Time Management: arguably one of the most critical aspects of a genuinely productive and happy lifestyle. Although it gets its fair share of coverage, I think it’s important to re-emphasize the importance of this “lifestyle hack” – if you want to call it that.
Many people have goals and ambitions, but often their excuse is that they “don’t have time for it.”
This idea is, of course, entirely bullshit. When individuals say they “don’t have time” for something, what it means is: “I don’t have time for THAT.”
The amount of sheer time wasting the average person does is genuinely something sick.
Academics have done studies of the way people work in office settings and often, the amount of time the average person spends on Facebook or whatever social media platform you can think of far outweighs the time they spend working on the tasks at hand.
In a book written by Alec Mackenzie titled, The Time Trap, he notes that human begins, during crisis time, are incredibly efficient with their time.
For example, if there’s a flood in your city, your survival will depend on the productive use of your time gathering resources and all the necessary tools to keep your ass alive.
In the modern age, there’s no need to use your time efficiently because you have all of the resources you need at your disposal. There’s no real threat.
If you don’t write that article, go to the gym, or talk to that chick, you’re not going to die. There’s no evolutionary pressure on you to get things done in the same manner that was needed to keep you alive when you lived in a cave.
In other words, modern society has made us incredibly spoiled and lazy. A person’s particular task could only take around 45 minutes, but instead, they’ll procrastinate the entire day.
They watch videos and videos and next thing they know, they’ve got Netflix on, and they decide, “Ok, after this movie I’ll finish it.”
However, they don’t complete it. Instead, that person’s project which took only a modicum of time lasted an entire day.
You need a sense of urgency. Anytime I miss a day in the gym, for example, I look at it as if it’s a huge fucking deal, and it is.
In another book I read a long time ago, The Power Of Habit, it explained that human beings are not as conscious as they think they are.
Your behavior is made up of thousands and thousands of little habits that you do every single day.
The reason for this is that it frees up your mind to interpret new information.
If you didn’t have habits, you wouldn’t be able to understand a new environment because it would be too overwhelming for you purely because there would be just too much detail for your brain to process.
The importance of pattern comes in at this moment. I go to the gym every time it’s written down in my schedule because I know that If I don’t go, there’s a chance I won’t go the next day, because every time you break the habit, it slowly loses its strength on your mind and your will.
If you go to the gym every single day as a habit, the days you don’t go will be spent thinking, “why do I feel so shitty today? Damn, I want to go to the gym.”
You’ve ingrained the routine firmly into your mind. Let’s say the strength of your habit of working out is 100%; you’ve never missed a day.
When you DO miss a day, now the power of your habit is at 90%. You’re slowly losing it, and if you keep missing your day in the gym, soon enough it will be all-but-gone, and you’ll never go again.
That’s how I look at these things. I think, “If I don’t do it today, that means the inclination for me to not go tomorrow will be 4x as strong.”
I recently decided that I would hit the gym first thing in the morning and then complete my paid-work for the day rather than finish the writing for my job at the end of the day.
I find that when I leave my essential work for the evening, I often take way too much time to complete the tasks.
What scientists have discovered in the last few years, according to the book Thinking Fast And Slow: a person’s willpower functions similar to a muscle.
Of course, your will isn’t an actual “muscle,” but it works sort of like one, in the sense that it can become exhausted.
For example, Penn Teller – the host of the popular series, Bullshit – explained during a video for Big Think that on the set of a reality series he would often eat fatty foods that he would usually try and ignore.
He revealed that on the set of the show, people often try to present the best versions of themselves. After an entire day of putting on your best face, his willpower was exhausted at the end of the day.
The exhaustion of his will would lead him to cave in and eat shitty food that he knew was to be avoided; what was going on is that his strength-of-discipline was overworked so he would fail to be consistent with his diet.
This idea brings me back to my point about how I started writing my articles and hitting the gym first thing in the morning. I found that when I do these two things – which are arguably the two hardest tasks of the day – I finish them as early as possible that way I can do my more “enjoyable” but more fulfilling jobs at the conclusion of the day.
My results from this have been excellent thus far. There isn’t a single person on this earth that doesn’t waste time, admittedly. But, if you don’t think you have time for something, you have to ask yourself: how much time am I spending every day watching TV, surfing the internet, reading Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, or even just walking around aimlessly?
Today, for example, I went out to a coffee shop nearby and sat there for probably 45 minutes trying to connect to the internet. After that, I took my ass over to a different place to attempt to log onto the shaky ass wifi, and it ended up taking me two hours to do something that should take 30 minutes.
Think about the amount of time you could save just preparing your meals at the start of the week? You can cook a giant pot of rice, chicken, and vegetables and cut up a week’s worth of fruit and eat the same thing for a week. That saves you about 2 hours per day of cooking as well as cleaning. Additionally, to clean up your mess after making food is the most significant time waster.
Or, rather than going to Starbucks, Tim Hortons, or Dunking Donuts to grab a coffee, why not just make a pot at home? Not only will you save money but you’ll keep yourself from having to stop at a store on your way to work.
When I was in University, I used to pack my lunch before I went to work the next day. I had my work clothes and my food laid out for me in a spot where I could access it quickly.
When I woke up in the morning, I grabbed my gym clothes along with me, then traveled to the factory. After a full day’s work, I had a change of clothing waiting for me in my locker.
I was fortunate enough to have a shower at my workplace, so I would shower and change that way I could go get more of my work done at the mall when I finished my “real job.”
At this point, I still had my gym clothing with me so I would take it to the gym afterward and do a workout there. On my way home from the gym – note that I’m riding the bus the whole time – I stopped at the grocery store and grabbed everything I needed.
When I got home, I would make dinner, then do my homework while watching TV before I finally had to go to bed. I filled my days like this for a long time, maybe two years.
I always managed to find a way to get the things I needed to do done. However, I still have more work I can do on my time management skills; there is always something that you can be doing to help yourself.
These people who make excuses about how “they don’t have time for anything,” are merely wasting so much of it on bullshit that doesn’t matter or help them, whether it be Facebook, Youtube, or Instagram.
The sheer amount of time-wasting done by the average person is tremendous. Just take a look around you at people who are on the train or bus. They’re all staring at their phones, looking at Facebook and other trash.
On your commute home, you should be listening to Audiobooks or reading a book on your phone.
In conclusion, a question I ask myself every day is: how can I be better? What do I have to cut off to be more productive, fulfilled, energetic, happy, and accomplished? I’m crossing off all of the things that don’t help me all the time, and I will continue to do so until the day I die. This lifestyle is the only way for me to be happy, to continually improve. If you’re reading this blog, it probably is for you too.