People say a lot of things about time:
“Time is the same for everyone each day.”
“Time is fleeting – and life is short.”
“Time is money.”
“Time is the stuff life is made of.”
I could go on, but the point I’m trying to make is that time is valuable. I think most people need to reminded of this every so often even though it’s a rock solid truism. At times we forget how precious time really is, but that clock still keeps ticking. It’s pretty ruthless like that…
And with that said, I don’t care if you’re a Wall Street trader or a beach bum, you could probably use more time in your life. You want to have more space within which to do the things you love. And, of course, to do the necessary “daily grind” things that you might not like so much as well.
Now, I’m not trying to contend that you can actually create more time out of thin air. I’m spiritual – not magical. If you actually believed that you probably wouldn’t be here reading this article. Instead you’d be rummaging through a dumpster downtown, looking for a discarded TV dinner box to use as special hat – one that could transport you to a mythical world full of unicorns and giant talking Kit Kat Bars. Or something like that…
Instead, this is all about rearranging your time to make what you do have more functional, since you can’t really beat that 24 hour clock. The good news though is that there’s a good chance you’re doing things that are sucking the time (and maybe the life) right out of you that you could quit right now. And I’d also bet that despite my lack of true wizardry, if you give these tips a shot, you just might actually feel like you’ve created some brand new hours in your day.
And having more time is like snagging that brand new car off of the show room floor. It looks good, and makes you feel even better.
Try these tips to take time that you forgot you had and use it for stuff that’s actually important:
1. Get the F#$* off Facebook
So Facebook is useful – I can appreciate that.
But it’s also hugely addicting. And it can be a giant time-sucking vacuum.
How many times per day do you need to check your newsfeed just to look at the pointless minutia people post that’s mostly comprised of time-wasting videos, negative rants, or inconsequential digital conversations? And how many times do you need to know what your narcissistic friend who updates their status 20 times per day is doing?
The problem with “checking” Facebook is that none of us really “check” it at all. It’s never a quick couple of minutes. It tends to be five minutes of perusing profiles that turns into 45 minutes of lost time that you can never get back.
Nevermind the fact that studies now show that Facebook makes us depressed and feel less truly connected to one another.
Cut your Facebook sessions down to 5-10 minutes a couple times a day and pull the plug on the addiction. You’ll have more time to go out and do all the fun shit that your Facebook friends want you to think they’re doing.
2. Save Time with Sleep
Yep, we all know sleep is important.
We can’t really change that. And it’s kind of of boring advice, but it’s true.
The thing is though, how you sleep – both the amount and the quality of your sleep – can play a huge role in how productive you are during the day. And, if done right, modifying your sleep schedule in a special way literally can create additional time in your day that you – and most other people – have never had.
Let me explain.
First of all, in terms of how you sleep, just having a regular sleep schedule and getting 8 hours of shut eye per night helps you squeeze more time out of the day. That’s because although you’ll have the same number of hours that you normally would, you’ll be more productive than if you were sleep deprived or even if you slept too much. (turns out sleeping too much is almost as bad as sleeping too little).
More importantly, (and this is the kicker) there’s actually a way to save time with sleep by doing less of it while still giving your body enough to function optimally. This of course leaves lots of extra time to do other things that you never had time for. Some people have been able to get by on 2-3 hours of sleep with this approach for months (or longer) at a time.
And yea, it sounds nuts but it works.
It’s called polyphasic sleep and it revolves around the idea that humans may be able to sleep in multiple short stints rather than one long stretch at a time. The thing is, the multiple short stints (aka naps) often don’t add up to being anywhere near the amount of sleep that one gets when they use monophasic sleep – or sleeping like most people do by going to sleep at night and waking up in the morning. This results in the person having a lot of spare time since polyphasic sleep often only requires half (or even less) the time that a typical sleeping style does.
There are different views out there about whether or not polyphasic sleep is better for you, but many great thinkers, artists, and writers throughout history have used this approach to give them more time to do tons of useful things. Like reading, writing, thinking, socializing, and not getting on Facebook.
