What is the Best and Highest Use of Your Time?

Mark Matteson
Contributing Writer
Sparking Success

If you try to teach a pig to sing, two things happen:

You make the pig mad

You waste your time and your money!

Each of gets paid, whether we own our own company or we work for someone else, for our contribution to the marketplace.  It the quality and quantity of that contribution that determines our value to the organization and the corresponding income we earn.   Want to earn more money?  Find a way to improve your service to others.

Years ago I came across a formula that has stuck with me.  It’s more like a natural law than anything else.  You and I are paid in direct proportion to:

The Demand for What We Do

Our Ability to Do That Job

The difficulty of Replacing Us

The most powerful asset you have is your earning ability.  By applying your knowledge and skills to your work, you bring value to the customer, value to your employer, value to yourself.   You could lose everything (and I have a couple of times) your house, your car, your job, your bank account, but as long as you still have your earning ability, you can make it all back and more besides.

Hey, I know times are tough for many of my readers.  401k’s have become 201k’s.  Clients are asking for more and more for less money.  What CAN you do?  Well, one strategy is to go to work on your skills and knowledge.  Go to work on what you bring to the table.  Be honest with yourself.  Take stock of your unique talents and abilities.

Would you say you are World Class at what you do?  Best in the Country?

Best in the State?  Best in the County?  Best in the City?  Best in Your Community?  Best in Your House?  Pick one.   Be honest.  Then go to work.

A question I have been asking myself for over 20 years might just be the very thing that allows you to keep your job in tough times.  It might be the very thing that creates the idea for a new product or service.  Here it is:

“How Can I Increase My Service To Others?”  Simple.  Powerful.  Rarely asked or answered.

Here are some additional questions for you to ask yourself on paper in your journal early in the morning or on the next long drive or commute.  Keep a pen or tape recorder handy, they are powerful questions:

What is the best and highest use of my time?

What is it I do especially well that few people can match?

What am I really good at?

What comes easy to me?

What has been responsible for past success AND was fun and easy for me?

What have I received praise and compliments for?

If I could do any part of my job what aspects would I choose that are high leverage?

What is my contribution to this organization and how can I increase it?

Once you know the answers to those questions, chances are THAT is your bliss.  When you are doing it, you time distort, losing track of time.  It’s naturally fun and easy.

When I am speaking, facilitating, writing and consulting, time flies.  Those are the four elements of my work that represent my bliss.  If I invest 80{938cd9e8dae860e800efc538277d4f7684e6f6981618ba70d1c34357a53c2e1f} of my time in those activities, that is the best and highest use of my time.

My most successful clients are the ones that have identified what they do well and most enjoy.

You cannot do everything.  Expectations keep changing, we are being asked to do more with less.  When you leverage that magical 20{938cd9e8dae860e800efc538277d4f7684e6f6981618ba70d1c34357a53c2e1f} that dramatically improves your contribution, you have more energy, more peace of mind, more security.   Now is not the time to take it easy.  I dislike that phrase Take it easy.  NO!  Show up early, stay late, work smarter.  Ever notice that people that say that are not at the top of their game.  They tend to be on the bottom rung of the socio-economic ladder.  Innovate.  THINK!  Bring some new ideas to your boss that will lower operating costs or increase sales.  Let everyone else take it easy.

Consider delegating the tasks that take up most of your time in activities that waste your time, don’t bring you joy, you loathe and hey, you are not good at it!  Invest the time to improve your knowledge and skills in high leverage activities.  Invest in yourself.  20 years ago, in the midst of a recession, I started attending seminars on my own dime.  I began pouring myself through every sales book I could find.  I went to work on my skills and service to others.  This is the key to unlocking your personal and professional potential. Forget trying to teach a pig to sing.  He is only going to get madder than he already is.


A successful life is a paradox.  While we increase our service to others, we also need to take better care of ourselves.  Below is a list of activities that make certain you lower your stress levels and increase your energy.  You will need to have extra energy.  More coffee is not the answer.  Try any or all of the following simple and easy to integrate activities.  They come from some of the finest minds in wellness and health.  RE-Create by:

Drinking twice as much water.  Drink a big glass upon awakening.  Drink a glass ten minutes before every meal.  You will eat less.  Most people are dehydrated.  It manifests itself in lethargy and weakened muscles.

Sleep with the window open.  Fresh air matters.  It will detoxify.

Stretch more.  Upon awakening, invest a couple of minutes reaching for the ceiling, touching your toes.  Watch your cat after a nap.

Go for a twenty minute walk every day.  If you can walk in the woods, all the better.

Eat fruit for breakfast and skip the bagel or donut.

Carve out 5-10 minutes for quiet time.  Sit in chair, close your eyes, and simply BE.  Empty your mind.

Take a hot bath.  Light a candle, put on some music, lock the door, 20 minutes to and for yourself.

Nah, you better not.  You don’t want to be too wonderful!

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