I like to kick it real over here at Limitless. No sugar-coating anything. One of the biggest obstacles I hear to achieving optimal health and wellbeing is TIME. I definitely can attest to a lack of time. It’s seems like there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done.
It seems as if time is our biggest nemesis. Our Darth Vader if you will. We don’t have enough time to workout, not enough time to prepare meals, not enough time to take on a new activity or challenge, not enough time to live.
We use time in two ways that are very different from one another.
- The scapegoat poor guy takes the heat and all the blame as to why we are not getting shit done (from now on referred to as GSD, to keep it PG for the younger crowd).
- As an ego boost funny thing is we also like to use him (and yes, time is masculine because time has an ego the size of texas) as an ego boost. We admire the art of being busy. If you’re to busy to have fun, play, workout, eat right, or RELAX we must be doing much more important things and working hard right? Thus, lack of time=we are super-duper important.
Poor guy is so confused. So this post is not for you, for me, or for anyone in particular. This post is for the sake of Time. If you’re out there buddy I hope this clears up some of the confusion about how we treat you and hopefully address some ways to utilize your resources more effectively.
Time is what we want most, but what we use worst. – William Penn
Conditioned to be busy little bee’s
The good news it’s not all our fault that we have shitty time management skills and associate being busy with being important. Dyana Valentine put it best in a recent interview with BlogcastFM
“… We have all these responsibilities, and we’re suppose to want all of these responsibilities, we have a script we expected to follow. Working through our lives to check of these boxes…
We have been conditioned at a young age to play by a certain set of rules. There is a certain path expected for all of us to take, certain responsibilities we all must have (sometimes by a certain age), a cookie cutter mold for all of us to fit into.
We try to do everything ourselves, take on as many projects and tasks as possible, and fit nicely into that mold so that we sound more important than we actually are. The funny thing is that all of use are VERY important but our schedule doesn’t define that our experiences do and they we give back to this world does.
Our priorities are all jacked up
Repetitive tasks and errands also take on the role of monster time consumers and ego boosts. We’ll give priority to doing laundry, washing the dishes, making our beds, or other routine activities over our health and well-being. Instead of getting in a 20 minute body weight workout we some how decided that doing the laundry has to be done this instant and can not wait. Preparing our meals for the next day is less valuable than sweeping the kitchen floor and dusting the lamp shades. Going wine tasting over the weekend is not as important as working on the garage, answering emails, or playing phone tag.
We miss out on some really sweet opportunities to experience some amazing things with family, friends, and significant others. Neglect our own health and wellness all because saying “sorry, I can’t… I’m super busy” makes us seem totally awesome.
So here’s a challenge: This week put on a dirty shirt or wear one two days in a row. You’ll find that the world does not come to and end and passing on doing the laundry in order to get in a run or play tennis with your kid or girlfriend is a more productive way to spend your time.
Look around. The busy and stressed, out number the productive and relaxed
I’d say a good 8 out of 10 (the old 80/20 rule) of my friends are stressed out about work, significant others, family, school, etc… I can really see it playing a huge part in mood, health, nutritional habits, addictions (caffeine & sugar), relationships, and general quality of life.
So the question is then why are we so busy?
THE ANSWER: Because being busy is easier than being productive.
Being busy looks like getting shit done. Productive actually IS getting shit done.
Quantity over quality is the emphasis. Take on as much as possible, try to be everywhere for everyone, and every time you get one thing done you add two more. Often it leads to abandoned projects, giving up on goals, and sacrificing our own health and well-being for the sake of appearing more important than we are. I apologize if the honesty stings a bite here or you disagree but essentially that is why we try to stay as busy as possible.
Having free time to play, enjoy life, pursue personal goals has somehow become viewed as being lazy.
I used to be that guy. Running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to take on any little meaningless task I could in order to appear busy. I feel into that trap of validation by which I was only being busy in order to appear more important.
Being busy usually involves little to no structure. There are no clear goals, actions being taken, or virtues being met.
But look, lets not kid ourselves. Most of us actually do have responsibilities like work, family, significant others. So how can we juggle all of this and still find time to workout, eat right, and pursue passions?
So here’s a challenge #2: Turn your phone, the computer, and the TV off for the entire weekend. Run no errands and do no house chores. Wake up and do what ever the F you want.
“Time is really the only capital that any human being has, and the only thing he can’t afford to lose.” – Thomas Edison
Let’s Get Shit Done
David Allen has a pretty world-renowned book written all about the art of getting things done. He also has a pretty cool site dedicated to the practice as well. Although I am not David Allen I think I have some pretty cool insight into spending our time being more productive so we can pursue more of what we love and less of what we don’t
Productivity is a matter of engagement. If you enjoy what you are doing you’ll be more productive.
1. DO NOTHING! Pretty sure I just heard some of you gasp. Yeah, I’m serious. Do absolutely nothing. If you need help doing nothing visit this site and check back with me……. How many of you just failed that. Show of hands? No shame here at Limitless. Doing nothing takes practice. Like I said earlier we have been conditioned to be busy and to equate being busy with something that is good and important.
