The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment by Elizabeth Grace Saunders

Time Investment

RATING: 5/10…READ: January 20, 2013

The first half of this book tackles a lot of useful invisible scripts we have running our lives when it comes to how we spend our time. This was very useful. The three secrets are action, realistic expectations, and creating routines to stick to your plan. This half of the book was a grab bag of ideas and scenarios. I did not need 256 pages of time management.

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The rich invest in time, the poor invest in money. –Warren Buffet

Let’s take a moment to quickly address a mental battle that many people face: They believe that if they don’t feel like doing something, that means that they don’t want to do something and therefore can’t do it.  NOT TRUE: Example: eating healthy

Investments in the invisible assets of character, knowledge, relationships, and reputation pay better interest rates than any bank that has ever existed.


Harmful: I must do whatever it takes to keep up with my environment

Helpful: I can choose to modify my environment and my response to my environment so that I feel comfortable with the pace and quantity of what is asked of me.

Harmful: Not being able to keep up is my fault and means there is something wrong with me.

Helpful: I can improve my efficiency but ultimately need to accept and embrace what is reasonable for me to accomplish.


Harmful: There is nothing really wrong, so I just need to push myself to do what needs to be done.

Helpful: If I’m experiencing doubt, hesitation, mental debates, or other signs of internal dissonance, I have some conflicting thoughts or feelings.

Harmful: Stopping to consider anything unrelated to directly taking action is a waste of time.

Helpful: It’s essential to address the internal conflict before moving forward.


Harmful: The world is dangerous, unstable place, and I am alone and vulnerable

Helpful: I cannot prevent all change and insulating myself from new inputs limits my opportunities.

Harmful: I must preserve the status quo because any change signals a personal attack against me and what I hold dear.

Helpful: I can take the appropriate actions to prepare for the future and then trust that in the moment I can respond appropriately to whatever happens.


Harmful: If I don’t meet my standards or other’s expectations of me, I’m a failure and absolutely worthless.

Helpful: I have nothing to prove.

Harmful: There is no excuse for not performing to the proper level or for disappointing others.

Helpful: I can do my best to meet certain standards. But if I do not meet them, it does not mean that I am a failure; it just means that I did not get certain results from my actions.

Harmful: I cannot rest until I’ve done everything, and I can never forgive myself for mistakes.

Helpful: If I do feel that I’ve made a mistake, I can learn from the situation and ask for and accept forgiveness from myself and others.


Harmful: I am fatally flawed.

Helpful: I am accepted, loved, and wanted right now—just as I am.

Harmful: If others knew who I really was, they would reject me.

Helpful: Others can know and love me.

Harmful: I must wear a mask, project an image, pretend, and always be in control.

Helpful: I can be my true self and reveal who I am, especially to those closest to me.

It is enough being me. I don’t have to be fast or especially smart or funny or self-confident. I can make progress just as I am. 

I don’t have to judge success based on results. I can evaluate success as doing what I planned and committed to do. The results are just a by-product that happens or doesn’t happen depending on lots of factors. I can move forward step by step and cheer myself along. 

If I don’t achieve certain results, I will be 100 percent on my side. I will comfort myself. I will not beat myself up. I will remember that I did what I could do without killing myself, and I will think of a way to move forward. My safety comes from knowing that there will not be a terrible, terrible thing that happens if my results don’t measure up and I seem to have failed. I will go on unharmed. I will not judge myself by the results. I will evaluate whether I keep doing something. That is all I can do, move forward, and I am allowed to feel successful each day by appreciating just that. 


Harmful: When I _______ I will be happy

Helpful: I am grateful for what I have and where I am now.

Harmful: I deserve what I have and I’m entitled to things being how I want them.

Helpful: I am very thankful and feel fortunate for everything that I have in my life.


Harmful: The future is grim and I will be disappointed

Helpful: Good things await me, and I’m excited about the future

Harmful: If I meet a challenge I cannot overcome on the first try, it’s all over, I’m doomed.

Helpful: If I hit a roadblock or have a setback I can try again with a new strategy or more effort. If I keep at it, I can succeed.


Harmful: Focusing on my thoughts instead of my actions is a waste of time.

Helpful: My thoughts play a critical role in my ability to perform the right actions.

Harmful: It’s impossible to slow down my mind or focus.

Helpful: It may not come easily or naturally to me, but I can choose to spend a small amount of time each day on mind time.


Harmful: If I’m just more efficient, I can do everything right now.

Helpful: I have a limited capacity, so I need to make choices about what’s most important and let go of the rest.

Harmful: If this is important to someone else, it should be important to me.

Helpful: I can choose to invest my time in what I genuinely find meaningful and satisfying.


Harmful: I must be as good or better than everyone around me

Helpful: I can accept myself as I am right now and celebrate improvement from my previous performance.

Ninety percent perfect and done almost always leads to a bigger positive impact than 100 percent perfect and stuck in your head.


Harmful: It’s impossible for me to meet these expectations, but I need to suck it up and deal with it.

Helpful: I need to get a clear sense of what’s on my agenda right now and then talk through what’s reasonable with the other people involved.

Strengthening the “No” Reflex: Most people’s automatic reply to any request is, “Sure, I can do that.” To avoid this knee-jerk reaction, always ask for time to think about your response when someone asks you about making a significant time commitment in person, over the phone, or by e-mail. Practice saying, “I really appreciate this offer but want to have the opportunity to review my other commitments before I make a decision. Would it be reasonable for me to get back to you by tomorrow afternoon?” Then be sure to follow up at that time.


Harmful: Why can’t others measure up

Helpful: Am I using the right measuring stick?

-What challenges does the person face?

-What weaknesses does the person have?

-What people or things might have stood in the person’s way?

-What might I not know that could make a difference in how I perceive the situation?

-Am I actually in a close enough relationship with the person that I have the authority to evaluate his or her actions?

-Are my standards based on perfectionist tendencies?

-How can I maintain a positive attitude toward the person and help him or her learn from mistakes and disappointments?

-What sort of feedback will the person find most motivating? Does he or she respond best to praise for positive behavior or penalties for negative behavior?

“True stability results when presumed order and presumed disorder are balanced. A truly stable system expects the unexpected, is prepared to be disrupted, and waits to be transformed.”


Harmful: The only way to make progress on a big project is to completely throw myself into it and neglect my needs and my relationships

Helpful: When I follow a routine, I can make consistent, peaceful progress on a big project without sacrificing my healthy or key relationships.

Invisible Script: “But I don’t like routine.”

-I don’t have to like routine. But I can choose to incorporate it into my life to create more of the peace, joy, and sense of control that I really want to experience.

Invisible Script: “Routines will hinder my creativity.”

-Routines give me more time to set aside for my creative work because I’m more efficient at getting other things done. Also, I’m better able to enter the “flow state” because I’m not worrying about what I might be forgetting.

Invisible Script: “I’ll miss out on opportunities.”

-I do not need to make my entire life routine! I can just choose to add structure where I most need it to reduce stress.

Invisible Script: “I don’t like knowing what’s coming next.”

-I can plan routines, schedule prompts (such as reminder e-mails, alarms, or even people), and then forget about what I planned. Then it still feels like a surprise.

Invisible Script: “Routines make life boring.”

-I have choice in how I perform routine activities. For example, I can choose to exercise a different way each day, or I can spend my writing time in different locations. I can also use routine to decrease negative stress and increase opportunities for new experiences and spontaneity— such as room for a new relationship or a trip.


Harmful: If something doesn’t feel like fun or natural from the beginning, it’s wrong and unsustainable.

Helpful: My new routines may feel awkward at first, but as I practice them, they will become more natural and comfortable.