Interested in building your income?
A higher income potentially means more financial stability…finally taking that vacation…putting a down payment on a house…or simply having additional cash to do (or buy) more of what you love.
Here’s the thing: many of you might equate “higher income” with grinding out more hours on top of an already loaded work schedule. Earning more may not feel feasible when you’re already feeling exhausted at the end of the workweek.
The good news? You may be able to earn more money not simply by working harder, but by improving how you manage your time.
In this article, we’ll look at why time management is key to becoming a more efficient worker, and in the process, a higher earner. We’ll also look at how 9-to-5’ers, freelancers, solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, and job searchers alike can build their income through more strategic use of their time.
Time Management: The Not-So-Hidden Key to Being More Productive & Efficient
At the end of the day, you can potentially earn more money by slogging away for longer hours.
But in a culture already deprived for time, taking on a 60-hour workweek might not be the best solution for building a more fulfilling life (which is ultimately what we’re after with a higher income, right?)
The good news? Shifting the way you use your hours – not just how many hours you use – can help you earn a higher income.
A 4-Hour Workweek?
In more recent years, some gutsy solo/entrepreneurs have flipped “hard work” on its head, and taught us all that we could be making a lot more money in a lot less time.
Take Tim Ferriss, who made the 4-hour workweek famous and now teaches on radical efficiency to achieve better outcomes, faster. Ferriss reframes the rules of conventional thinking on time, money, and productivity–and has the financial clout and influence to prove his credibility.
Or Anthony Moore, who writes about productivity, building an income, confidence, and more. Like Ferriss, Moore is a firm believer in changing your mindset to change your life – as he says, “If you want a 1% raise at your job, you might be able to get it. But if you want a 100%, or even a 1000% raise, you’re going to have to retool your entire mindset altogether.”
Moore continues to explain how he increased his income by 1,000% by offering something of increased value.
Even more well-established influencers like former business exec Seth Godin writes about selling your value, not your time.
All that being said, the underlying idea remains the same: what matters is not how much time you spend on something, but how wisely you use your time. Because at the end of the day, you can increase value without increasing time.
The Bottom Line: Time Management is Key
The biggest obstacle to using your time well is lack of focus and strategy. We all know how easy it is to get distracted, even with the best intentions (I will finish this project by 4pm!). As we’ve spoken about previously at Timing, getting distracted is easier than ever in a world of social media, notifications, and rapid information flow.
Here’s the good news: with a few specific strategies for greater time management, you can not only overcome distractions – you can build habits and systems to help you earn a higher income.
In the following sections, we’ll look at how better time management can ultimately lead to a higher income – whether you’re a FT employee, freelancer, emerging entrepreneur, or job searcher.
Build Your Income By…Setting Goals
One of the most simple, powerful tools of better time management is goal-setting. Goals give your brain an easy target to reach, a strategic “bullseye” that can help keep you on task and working toward your final outcome.
Here are a few ideas for goal-setting to help you achieve a higher income:
- Choose 1-3 short-term goals to achieve every day. You may aim to achieve, for example, one primary goal in the morning, and two in the afternoon. Parsing your day apart this way – and giving yourself a pat on the back when your goals are accomplished – is a good way to tackle your workday without succumbing to overwhelm (which too often results in distraction).
The result of short-term goal setting may help you to work more quickly and productively – and ultimately set you up to tackle additional work (or receive an income-boosting promotion).
- Use goal-setting to build a side hustle. Whether you’re working full-time at a conventional job, or you’re a solopreneur who already knows the ropes when it comes to side hustles, creating an additional stream of income outside of your “regular job” can certainly help you to build your income.
By setting short-term goals to achieve long-term outcomes (build a website, reach out to 5 potential clients, develop an offer), you work strategically and effectively toward building a potentially lucrative new stream of income. And, if you maximize your time well, you may even be able to use some of your regular workday to chip away at your side hustle.One of the best ways to become a higher earner is to become a more valuable professional. Click To Tweet
- Set a goal of developing new skills. One of the best ways to become a higher earner is to become a more valuable professional. Use goal-setting to develop marketable new skills that can either a) increase the value of the services you offer as a freelancer or solopreneur, or b) make you a more valuable, marketable candidate for a job (or promotion).
Like any strategic goal, set a “deadline” on this goal – for example, you may aim to become certified in an SEO course by the end of this year, or finish a copywriting course in the next 8 weeks.
Build Your Income By…Using Your Resources Better
Becoming a more productive, efficient, and valuable professional also relies on you knowing how to use your resources – including your time, your energy, and your skills – well.
To gauge how well you’re using these valuable assets, use Timing – an automatic time-tracking software – to assess how much time you’re using; what you’re using your time on; and how you’re actually using your time.
Timing’s Overview screen gives you a comprehensive look into how many hours and minutes you’re spending each day on valuable work – helping you address the question of “how much?”
Shifting on over to the Review screen will give you more in-depth insight into what you’re spending your time on. This is where the richest insight is produced: Are you spending your energy on work that isn’t high-value? Are you spending most of your time on administrative work, when you could be crafting valuable content? Are your “5 minute breaks” on YouTube turning into 45-minute binges?
Also on Review, you’ll find a detailed breakdown of your workflow – showing gaps and breaks throughout your day that show where your focus waned, or you got distracted.
In any case, Timing will help you honestly assess your own time usage and habits, and re-strategize toward building income-building habits.
Build Your Income By…Creating Systems
Finally, create strategic systems for better time management – workflows and habits that require little thought, action, or decision on your part, but that produce great results.
Once you’ve assessed your time usage and habits (as outlined above), you might want to make a list of habitual practices to integrate into your work day. For example, you might want to start and end your workday with 30 minutes of administrative tasks. This is your time to check emails, send invoices, and make phone calls. You might also try blocking out chunks of time to focus on a single kind of task: writing, for example, or pitching new clients.
Again, you can use Timing to keep you accountable. At the end of each work day, check your time usage to make sure you stayed on task. Timing even allows you to set a start and stop timer before you start a project or activity to help keep you focused.
Finally, to get the richest, most detailed insight from your automated time-tracking, you’ll want to help Timing create a system to accurately label your activities and projects. To do so, you’ll want to take two steps:
- Create Projects (in your Review tab) to organize different types of work you perform– typically by client and project. To create a project, click on the “plus” sign on the project list. This will present a dialog where you can configure the project’s properties.
- Now, create rules by ⌥-dragging and dropping relevant URLs, applications, “paths,” and additional keywords that Timing detects in your work history onto a Project.
By taking these two steps, you create a system where detailed, high-insight time management comes automatically…and you’re better-equipped to tackle your goals, work efficiently, and build a more productive, valuable career.
A Final Note on Building Your Income
Building your income is an awesome goal…but it might not be the main goal of your career. As mentioned above, a higher income should be a path to a more fulfilling life. For many, what we want is a good income produced by meaningful work that makes the most of our talents and abilities.
That being said, time management can not only help you earn more – it can actually help you build a more fulfilling, enjoyable career. Fewer hours and more productive output? Yes, please. More strategic and effective goal-setting? Sounds great to us! Thoughtful insight and self-improvement. Perfect. The bottom line? Time management is not only key to building your income – it’s key to pursuing your passions.
If you’d like to try Timing to help you build a better income – and pursue your passions–click here for a 2-week trial.