Time is a fixed commodity. We all get to enjoy the same 24 hours a day as everyone else. But for some, this is not enough to do everything they want.
Therefore, whenever I am on the road and I am deciding how to spend my time, I ask, “Is this something I can only do here and now?”
For example, I was recently in San Francisco. In comparison to the temperatures in Boston, the weather was warm enough to enjoy the beach. Therefore I took advantage of this luxury and stayed in a hotel near the ocean.
Conversely, I was in New York City a few days later where the beach wasn’t an attractive option, but it offered other unique opportunities.
By focusing on the things I can only do here and now helps me decide what is the best way to use my time.
A lot of people enjoy activities like dancing at nightclubs. But I know I can go clubbing almost anywhere. Many like to shop when they are on the road, but I can do that anywhere as well (unless it is to buy something unique from that area).
What are the things that you can’t do elsewhere; that you can only do where you are right now?
It might be taking advantage of the weather or your geographic location (unique food options, area-specific landmarks). It might be leveraging the time of year (e.g., special events at Christmas time in New York City). And don’t forget to take advantage of the people around you. (Ok, that last point didn’t sound exactly right, but you know what I mean.) I try to see my friends when on the road, because if I don’t, I won’t see them at all.
Think about each day, even when you were home. What are the things that you can only do right now? What are the things you can only do certain times of year? While this won’t give you more time, it may make the time that you have significantly more valuable.
P.S. This concept applies to innovation too. Many companies try to do everything, and as a result do nothing well. Focus your energies on things you do better than anyone else that create exceptional customer value. Stop doing everything else, and find partners others who can do it better than you.