Are You Truly Maximizing?

Michele Warg
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Are you making the best possible use of everything you've got? Are you getting the best return on everything you're investing in your business -- your money, your effort, and above all, your time? Everybody knows at least one highly productive person, someone for whom there seems to be more than 24 hours in a day. This person is 10 times more productive than her competitor because she understands the concept of highest and best use. It's a rather simple -- yet inarguable -- concept. Use your time, and everything else you invest, to produce the greatest strategic, long-term pay-off. Most businesspeople fail to view time expenditure the same way they view all other expenditures in their lives -- even though time, opportunity cost, and effort are the 3 most precious, intangible assets you possess. Instead, most people waste time on unimportant things when they could be investing it in their strategy. As a result, they miss out on valuable opportunities to grow and expand their business. Most people just don't make the highest and best use of what they've got. Fortunately, you no longer have to count yourself among their ranks. If you're not practicing the concept of highest and best use, you're sacrificing your potential, your profits, and your future -- and most businesspeople are. So let's talk about how to optimize the highest and best use, not just of your time, but of your relationships, opportunities, activities, and the money your business spends. The Secret of the Highest and Best Use of Your Time and Talents The concept of highest and best use is deceptively easy. Just use your time and your talents to the maximum potential -- simple, right? And yet, most of the world fails to do it. For starters, most people don't have a clue which items on their to-do list actually qualify as "highest" and "best." If you're thinking to yourself, "Hmmm. I'm not sure I do, either," you might be working at as little as a third or less of your capacity, because you're spending time on tasks that are far less important or result in much smaller payoff. That's a lot of efficiency you can't stand to lose! Let's try an exercise right now that will help you identify your "highest and best." Start by writing down the 3 most critical tasks you're paid by your business to do. Then break down those 3 tasks into sub-tasks, for which there are usually as many as 7. Then give each of those sub-tasks 3 different values based on their relevancy, your competency, and your true passion for doing them. Now it's time to review what you've come up with. If the task is not relevant but you're competent at it, it's a waste of your time. If your competency in a particular task is less than average, then you're not the most efficient person for the job, which means it's a huge expenditure of energy and, again, a waste of your time. For example, why should you review every employee's time card, if doing so eats up half your day? I'm not saying the time cards shouldn't be reviewed, but you shouldn't be the one reviewing them first. Get someone else to do the heavy lifting, then spot-check review or audit their work. (We'll solve the problem of just who should be doing the heavy lifting in a minute.) What this exercise will help you do is determine which tasks you should permanently remove from your to-do list, so that you can put yourself into the geometric power position that brings the greatest yield. Whatever your tasks and subtasks may be, it's imperative that you're working on the most important tasks for you. Here's the bottom line: Anything that isn't relevant, that you're not competent in, or that you're not completely passionate about should be delegated to somebody else. This is true even if it means you need 10 people doing the same job 80% as well as you. That's still 8 times greater efficiency and results, rather than doing 100% of the job yourself. It frees you up to focus your most precious assets -- your time, energy, and opportunity costs -- on the things that matter most and that deliver the most meaningful, ongoing results. If you'll quit trying to raise your weaknesses up to the level of mediocrity and instead do only the things that you do best while delegating everything else, you'll get the best possible return on your investment of time in your business. You'll make more money, and you'll have a lot more fun. ©2009 Jay Abraham, author of The Sticking Point Solution: 9 Ways to Move Your Business From Stagnation to Stunning Growth In Tough Economic Times Author Bio Jay Abraham, author of The Sticking Point Solution: 9 Ways to Move Your Business From Stagnation to Stunning Growth In Tough Economic Times, is founder and CEO of Abraham Group, Inc., in Los Angeles, California and has spent the last twenty-five years solving problems and significantly increasing the bottom lines for over 10,000 clients in more than 400 industries worldwide. Jay has won high praise as a marketing genius in USA Today, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, OTC Stock Journal, National Underwriter, Entrepreneur, Success, Inc., and many other publications. Jay's clients range from business royalty to small business owners, many of whom acknowledge that his efforts and ideas have led to an increase in profits ranging into the millions of dollars. He lives in Los Angeles. Learn more about Jay Abraham at www.abraham.com
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