Being fit and healthy has to be number one priority. Without this, you will not accomplish very much.
There is a line between using this time as an excuse: "I cannot start that project because I have no time, what with all the exercise and warm ups and warm downs and juicing and protein shakes and nutribullets and meal preparation"
...versus using it to propel you forwards, Jocko Willink style.
Discipline equals freedom. And discipline in one area of your life will transfer to the rest of it. Starting with discipline enforces it for the rest of the day.
January is a great time to start afresh. But only because that time is now!
Start anytime. Do not wait for an entire year if you have already given up on your New Year's resolutions. Just get back on track as soon as possible - now, this afternoon, tomorrow - but do not write off an entire year.
Putting yourself first could be seen as arrogant and dismissive of others, but actually, the opposite can be true.
By thinking of others and then trying to fit that into a prioritisation list with yourself at the top, what you need to do becomes clear.
If I want to look after my wife and son and spend the time I want with them AND I am also putting myself first (I need to exercise, meditate and complete the rest of my morning routine to be the best I can be and have the energy to deal with the day) then I need to do my stuff before anyone else gets up.
There are a lot of problems that can be solved by just getting up earlier than everyone else.
Excerpt from Tools Of Titans, Tim Ferriss:
Noah Kagan on what would you put on a billboard?
"'It’s not about ideas, it’s about making ideas happen.' I'd put it on every college campus in the world. In our youth, we are wonderfully creative and idealistic... Truth is, young creative minds don't need more ideas, they need to take more responsibility with the ideas they've already got."
Similarly, think of all the meetings you are in where everyone gets a say. Everyone has a new idea, yet not many of them are executing any results or taking ownership of the ideas they throw out. Just like a pact between friends to always do sober what you said you would do whilst drunk, if someone has an idea then give them an action to execute that idea.
If you are going out drinking. If you are staying in watching Love Island. If you are spending time complaining to someone else.
You are not spending time improving yourself. Surely, this is the only way out of any situation?
You plan your workouts. You plan what you are going to watch on Netflix. You plan where you want to go on holiday for 10 days of the year.
You don’t plan your daily “why is someone making me sit through this” meetings. You don’t plan your “if only I had more time I would start” side hustle. You don’t plan your “if only…x I could have y” life that you want.
You are planning. Just the wrong things. Do the opposite for a week and see where you get to.
Checking someone’s work is both short-term and not scalable. If you are in the middle of a “crisis” then it may be necessary.
But first, is it really a crisis? Do you really not have the time for someone to fail and find their own mistakes? Because that is how they are going to get better the fastest.
Better to increase capability. If you are spending time being a bottleneck then you are not spending enough time improving things or getting to the root cause of the error.
Checking is the worst resolution. But this is not the same as not being in the detail.
You should know the detail well enough that you know how long things should take, you know the right questions to ask, you know who should be accountable for which metrics.
You should be in a position to help people fix the bureaucratic processes that drain them; fix the outdated systems that cause extra work; fix the expectations of the people they serve to cut out the noise and provide air cover.
Know. Fix. Don’t check.
It's cheaper to shop at Aldi.
It's cheaper for someone to shop at Aldi, but is it cheaper for you to shop at Aldi?
Most people never cost in their own time into any decision. If you enjoy going to Aldi or if it gives you time to bond with your kids or your partner, then great. But if you hate it, is it really cheaper. if it's a chore, then why not go somewhere better organised, where you can get everything you need, that is quicker?
Why not get your shopping delivered? Because it costs more?
Say it costs £50 to do a shop at Morrisons and £30 to do a shop at Aldi. Then say it takes an hour at Aldi because you can't find anything, you can't get everything and have to go somewhere else. This takes, say, another 1/2 hour and it only takes 20 mins at Morrisons.
You do not have to value your time very highly to get that it is cheaper not to go to Aldi.
And it should be way more obvious as time is the thing you cannot get back.
I often see people tweeting the following quote from John C Maxwell:
"Time management is an oxymoron. Time is beyond our control, and the clock keeps ticking regardless of how we lead our lives. Priority management is the answer to maximizing the time we have." ~ John C. Maxwell
I get the gist but is this helping anyone. I am not aware of anyone offering advice that is badged as time management that is different to those professing priority management.
Even if this is profound and game changing, the problem is that people cannot manage priorities either.
Priorities are subjective, ever moving and infinite. What is unimportant and non-urgent to you is the opposite to someone who is waiting for your work. Hence the stress and the drag into reactiveness.
The only thing you can really manage is your energy. So should we call it self-management? I am not sure.
Word gymnastics are not useful unless put into action. It does not really matter whether you colloquially call it managing your time or managing your priorities. What matters is what you do right now. And you can either be reactive or proactive.
Scott Hanselman says there are three types of work:
Work as it appears
Defining work (what work needs to be done)
We usually work from top to bottom, but we should reverse that if we want to get anything meaningful done.
It does not matter what we call it. What matters is what are you going to do right now?
If you got promoted, what do you think your colleagues would think? Do you think they would be happy for you or pissed off. Do you think that would motivate them, seeing one of their own moving up, or make them want to leave, ‘why has that guy got promoted over me?’
What type of tactics do you want to employ? Who do you want to be? What culture do you want in your organisation?
The answer to these is it does not really matter as long as you are happy with yourself. If you want to win at all costs, then probably no one will remember how you got there after a while and you will still have the title to show for it. You will be able to post-rationalise that that’s what it takes to be the greatest, or some other rhetoric. But you will remember. And so will the people around you at the time. Plus, just because you got what you think you wanted does not mean you will be happy with the result or the journey on the way there.
But there is another route. A route of really caring for others. A route of lifting other up along with you. A route of widening the “old boys club” to be more inclusive. A route of self-awareness rather than simply cutting out those who disagree with you.
Both work. One might take longer than the other. But which are you going to enjoy more in the long run?
The extent of my “multitasking” abilities:
Thinking of blog posts or app feature ideas or framing questions in the shower
Listening to podcasts while driving
Doing social media on the toilet
For everything else. Be present.
You have the same amount of time as Richard Branson
You have the same amount of time as Oprah
You have the same amount of time as Steve Jobs
You have the same amount of time as anyone you have ever heard of. If you are reading this, then chances are they are no smarter than you.
So, what is the difference between you and them?
Now get started.