Ever heard the phrase, “Time is money?” Well, it is. And when it comes to time management, we can draw a lot of lessons from Dave Ramsey’s lessons on money management and getting out of debt. In a previous blog, we looked at managing time by first identifying priorities. Now we’re going to look at a few other principles that Dave Ramsey teaches and how they can apply to time.

Use the Snowball Principle

In a debt snowball approach, you identify your smallest debt and work hard to pay that off and build momentum toward your goal. But how often do we do that with our time? Sometimes when I look at a big project that seems daunting or a small one that seems boring, I simply keep pushing it off to another day. But the principle of building momentum can apply here too — chipping away at the mountain slowly gets the work accomplished.

Right now I have some serious organizational challenges that involve unstimulating but still important work. I am finding that 15 minutes a day is starting to have an impact on that work. The momentum is building, which makes me even more excited for the next 15 minutes of work because I see light on the horizon! This concept also applies to making that one call a day I have been putting off.

Just like paying off the small debts first to build momentum, allocating time increments to push through larger work projects can be an effective strategy. And before you know it, you are yelling, “It’s done!”

Reduce Compound Interest and Penalties By Addressing Problems Now

Compound interest can either work for you or against you. Compound interest on retirement savings is a great thing, but compound interest on debt is not good. If we don’t pay off credit cards each month, we’ll end up paying more in the long run.
In a similar way, not dealing with conflict now may result in spending more time on the problem later. I often see this happen when a leader doesn’t want to hold someone accountable or have the hard conversation early on. They later find themselves spending hours dealing with the problems that person has caused, either with customers or with the team internally. Put in the time now to avoid paying that dreaded compound interest on the problem later.

Double Up for More Mileage

Buying one appliance with multiple functions usually costs less than buying two separate appliances. Doubling up and paying an extra mortgage payment one month during the year gets you out of debt that much faster.

Doubling up on time is an important strategy to consider as well. For example, can I get my exercise time in while also spending time with a friend or family member? Can I take simple tasks to the waiting room when I see the doctor? What calls can I safely make on the road? I have recently found Dragon Dictation saves me a lot of time and allows me to get two things done at once.

Ultimately, how we spend our time determines what we can accomplish. We all have the same number of hours in the day. By thinking about our time in terms of the snowball principle, compound interest, and doubling up, we can use our time more efficiently and effectively. You might be surprised at what you can accomplish in 24 hours a day and still be in alignment with your priorities.

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    Loriana Sekarski is founder and president of BONSAI, a consulting company that transforms leaders (and businesses) into the best version of themselves. As a leadership coach, Loriana teaches leaders how to hone soft skills, spur workplace engagement, and achieve untapped levels of potential. Outside of BONSAI, Loriana serves as an adjunct professor at Washington University’s graduate student program. Additionally, she's fine-tuning her passion project, TakeFlight, a division of BONSAI that launches organizations, churches, and marriages to boldly live out their purpose by leveraging their strengths to achieve their God-given destiny. TakeFlight has just developed Revealing Hidden Shackles, an innovative curriculum that examines domestic violence within the Christian community.