It’s been said that we all have the same hours in a day as Beyoncé, but I’ve long disagreed. Sure, we’re all privy to the same 24 hours, but most of us don’t have private chefs, personal trainers, nannies, and a full glam team at our beck and call.
However, Kelly Main, a columnist for Inc., offers a productivity hack inspired by billionaire Warren Buffett. In a recent column, Main points to a phrase borrowed from Buffett’s iconic investment advice, “invest in the long term,” as an effective way to multiply your time. Naturally, Buffett’s strategy centers around using money to make more money, but it applies to productivity as well.
“Every decision made in the present impacts the future. But how (or how much) it impacts it and whether or not it saves you time down the line depends on how you approach the things you need to do,” writes Main. “By focusing on doing the tasks now that save you time later, you can effectively free up a lot of time.”
Getting more done in the future
Like many people, I’ve certainly fallen victim to toxic productivity, and I’m often the first in my friend group to try the newest productivity hack (scary hour, anyone?). Admittedly, I used to equate productivity with how much I could get done in a day, but now I’m starting to value quality over quantity by focusing on one to two main tasks per day instead of my usual 10 to 12.
Trying to do all the things all at once is a recipe for burnout, which comes with real physical, emotional, and financial consequences (somewhere to the tune of $125 billion to $190 billion, according to Harvard Business Review). Meanwhile, Buffett’s advice prompts us to be strategic about what we can do now that will yield positive results for us in the future.
For example, I recently launched a podcast and have hired a producer to edit my episodes. Sure, I could do it myself, but the time I’m not spending being a one-woman show can be spent with my family and friends or doing other projects that actually make money. Investing in this resource now will pay off dividends later for both my mental and financial health.
Some ways to work smarter, not harder in your own life may be getting groceries delivered so that you can save on time traveling to and from the market, or hiring a virtual assistant to handle administrative tasks while you focus on the money-making portion of building your business.
We may not all have the same resources as Beyoncé and Buffett, but we can adopt some of their business strategies to improve our day-to-day lives. You just have to “go long.”