How not managing my time helped me getting things done
Managing time has failed me, and it likely failed you too. If you ever dreamed about being a high-performance individual you might have come across time management strategies, just as I did. Despite being an organized person, running all sorts of to-do lists and calendars, I never have sticked to my plans for a long time.
We all think about things we want to learn, goals we want to achieve. Despite self-improvement being more popular than ever, majority of us fails to get where they really want.
From one perspective, it has to be this way. Just imagine how the world would look like if everyone were successful. It ain’t gonna happen.
A word about time
We all have 24h at our disposal. Sure, that’s not entirely true that we can use 100% of that time for productive tasks. On the other hand, for our discussion, it doesn’t really matter that much how much time you have left. You see, there are people in this world who are having a lot on their plate (being a parent, 9–5 job and other obligations) and you will find both successful and unsuccessful people in this group. On a similar note, you will have a lot of people with plenty of “free” time that is wasted on social media, youtube, reading articles online etc.
A conclusion here is that it doesn’t matter how much time you have under your disposal. You are reading this article so you are likely to be living in a developed country, having a decent standards of living and struggle to get yourself free from social media addiction that the world pushes us into. It is just as true that you can make yourself more free time as it is true to say that you can make more of your time without changing your daily routine at all.
We often feel miserable that we didn’t checked off all tasks from our todo list. Of course, we know that nobody’s perfect and we might get bad and good days on our journey. The source of your misery is that you didn’t meet your expectation. You had the time throughout the day, you just didn’t make most out of it. I can assure you that if you made most out of your day and still missed a thing or two you wouldn’t feel bad about it.
Also imagine that the day has 48 hours. Do you think you’d be happy living in that world? The answer is — no. You would quickly start scheduling more tasks to fit whatever your expectation of efficiency within 48-hour would be. And you would still fail to achieve them.
Focus on attention instead
Let’s say your current morning routine is
- wake up at 6:00
- breakfast until 6:30
- workout until 7:30
- reading until 8:00
- heading for work until 8:30
Instead of building a strict schedule for your day — ask yourself where is your attention going? In the beginning of your day, you likely are not focused on anything particular, you might be catching up with news. But what could you be focused on during that time? During reading — you’ll be absorbed in a book. For other tasks — you could meditate, listen to a podcast, or just actively plan out the rest of your day. The sole notion of reminding yourself that your focus in precious and tech companies fight for it does wonders. Over time you’ll be less susceptible to giving away your focus on mindless scrolling on your phone.
Schedules are not something to avoid
Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating against schedules and organization. I still have a todo list under my belt, I make a lot of notes that I refer back to. I want you to realize that you likely spend a lot of mindless time in-between tasks and I want you to get it back. After you finish one activity try to ask yourself — what should I focus on to get most of the upcoming time. If you want to have a break, does browsing social media is the best thing to do right now? If yes — then go on. For me, this is not always a case. I had tendency to spent hours and hours a day, usually losing control over it. This technique has helped me to regain some control.
Another benefit is that you train your brain to focus better. Your sessions of uninterrupted focus should become longer and longer and you’ll be more mindful about the things you spend time on.
Don’t be afraid to fail
Even though this worked for me, it doesn’t mean
- it worked for me immediately,
- I am not failing to follow these rules.
Our goal in the end is to get things done. It is not to fully follow any rules or techniques. Different strokes for different folks, nothing is going to work for all of us. Try things out and let your own life strategy emerge. I hope you found this any helpful, best of luck!