If you are ravenous to know how I manage my time to square with study, workout, reading, cooking, listening to music/podcasts, sketching and much more. Then, this is it! Here's my secret or no secret?!
Annyeong Haseyo nerds! Do you feel disenchanted by the world of informational superhighways? Do you always feel an overarching sense of pressure that there's something that needs to be done? Do you think time is your enemy? Then, this is for ya!
What you see below is interest over the last 12 months of people in India about the term 'Time Management'. Not surprising eh!
I am currently spiraling on data visualizations and I came across this simulation where you can see how people typically spend 24-hour period.
Well, COVID-19 might have changed a few variables but it is still insightful!
There's no difference between a pessimist who says, "Oh, it's hopeless, so don't bother doing anything" and an optimist who says, "Don't bother doing anything, it's going to turn out fine anyway." Either way, nothing happens. - Yvon Chouinard, Founder of Patagonia
Planning is the key
Drum rolls for my pretty planner please!
I do not follow a time bound planning method but rather a checklist method. Here's what I do:
- Define my yearly goals along with monthly milestones
- Break them down into monthly goals and agendas (update it on the 1st of every month)
- Further break them down into quantifiable weekly goals
- To-do list for everyday tasks and a habit tracker
If this sounds too much to you, trust me it's not when you get used to it and it is revolutionary in terms of providing you clarity in life.
Need a sneak peek into my planner? There you go!
Compartmentalize your day
A schedule defends from chaos and whim. - Annie Dillard
I recently finished watching this show called 'Entourage' and it is hilarious.
Now, we have 24 hours.
24/3= 8 hours (which should be our ideal sleep time as per Matthew Walker)
Remaining 24-8 = 16 hours
Unfortunately or not, most of us have to work. Taking out approx 9 hrs of work.
All we have for ourselves is 16-9 = 7 hours
Taking out 2 hrs for getting ready and all your meals we have 5 hrs.
Now, here's the catch: Effectively you have to plan for those 5 hrs and not 24 hrs.
Some tweaks that I make which I am not so proud of is to sleep less CUZ THERE IS LITERALLY SO MUCH TO DO!
Here's how I plan my day!
I won't deny there are usual lapses from the plan on some days but you have to remember one thing: MUST TO-DO.
MUST TO DO are 3 things which I do everyday no matter if I work for 15+ hrs.
It is to study, read and workout. What is it for you?
Deep work is paramount
Even if you list down your task, the reason we falter from our schedule is because we do not do it on time.
You can do 2 things :
- Either revise your goal, if it is too ambitious
- Engage in deep work
Take out time where you are not disturbed by anyone, put your phones away and do what you gotta do! It's that simple.
Anatomy of a great day
Study your 5-star days! Yes, I am serious.
When you have a day which is productive and satisfying, study it.
Save it for the future, so that you can repeat it.
Pay attention to what your goals and priorities were. Consider the different activities you did. How much time you spent alone and with other people?
When did you smile or feel proud?
Who you are, what you think, feel and do, what you love - is the sum of what you focus on. - Winifred Gallagher
I agree that there are days when you just don't feel like doing anything and hence you stray from your schedule, which is every Friday for me!
It is prudent to plan in advance for such days. I call them BUFFER DAYS.
These are days you use, when you have essentially f***** up your schedule.
These are days you use for recharging yourselves and covering all your lags.
You should at least have 1/2 a day and minimum 2-3 days in a month where you can breathe without worrying about anything.
Makes you less anxious when you f*** up.
In the world of action and negotiation, there is one principle that governs others: The person who has more options has more power. - Tim Ferriss
There's no one I respect more for consistency then David Goggins.
One mistake is just an outlier. Two mistakes is the beginning of a pattern. Killing this pattern before it snowballs into something bigger is one reason why learning how to get back on track quickly is an essential skill for building good habits.
- James Clear, Atomic Habits
I am a stickler for consistency. The essence lies in execution and not just planning but you have to do it everyday.
Also, never ever ever ever miss two days in a row. Otherwise, it is a lost habit.
Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. - Chuck Close
Here's one more, if this didn't hit you hard:
Great creative minds think like artists but work like accountants. - David Brooks
PLANNING = f(PRIORITIES)
And I can go on. The bottom line is to decide what you really want in life?!
While we are at it, one last bit of advice.
Idleness is indispensable.
Don't you also feel that life is just a string of decision making and balancing?
Among all this hustle, make sure that you create spaces to reflect. It is usually weekends for me where I experiment with food, sketch, dance, binge-watch and what not!
Lately, I have realized that most of the crazy ideas I had was when I was bored. Each one of us needs a detox from the screens (read Big Brother) around us.
Take out time to introspect and do nothing.
Step off the treadmill!
People say that what we are seeking is a meaning for life. I don't think this is what we're really seeking. I think what we are seeking is an experience of being alive. - Joseph Campbell
So, how do you spend your time?