“If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.”
Sexification Note: This has been a topic that I’ve been focusing on a lot lately as I take on more and more responsibilities and it has been extremely helpful. Hopefully you walk away with the same feeling of awesomeness and empowerment that I did after writing it.
Let me paint a picture for you. Its 12am on a Saturday morning, and I’m just finishing up a pre-bed meal of meat, meat and more meat. It is glorious. I turn on the TV, completely intending for it to be a brief channel surfing session before giving in to my bed’s sweet embrace. That is, until I hear a loud, booming voice ask the question that sends my night spinning into an entirely different direction – can you freeze your farts and smell them later?
My interest is officially piqued.
5 hours later, not only have I figured out the salary range of a pimp, but I’ve also watched the triforce of horrible movies – Ernest Goes To Jail, Ernest Goes To Camp & Ernest Scared Stupid. It is now 5am. I have work at 9. The P.O.N.R. has been passed (point of no return – for those not in the know), so any amount of sleep that I get will only serve to piss me off. My only choice is to stay awake and power through my work day like the champ that I am. Did I also mention that it was Squatin’ Saturday? Needless to say, I ditched that workout for a 360 min static hold in my bed. I’m sure you’re wondering by now what the heck the point of that story was, so I said all of that to say this – if you’re failing to manage your time effectively, then you’re seriously limiting your personal growth potential.
I’m willing to bet that there isn’t one of us who hasn’t at some point wished that there were more than 24 hours in a day. Just imagine the possibilities! The difference between us and the people who are most successful in their field is that many of us act like we live in fantasy land where time is infinite. I know that there have been times where I’ve looked at what I wanted to accomplish, and what I actually did accomplish and threw up my hands in defeat, wishing that some magical troll would drop a few extra hours of time into my lap. I consider myself a logical man, and while I know this wont happen, that doesn’t stop me from often using my time in such a way that you’d actually believe that I thought those extra few hours were on their way. Successful people, on the other hand, simply accept the reality that there is a finite amount of time in the day, and time will only appear as it is created by them. Luckily for us, time management, like any other skill, can be learned if we simply study and apply the habits of those who have been successful in the same pursuit.
You Gotta Get Up To Get Down
The old adage “The early bird catches the worm” is false. Waking up early gives the person a head start in terms of seizing the day, but if they wake up early and do nothing then they’re just getting less sleep for no good reason. Nevertheless, it highlights a very important lesson – waking up early is quite possibly one of the simplest things that we can do in order to maximize our output from a time management perspective, yet a lot of people tend to skip right over this.
Why is that? Well, mainly because it requires effort to do, but I’m sure there are a host of other reasons out there. In order to get up early, you have to go to bed earlier, but the sad truth is that most folks just aren’t willing to make that necessary sacrifice. A lot of people claim that they don’t have time to workout, or have time to cook meals or have time to pursue the goals that they have been putting off for years, but 9 times out of 10 that is just a lie dressed up in truth’s clothing. If your fridge looks like Alanis Morissette in her “Thank You” video, yet you hit the level cap in World of Warcraft in 1 week, don’t say that you don’t have time to do anything because you do – you just chose to do something else with it.
Everyone has the exact same amount of time at their disposal over the course of the day, but where successful people differ from the masses is how they make use of it. In his book Time Power, Brian Tracy highlights the importance of what he coins the “golden hour.” What the golden hour entails is simply waking up an hour or so earlier than you usually do, and working without any interruptions for that entire hour. Now, an hour of working might not seem like a significant amount of time, but think of the long term potential – that’s 7 hours a week, 28-31 hours a month, 365 hours a year that came into existence simply because you committed to making it a habit to wake up one hour earlier.
Is it hard? It can be; permanent change is hard, and anyone who says that it isn’t probably hasn’t done it before. But take solace and find inspiration in the fact that successful people all around the world are doing just that every day – and you can too.
Eric Cressey – 6:30 to 7am.
Brian St. Pierre – 5:30 to 6:45am.
Tony Gentilcore -6:30 to 7am.
Michael Boyle – 5:30am.
Leigh Peele – 5am to 12pm.
JC – 5am.
Krista Schaus – 5:30 to 7am, depending on the time of year.
Ross Enamait – 4:30 to 5am.
Many of the people on this list have children, and all are entrepreneurs with a very busy workload. I’m sure that they would love to get a few more hours of sleep, but do they complain about it? Quite the opposite – they embrace it, learn to love it, and thrive because of it. These people aren’t just waking up early for the sake of doing so – they’re actively using this time to get after it, whether it is answering emails, writing blog posts or what have you. I realize that such a drastic change to one’s lifestyle can be difficult, so just try it out a few days each week and see how much more productive you become.
During my internship at Cressey Performance, I got a chance to see some serious time management experts at work. Take Eric Cressey for example – the guy is a machine. I’ve watched him bang out a heavy set of deadlifts and then for the rest interval head into the office and knock out a quick blog post like it was nothing at all. All of the staff can be found frequently listening to audio books during their commute to and from work, with Brian going as far as to purchase Dragon Naturally Speaking, which is a voice recognition software that allows him to create blog content while on the road – talk about dedication! So what’s the take home point here? Try to make the best use of your time by combining tasks together in order to accomplish more in less time. Cleaning the house? That would be a good time to catch up on some phone calls that you’ve been meaning to make. Cooking dinner? You can always watch an educational DVD while you wait. Stuck in the airport during a layover? Brainstorm some creative ideas. Sitting on the toilet? What a perfect time to read a book! The possibilities are almost endless – use your imagination and see what tasks you can combine to free up some additional time during your days.
How many times have you been in the zone on a particular day – like the Neo of getting things done – only to later derail your train of awesomeness upon the rocks of Facebook or some other distraction? One minute the sun is up and you’re plowing through work, and the next minute its Wesley Snipes dark outside, infomercials are all over the TV, and you’re wondering where the hell your day went. We’re all guilty of this happening, which is completely fine, but it’s when those brief distraction turns into hours of not getting anything done that it can start to become a problem. While I’m not successful by any means yet, one way that I’ve found to help eliminate this problem is to schedule my distractions. When you know that your reward for a hard day’s work is right around the corner it’s easier to continue working diligently until that time arrives. Likewise, when your scheduled time is over, it’s also that much easier to get back into the groove of things now that you’ve imposed limits on yourself.
Personally, I like to schedule an hour of watching the Chappelle Show or playing some multiplayer in Uncharted 2 as my end of the day distraction, but even then I use that time to get in some static stretching or mobility work.
Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep
How would you like to start every morning with a laser-like focus, knowing exactly what your tasks were for the day as soon as you woke up? Well you can, by doing as Brian Tracy suggests and simply planning your next day out before you go to bed. By doing so, your mind is actively at work figuring out solutions to the next day’s tasks and problems, so that when you wake up in the morning you are in ultimate G.S.D. mode, checking task after task off with amazing efficiency. Without such a list, the odds of you waking up and winging it for the entire day are increased by a ridiculous amount. So, no matter how you make the list, whether you do it in bed or while standing on top of your roof, basking in the glorious moonlight, just make sure it gets done.
Neo: What are you trying to tell me? That I can create time magically out of thin air?
Morpheus: No, Neo. I’m trying to tell you that when you’re ready, you won’t have to.
That’s an exact quote from The Matrix. I didn’t change a thing. Nope, not me.