3. Kick your
reality imaginary TV habit
The average person spends several hours per day watching TV. If you wanna be average, then you should do the same. If not, change this habit immediately. Not only is watching the tube killing your time and hurting your health by sitting on the couch for hours on end, but the reality shows you’re flipping to are probably brainwashing you.
And let’s think about it for a moment. What does your choice of programming say about you?
If you are content following the
misadventures boring-plot-less-scripted lives of wanna be “stars” (ie the Jersey Shore crew, etc.) what does that say about how dull your own life is??
And yea, I can hear the argument now -
I only watch those shows so I can “turn off” my brain. Just to relax and not have to think.
I can appreciate that – to a point.
The problem is that reality TV is probably more addicting – and way less useful – than Facebook. Unfortunately it confers no utility whatsoever so that makes it about ten times worse than the social networking site. (Facebook is at least useful).
Reality TV will suck you in and suck you dry. Minimize the amount of time you spending vegging out to these
scumbags’ peoples’ scripted, baseless crap and you’ll thank me later.
Trust me on this one.
4. Exercise to Get more Usable Hours out of your Day
We all know about the myriad health benefits of exercise. Unfortunately, these often don’t motivate people to get off their ass and do something physical with their bodies.
Part of the problem might lie in how we perceive exercise. Most people think about it in a very simple – and limited – way.
Exercise is painful, annoying, boring, etc.
Exercise is time consuming. There aren’t enough hours in the day for it.
And it’s that fundamentally flawed logic that screws most people up. As if the other “negatives” people assume go along with working out weren’t enough, most folks really think that exercise is a time waster.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Studies show this, and my experience supports it as well.
Admittedly, I’ve gone for brief periods where I didn’t work out. Suddenly I wasn’t spending 30 minutes, 1 hour, or even 2 hours per day working out and of course I filled that time with other things. I’ll concede is that I began to think that I suddenly had all of this time to spend each day on something else. But it was a misconception.
The truth was that although I technically had more open time, I actually had less usable time because I was lazier and not as productive overall. I realized when I got back to my regular workout regimen that I had more energy, more focus and that I actually effectively got back more time from my workouts than I invested.
That’s because I was now able to extract more out of the moments that I did have. Time that, in reality, I had all along.
Oh yea, and I derived all the typical health benefits as well.
A pretty good investment of time and effort if you ask me.
5. Kill your Email Addiction
This is another area that a lot of people need to work on. Throughout our day, most of us go around taking care of “necessary daily grind” things. This is what I use to refer to work or errands or meetings that we don’t necessarily want to be involved in but have to. While annoying, most of us can’t get out this stuff. It’s not a big deal and it’s part of life, but it feeds into something else that all of us do everyday, multiple times per day.
That is, we look for things that are new or novel that give us a sense of excitement and pleasure. Now, despite the fact that that may sound semi-philosophical, it’s not. What it basically means is that we’re all hedonists that are directed by our physiology to look for things that make us happy – even if they’re actually bad for us or don’t matter. And it’s pretty simple, really. All of those little things that you experience throughout the day that you like: a bite of that chocolate, a text message from your significant other, a new Facebook message, or checking your email all give us a nice brief hit of dopamine – a brain chemical that makes us feel good.
Unfortunately it’s this same brain chemical that’s involved in addiction and time-wasting activities like watching TV, checking websites multiple times per day, gambling, and even binge drinking.
And if the idea of getting addicted to any of the above things doesn’ t scare you, think about all the time you really waste checking, checking, checking that crap all day. It’s time you’ll never get back and it’s totally devoid of substance.
For this reason, I recommend checking your email one to times per day max.
One thing that I’ve found to be very helpful towards that end is to unsubscribe to unimportant mailing lists that you may have opted in for. It’ll definitely decrease that urge to constantly check – and to be tethered to your iPhone, Blackberry, etc.
So to recap:
“Unfriend” your Facebook urge
Modify your sleep schedule to manufacture more time
Throw away your television
Untether yourself from email
Give those strategies a shot and I guarantee you’ll squeeze more time out of your day. Make it happen.