With a lot of things on my plate, I have had to become efficient – as in, I try hard not to waste a minute. Running a business, writing this blog, recording podcasts, showing up as a husband and a dad, leading a group of men in a Bible study, and being there for my friends… there’s a lot to juggle. Wasting time is not an option. Even as I am writing this, I am taking advantage of a 30-minute gap between meetings, sitting in a Twin Cities’ Caribou Coffee. 

Don’t waste a minute. When you read that, you immediately make some assumptions about what I mean. For many of you, not wasting a minute means packing as much work as possible into your day. My definition is a little different and it includes every part of my life. Here’s my take…

Work on your work. For all of us, there is a list of things that need to get done. Our jobs and professional obligations require us to do many things, and being efficient with our time is essential. Unfortunately for many who read this, not wasting a minute ends here. Out time management is 100% focused on our work-life and what people expect from us in that space. We let those expectations rule us and dominate our time, and we miss out on so much in our lives. Yes, work on the work. But, no, don’t let it dominate you. Either you control your work, or it controls you. You choose. If you choose to control it, you’ll find ways to max out your time in the areas below as well.

Work on you. Driving between meetings, on my way to this Caribou, I had Audible playing in my car. As I shared, I used to let work dominate all of my time, including my drives. Now, I’ve shifted gears, and I use my drive time to work on me. I am selfish about how I use this time. I listen to audiobooks and podcasts while I am on the road, leveraging my windshield opportunities to get mentored by some of the best and brightest minds… Jesse Itzler, Ed Mylett, Lewis Howes, Gary Vaynerchuk. 

Here’s another example of this. When I wake up, my immediate temptation is to grab my phone and start scrolling through emails, LinkedIn, and Instagram. You know the drill, probably because you’ve done the same. You’ll likely agree that when you start your day with your phone, any time in the morning that you would have dedicated to working on yourself gets hijacked. Today, instead of grabbing my phone when I wake up, I quietly slip out of bed and into the dark to let the dog out and start coffee for Cristina and I. Then, as the coffee brews, I spend some time in quiet meditation and reading my Bible. I use this time to work on me. It has changed the game and led me to some crazy breakthrough moments and new levels of clarity. 

Work on what fills your cup. When it comes to not wasting a minute, it’s important that we all get real about making time to do the things that get us excited to be alive – the fun stuff! Schedule a vacation or camping trip with friends or family. Make time to volunteer. Plan a date night with your spouse. Stretch yourself with a Misogi Challenge. Spend time tinkering, creating, or doing the kind of projects that light your fire. Whatever your thing is, make time for it. Too often, we neglect fun and play, and the result is that we end up resenting the other things in our lives.

For me, writing the Depth Not Width blog, OrangeBall’s weekly blog, and recording episodes of the Grit Meets Growth podcast all light me up – so I make time for them. Selfishly, they fill my cup and feed my creative side in a non-work kind of way. At the same time, they are aligned with my purpose, which is helping others reach their potential. Making time to honor my own creative spirit, and including my purpose and fun in the mix, has become a cornerstone of not wasting time in my life.

Work on what fills other people’s cups. Last but not least, this final thought is tied to what I shared above about purpose. My purpose includes filling other people’s cups. You’ve heard me use the word “selfish” a couple of times in this writing. Yes, you do need to be selfish about protecting your time and investing it in the right places. But, at the same time, not wasting a minute should include investing some of your time into the lives of others. Being someone who contributes to their circle, and doesn’t just take from it, is a non-negotiable for me. It’s the reason I lead that men’s Bible study and invest time with the guys in my life. Other people matter – that is not optional.

So, there it is… my personal definition of not wasting a minute. When we look around, even more valuable than the money we have in the bank is our time. We can always make more money. We can’t make more time. So with that in mind, commit today to maximizing every minute and magnifying every moment.

The Takeaway

Don’t waste a minute. Your time is the most precious resource you have, and you’re not ever going to get more of it. Work on your work, work on you, work on what fills your cup, and work on what fills other people’s cups. Take some time to think through each of these areas and ask yourself, “Am I wasting time?” If you are, make some changes today. Don’t wait. Time is fleeting…

Ready for more?

Follow me here for more insights like this one, weekly encouragement, and accountability to help you maximize your time. You can also listen in on the Grit Meets Growth podcast here or on your favorite podcast platforms. Make it a great day! – John