Time management

As a productivity junkie, I have spent many years trying to optimizing how I manage my time to get the best out of my life. Below are some summarised tips I have curated over my life.

System #01: Using Math to plan your life

I believe the toughest part about time management is often about managing motivation and procrastination. Perhaps the tasks you have may seem too daunting thus you fall into a state of procrastination. One way to counter this problem is to calculate the hours you want to spend on tasks or projects. We tend to work with an abstract number of hours when going about our tasks.

We all have 24 hours in a day, no more no less.

If you aim at something and work towards it, there is a high probability that it will occur than if you don't aim at all and act randomly. — Jordan B. Peterson, Psychologist & author of 12 Rules for Life

System #02: Prioritizing

  1. Write down the things you have to do in your life

  2. Separate them into 4 categories: important urgent, important, urgent, none

  3. Use a visual planner like Google Calendar or a scheduler; use whatever that will allow you review your schedule consistently; most of the time people plan something and never go back to review them. Time/task management is a skill that you need to implement every single day; when this habit transforms into a lifestyle; it is easier to navigate through life with organization.

  4. Develop a routine or system. Eg. Create your "working hours"

On waking up early

I am sure most of you have always wanted to wake up early, and start working on personal creative projects, exercising, or read a novel but you often succumb to the pleasure of laying in the comfort of your bed. I am not immune to that but over summer of 2019, I found a routine that allowed me to wake up at 4am every single day without much sleep inertia.

I am not going to advocate for that productivity trend in which they say waking up at 4am changes your life; you do you and what's works for you. If you get the best work done as a nightowl, then stick with that. I personally just find my energy at the highest in the morning allowing me to do work. Here is what you can try:

  1. If you are using your phone as your primary clock then before you sleep, charge your phone in another room or at least 5 metres away from you AND put a glass of water on top of your phone. Hence, when you have to deactivate your alarm, you have to pick up the glass of water (and hopefully drink it; that should freshen you up.

  2. Put a chair or something you can sit on near your phone/alarm clock so you can sit down and ease into awakeness.

If you are unable to wake up early or at whatever time you set yourself to, chances are:

  1. You are actually sleep-deprived from school or work

  2. You sleep at late hours, and unable to get your 7 hours of rest

  3. You spend too much with screens and bluelights before you sleep

Do a self-assessment, and see what habits in your life are inhibiting your sleep schedule.

Time = money mental model

  1. Time into money to avoid stress. It is very easy to overwork yourself if you do not set limits. Yes I do believe you need to grind harder than most to make the most progress in the creative journey. But there is a strategy to it to avoid burnout, and achieve optimal gains. Number one is self-assessment and awareness.

  2. How much can you get done in X number of hours. When is your optimal work hours.

    One of problems I faced in college was the fact that I feel stressed when I am not working or taking a break. I feel terrible if I sleep in on weekends. I somehow conditioned myself to be a work machine. That's not good. Balance needs to be retain.Imagine you are working for a company, and they can only pay you for 40 hours a week.

Most of time we operate life with an abstract number of hours to do the things we want to do in life; it seems that we never enough time to do what we want to. However if you do the math, you actually at least 4 hours to do that. (WIP)