“I just have so much time on my hands!”
– No Champion of Anything, Ever.
How to manage time? Everyone asks themselves this question sooner or later and I am going to tell you…this post isn’t for everyone. It isn’t for the dabblers, the second guessers, the wait and see-ers or the followers.
This is for the go-getters, the over achievers and the challenge seekers. If that doesn’t sound like you, I would advise you to stop reading.
If you are trying to accomplish the normal things that many other people also accomplish, that’s fine. However, if you are trying to go above and beyond, accomplish something that has never been done before or something out of the ordinary, you may want to consider adopting these practices.
Optimization is defined as making the best or most effective use of the resources around you. Those resources can include your time, your physical self, your intellectual self or the opportunities that you are given. The resource that I am going to spotlight – is time.
One of the most commonly used and abused excuses is, “I don’t have time.” In this read, you will most definitely discover that you do have time. You’re just not using it wisely. If you have a goal (I that assume you do if you’re still reading this), then I would also assume that you would like to get to that goal as soon as possible.
Referencing the definition of optimization that I mentioned, this means that you have to make the most of the resources that you have in front of you. Time is quite possibly the most valuable resource that we have. It is also the most finite and non-renewable resource that we have.
People often accuse me of not being able to relax. While this may be partially true, I am biased because my inability to ‘settle down’ has gotten me results. I don’t truly lack the ability to relax, rather I strategically plan my relaxation time.
During the last baseball off season, I took a one-month solo road trip up the West Coast followed by random travel to eight more cities before finally putting my feet back on the ground in Florida for the pending baseball season. I have already booked a long trip to Australia for this off season.
This is how my year currently looks: Work like a maniac for 9 months, chill and decompress for 3 months. I am as efficient as I possibly can be for those 9 months. I fill every free moment with productive tasks.
In the off season I regulate that part of myself, opting to dim the constant need to be productive. My profession allows me the freedom to travel for a solid part of the year,although I believe that you can apply similar principles to your life even if that isn’t the case.
If you find yourself struggling to find time to do the things you want to do, consider these three things that you could completely or partially cut out of your life.
How to Manage Time? Turn off the Television
The next time you catch yourself saying: “The only time I have to get my oil changed is on the weekend and then I can’t ( Fill in the blank ) like I wanted to!” Ask yourself this question: How many hours of television (educational or otherwise) did you watch this week?
I know what you’re thinking. “But Rachel, I watch the discovery channel! It’s informational!” I would challenge you to ask yourself: Is it more important that you learn about the mating habits of African cockroaches or that you get outside to go hiking over the weekend with your family or friends?
You don’t have time on the weekends to hike with your friends because you didn’t get your oil changed during the week (Or other errand of your choice).
Let’s take a broader perspective. If you have a long term goal like starting your own business, competing in a sport or gaining 10lbs of muscle in the next 2 months, then any time not going towards the accomplishment of that goal is time wasted.
But what if you are able to watch The Voice, Game of Thrones, AND get in your two-hour workout? Great! But what did those 2 pointless hours of television take from you? Did it cut into your sleep? Could you have listened to a business podcast instead?
Instead of saying that you don’t have time to do the things that make you physically, mentally and professionally better, I encourage you to start saying that you don’t have time to watch television because you are too busy optimizing your life.
How to Manage Time? Turn off Social Media
Wait, wait, wait. Before you start pointing your finger, I am most definitely on social media sites. It’s my business. I have to be..
I can almost hear you now: “But, Rachel, I don’t live near my family and friends and I like to see what they are up to! It keeps me connected! And that cat video is informational! Who knew that a cat could fit into a coke bottle?” I too like to see my college teammates’ kids. I really do.
That way when I go home to Nebraska, I can feel like I haven’t completely missed out on every important moment going on at home. But again, what is that time taking away from you? Let me give you a few things to do to curb your insatiable scrolling appetite while keeping in touch with people you care about:
Schedule your use: Only go on 1 time per day and limit it to 20 minutes. That should give you enough time to catch the highlights of your 8 different apps.
Drop the dead weight: The more crowded your news feed, the more time you waste. Get rid of groups, pages and friends that no longer interest you. Before cutting out a significant part of social media from my life, I often thought, “I don’t even know who you are. WHY do I care about the 5k you just ran with your 3 legged dog?”
Delete the apps. (Insert gasps here). This one is for those of you who are up for a mental challenge. All (or at least most) of these websites can be accessed through your computer as well. Deleting them off of your phone will make them MUCH less accessible.
I Don’t Have Time to Listen to Music (This May Have Been the Most Life Changing)
What??? Okay – now she’s gone too far. No music? Yes, that’s right. I haven’t completely abolished the roll of music in my life, but I have greatly reduced my intake. Again I ask, what else could you be doing? The answer for this one? Reading!
If you are that person that says that you don’t have time to sit down and read books, – I encourage you to keep reading.
Think about the hours you have in your day. You sleep 8 hours and you work 8 hours… okay, you work 12 hours and sleep 7 hours per night. Let’s just say you work 60-hour work weeks and you sleep 49 hours per week. That’s literally 59 hours of waking, non-working time.
That’s a full time + part time job! But where does all that time go you ask? I call it the dryer effect. You put in 2 socks and get one out. It just disappears.
This time that disappears in the dryer is given to your ‘getting ready’ time, your mindless errands, driving and God knows what else. Let’s go with an easy example. The average commute time to work in the United States is 24.3 minutes. (My commute to work is 7 minutes.)
Even with my short commute, that’s 49 minutes per week!
But what about the less obvious examples? How about the 5 minutes that it takes for me to walk into my office and unlock all of the doors – that’s 35 minutes per week. What about the 11 minutes it takes for me to walk to my locker room and change my clothes from street clothes to Astros gear? 77 minutes per week.
What about the time I take to shower quickly and change after my morning workout? 140 minutes per week.
Together, just the small things that I mentioned are 301 minutes per week. Yep. 5 HOURS. Holy Lord. That doesn’t even include the mindless errands that I previously mentioned. Then, there are leisure trips.
For example, if I have the rare dinner with a friend or opportunity to go stand up paddle boarding, I have to drive 20 minutes one way to get there. These are only the things that I can recall off the top of my head, and that’s already a lot of time that has gone missing.
But what can you really do about those fragments of time? They are occupied by things that require you to be ‘doing’ something. Let’s bring this back to music. Most of you use those pieces of time – your missing socks, so to speak – to listen to music and pass the the time.
What if you replaced that with audiobooks or podcasts that get you closer to your goal? I have been able to finish a book every two weeks for the past six weeks because I’ve found the missing socks in my schedule.
I also consume 3-5 podcasts per week on the topics of strength and conditioning and business. I allow myself to ‘cheat’ on my information diet with music during my workouts.
My Current Podcast Obsessions:
● Mark Shapiro: The One and Only
● Michael Gervais: Finding Mastery
● Pat Flynn: Smart Passive Income
● Chalene Johnson: Build Your Tribe
My Recent Reading List:
● Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable by Tim Grover
● The Sports Gene by David Epstein
● The 4 Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5 and Live Amongst the New Rich by Tim Ferriss
● Peak: Secrets of the New Science of Expertise by Anders Ericsson, Robert Pool
If you want results that are out of the ordinary, it’s likely that you will have to create a process that is out of the ordinary.
Find out where your socks are going with this free time log: