in this post, the very first in my weekly series of “Movies with Meaning”

I leave you with two quotes from Steve Jobs :

“Your time is precious, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life”

(Visit the post with video of the speech in which he said this, along with other thoughts on “Memento Mori” (remember you will die))


“My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It is really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.

~ Steve Jobs

steve jobs time


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