You already know that bartering is exchanging goods or services for other goods and services without using money. But did you realize that you can also barter to get more time to spend on something you really need or love to do?

To barter effectively, you must be aware of your values. Do not trade indiscriminately.  Determine what is important to you in business and life and prioritize those tasks or activities.  If something is important to you and you do not have the time to spend on it, ask yourself what you could trade for it.  You have some options. You could trade money for it by outsourcing it. You could trade another less important task for it by deleting that task of lesser importance and use that time for the more important one. Or you could trade inefficiency for it by managing your time better.

Is it important that you spend more time with the family? Perhaps you can trade money for it by taking a lower paid job with fewer hours.  Or trade recreation for it by giving up a few TV programs, computer games or time on the Internet.

Is it important to be physically fit?  Perhaps you can trade a few dinner meetings, some newspapers, a magazine or two for the time it takes to walk every morning.  Is money important to you? Perhaps you can trade some personal time or travel time, or social activities for a part-time job.

It is a life of trade-offs. You cannot create more time; there are only 24 hours in a day, and it is all being completely used now. The important thing to realize is that you have complete control over the use of your time.  It is a case of sacrificing something of lesser value so you can spend the time on something more meaningful.

Time management experts will never be able to do it for you. You are the only expert there is when it comes to deciding what is important to you.  And you are the only one who really knows what it is you can give up. Sometimes the sacrifice does not have to be too great. You might be able to give up shuffling papers, being indecisive, procrastinating, daydreaming and all those other timewasters that time management experts talk about.  But you will never eliminate them completely. And the amount of time you save may be negli­gible.

The real payoff is in the big trade-offs.  Large chunks of time can be released by simply deciding that some things are not all that important when compared to those things that can be achieved or experienced in the same amount of time.  That is where your priorities come into play.

Want to write a book? Travel around the world? Become a lawyer, doctor, or an expert in a specific discipline? Want to be president of your company? Fluent in two or three languages? A leader of your country? Want to be a successful entrepreneur? A super parent? Missionary? Prayer warrior? Million­aire? Decide what it is you really want. Then decide what you are willing to trade to get it.  You cannot have everything.  But you can have anything.

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Note: The above article is excerpted from my eBook, Time Investments that get results, published and available from Bookboon.com.

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