Time Management

And why I need to improve.

April 23, 2018

Time management is one of those things that you should have implemented a year ago to in order see the benefits today.

It’s something that incrementally improves your life over time. It isn’t always a noticeable shift in productivity levels or output.

So, as they say, the next best time to start is right now.

Changes I’d Like To Make

Today is my birthday 🎉. I’m 26. I typically get very introspective on my birthday. It’s a time for me to reflect on how I’m doing as a human being.

26 may not seem old to you, but time is flying. If I don’t actively manage my time it will slip away so easily. Before I know it I will be 36.

I don’t have time to spend on social media. I don’t have time to play games, or watch TV. I don’t have time to consume.

On the other hand, I do want to make improvements in my social relationships and time spent in those areas. So by default I do need to spend some amount of time on social media, playing games with people and consuming with them.

But, consumption doesn’t have to be my default. In fact, it should be hard for me to consume, and easy for me to produce.

Changing your environment is just about the only sure-fire way to make changes in your life. If you don’t have control on your environment, it by default controls you.

I’d like to make more time to spend on things that matter. Faith, family, health, and work. Pretty much anything outside of those circles doesn’t matter.

I’d like to spend less time consuming, and actively manage the time that I do spend consuming (doing it on my own time and not on other people’s time).

I’ve talked about all of this before, but I’ve never changed my environment to give me the boost I need to stay productive, stay focused, and really enhance the important things in my life.

I want this shift in momentum to be able to carry me through different seasons as things change around me. I want my default habits to enrich my life, not fill me with regrets.

My New Rules

  • Drink Lots of Water: If I’m thirsty, I’ve waited too long. This will dramatically reduce how often I get headaches and my overall health will increase.
  • Do Things To Delight Others: Little things go a long way. Do at least one thing every day. Funny things happen when you try to figure out how you can bless someone.
  • Leaders Eat Last: Put others first. Always be thinking about how you can benefit those around you.
  • Make A List of 6 Things To Get Done: It’s simple. List them in order of importance, and complete them in that order. If you get 3 of them done it means you had a successful day. Continue that list into tomorrow. Do this everyday and you’ll make lots of progress in any venture.
  • Cut Out Consumption: Every once in a while I get on a social media binge. I need to be producing, not consuming.
  • Working Out Isn’t Just About Getting Fit: I need to work out to reduce my stress levels. When I am stressed, I tend to get very little work done.
  • Write Things Down (Everything): I can’t tell you how many times I have forgotten something that I should know. Brains should be used for computation, not storage. Write things down so they are stored somewhere else.
  • Track Your Progress: You can’t improve what you can’t measure. Get data, and act on that data.
  • Think Long Term: The actions you do today will change who you are tomorrow. Stop thinking so short term. You’re in this for the rest of your life.
  • Communicate. Over communicate.: It really helps me to let others know how I feel, what I’m doing and how I feel about them. It helps me because it informs them, and they can make better decisions with better information, which directly impacts me in the long term.
  • Listen To Music While You Work: Music helps me focus while I work. It eliminates distractions and gets my mind in the right place when I listen to something on repeat.

This list changes a lot, but these things are

So, it might seem like this list is somewhat random, but I actually wrote this list back in July. I don’t really actively do any of these things. I only do them as a reaction, not as an active participant.

Here’s some other truth’s I’ve written about in the past:

Win The Morning, Win The Day

This is the truth. It’s not debatable. The best way to set yourself up for success is to have a strict blueprint that you follow every morning. This allows you to get in the right mindset for the day, and stabilize your state.

Life Is A Marathon

I’m convicted of this in my own mind when I think about quitting something due to a lack of effort. Why would you quit in months on something that you want to do for the rest of your life? The rest of your life.

I’m 26, let’s guess I have 64 years left. I have 64 years of work, passion, love, and success ahead of me. The things that I do every day will be the biggest indicator of how I will grow over time.

Start Small

Every time I try to change a lot of things (habits, ‘passions’, goals, etc.), I end up going back to what I call my ‘default self’. My default self isn’t who I want to be.

When you start small with goals and changing habits, you slowly change your default self rather than just changing for that day. When you change your default self, you can rely on your newfound habits. That’s when success comes to you naturally.

Journal (write)

I’ve found this to make the largest impact on my clarity and focus for the day. When I write, I let my thoughts do the talking. And when I let them talk, they figure out what they need to be doing.

When I have an explicit direction for the day, it’s not hard to accomplish what I set out to do. But when I don’t have clarity of mind, I often neglect the things I should be working on for other things that I can procrastinate on.

And here’s an insight into what an Ideal day looks like for me:

Ideal Day

  • Run
  • Lots Of Water
  • Healthy, Low-Carb Meals
  • Bible Reading / Prayer Time
  • Play Time / Learning Time with My Kids
  • Wife Time
  • Work that I love (business that I own)
  • Tasks Planned
  • 8 Hours of Actual Work
  • Be With People I Love

Non-Ideal Day

  • No Exercise
  • Headache from Lack of Water
  • Lots of Carbs (and feeling bloated)
  • No Bible / Spiritual Time
  • To Tired To Play With Finn
  • Just Going To Bed and No Conversations / Intimacy
  • Dead-end Day-Job
  • Tasks At A Whim
  • Only and Hour or Two of Actual Work
  • Isolation

The crazy thing is, the non-ideal day is what most days look like for me.

That needs to change.

As you can see, I’ve thought a lot about what I should and shouldn’t be doing. But, if you were to grade me on my performance as of right now, I’d be barely passing. I’m nowhere near where I want to be as a person.

So, if you read this, you know the bar I have set for myself. You also know the framework for how I decide to spend my time. If you don’t fit in that framework, it’s going to be increasingly harder for you to take my time away from me.

Hold me accountable, and think about how you should be spending your own time. What could you be doing differently? How can you improve?