Start small, 1-2 hours a week. Take maybe an hour one day a week and just sit and breath. Turn off the phone, any other distraction, don’t even talk. Just sit still and relax. Go outside and take in the sun while you’re at it.
2. Plan everyday: I’m all for spontaneity but when it comes to GSD most of us need to plan out our day. The easiest way to do that is to take time out before your day is over and schedule out tomorrow for yourself. Make appointments not only with others but yourself as well. Take out a pen and paper or use some of the cool apps out there like re.Minder, remember the milk, or toodledo. I use re.minder that beeps me every hour and ask “What the F are you doing now!” It seems to work.
They key is to not overwhelm yourself with writing down every little thing. Writing down do the laundry is not necessary. Pick three things tops that need to get done the next day. Three things that if you do not get done would make the day seem like a waste. Also try to focus on items that will put you in a good mood.
It’s also an excellent idea to estimate how long it is going to take you to complete the task. If getting in a workout is on your list try to factor in the time frame you will need to complete it. Do you need to drive to the gym, shower after, etc…?
3. Tough things first: Piggy-backing off number two here the first item on that to do list for the day should be the toughest task or the one that you struggle with most. If you are always skipping a workout later in the day this is a great time to create an appointment with yourself and get it done. I have the 52 book s in 52 weeks goal so I make sure I set aside at least 30 minutes every morning to read.
This will also build momentum for the rest of the day. If you can knock that toughest thing out first I guarantee it will be like a weight off your shoulders. The rest of the day will be a breeze.
4. Honor thy appointments: If you make an appointment with yourself or with anyone else for that matter DON’T cancel it. Especially with yourself. As humans we have this weird quality where we strive to not let anyone else down but it’s ok to let ourselves down. If you scheduled an appointment with yourself to workout then keep it!
All while doing this try to limit commitments as much as possible. If you really do not want to do something then just say so. Take on the ones that play to your strengths, core virtues, and allow you to really contribute and give back. If someone asks you to help out with a garden and you have no clue what you are doing maybe pass on that commitment, unless of course learning the art of gardening is something you really would like to understand. On the flip side if you’re a Paleo, vegetarian, or vegan guru and a friend asks you to help them out for a day getting their nutrition straight and whisking up some cool recipes go on and row that boat! You’re playing to your strengths and really have the opportunity to contribute.
5. Get rid of limbo: There is nothing worse than being in limbo. What is limbo you ask? I’m so glad you did.
Limbo: an unknown intermediate place or condition between two extremes; a prison or confinement
Pretty much sounds like hell to me. Moral of the story is if something comes up and you can do it right way or answer right away than do it! It’s not to say do it mindlessly but digest what it is you are reviewing, maybe check you schedule, and then answer. This is a big one for email. If you open that inbox and there is a message in there ANSWER IT! That’s what you went to the email for anyway right? Instead of playing email tag maybe ask them to give you a call if there needs to be any clarification. That way you can resolve any issues immediately and move on as to avoid being in limbo.
6. Batch the mundane: All those small little tasks that we make so important but really have no significance in our development as kick ass people should be batched. This works for some and not for others but I find it very useful. I like to dedicate a couple of hours one day a week to where I will be taking care of those little tasks. Household chores, errands to run, etc… I like to call it my
“Damn, I really don’t want to do this crap but I do understand it eventually needs to be done list.”
Laundry, yard work, grocery shopping, and the like are all done here. It usually takes a couple of hours but when it’s all said and done I know I have the rest of the week I can concentrate on dominating.
7. Respect the law of diminishing returns: The idea is that the continued application or repetition of a skill, task, or project is subject to decline in effectiveness after a certain level of achievement has been reached. Long story short, know yourself and how you operate. If you start to feel the decline in productivity I would suggest working 5-10 more minutes past that point to build up a resistance to the stress. Allow yourself to get to the point where you feel a little anxiety and frustration being at it so long but right when you feel that take a break! If you’re at work and you get to that point simply step outside, get some sunlight and fresh air, and seriously knock out a few push-ups, lunges, or jumping jacks. It will totally reset your jets!
8. Review: Take time at the end of your day to review what you got done. Was your most important/difficult task complete? Was it your goal to get in your workout and prepare meals for the week? If not, where did things go wrong and what can you do to fix it for tomorrow?
Yup, challenge #3: For the entire week anytime someone asks you to do something just say no. No explanation just say No. You can add I have an appointment with myself if you’d like. it’s not being rude it’s just showing that it’s ok to say no sometimes.
So lets wrap this up shall we?
So what can you put on your list for tomorrow? The most important thing in your life now. Is it getting in a workout? Spending time talking to a family member on the phone?
This whole “I’m to busy mess” really means that “It’s not that important to me.”
So find out what is. Ask yourself the question. What is important to me now? Then go on and commit, enjoy, and share with others.
Having time to enjoy yourself, others, and passions does not make you any less important or lazy. I’d say it makes you smart because you’re able to GSD.
How are you making yourself busy today?