The best advice I ever heard on time management was from Jim Rohn, one of America's most sought-after success counselors, who rose from humble beginnings to become a self-made millionaire by the age of 33. Mr. Rohn says, "You can always get more money, but you can never get more time."
When time is spent in non productive pursuits doing things which have little value, not only will you be viewed as a slacker, but you lose a sense of integrity. The days become long and boring. If you're spending your valuable time walking the halls gossiping, playing Angry Birds or discussing last week's sports event, your work is most likely not getting done.
Mr. Rohn teaches that we don't get paid for the hour. We are paid for the value we bring to the hour. The more value we bring to the hour, the more we can potentially earn. While there are a lot of different ways to measure value, we might be a valuable parent, or a valuable Scout Troop leader, or a valuable church member, but in the workplace our value is measured in terms of money. How much money is your time worth?
If you had just a few months to live would you waste even a minute of your time on non-valuable activities? Probably not. It is a personal decision as to what is more important: your work or your family. If you waste time at work you're robbing your family of your time which might be better spent with your children or spouse.
I worked with a guy who arrived at the office about 20 minutes before everyone else. As the rest of us came in at 8 am, he would pointedly look at his watch and frown. It was his habit to tell everyone how early he had gotten to work. In fact, after the rest of us were already signed in and had begun our work day, he could still be heard strolling around our cubicles as he continued to socialize. This reminds me of another saying that makes good sense: Mere presence on the job does not indicate productivity. Often, people confuse activity with productivity; they're always busy. The question becomes, busy doing what?
In times like these, when employers are looking for reasons to cut staff, it behooves us to become known as valuable contributors. If we can identify a way to become more valuable to the workplace, our value will increase in terms of a paycheck or in staying when others are laid off. Learning a new skill or cross training can often lead to survival in the workplace, despite reorganizations and downsizing that is prevalent in today's work place.
Making ourselves more valuable not only increases our potential earning power, it builds self esteem and marketability.