Manage your attention and energy; not time.
This is simple but profound; we start by saying that time itself cannot be managed.
Even if you think you are using a time management method or tool; you are not. The only thing you can manage is yourself and your — behaviors.
Time is merely an abstract human creation that we use to attempt to regulate our awareness of cycles that the earth goes through.
What we usually think of as time – hours, minutes and seconds – are quite arbitrary, and this is the reason why scientists are continually looking to “fix” our measurement of this abstraction by tying to things they hope will remain consistent like atoms and pulses from a pulsar… (as a side note, even these have variances and don’t produce “perfect” regularity – scientists find this extremely annoying but it’s a consequence of living in their abstract heads rather than the reality of the Universe as it is. Things change here. Deal with it.)
One of the key features of human behavior is our cycles and patterns.
For example, some people are better in the morning than the afternoon.
Some people are brilliant in the early morning but complete morons in the evening.
You know for yourself that certain times of day are better for you than others.
Some of you feel like you go stupid if you don’t eat regularly, or that certain food turns you into a zombie for long periods of time (the old carbohydrate crash).
Most of us know that we work better, feel better and are more resourceful if we follow an exercise program.
Take all of this knowledge of yourself and USE IT to plan and make best use of your energy and attention.
If you don’t have marathon-level output skills; don’t try and work as if you do.
If you want marathon level output skills, you will have to make tradeoffs and invest in developing those skills.
This is an easy hack that can swiftly improve your prosperity system and the quality of your results but you have to be willing to take responsibility for this and add it to your planning, mise en place, and general scheduling skills.
To be the best you can be; you’ve got to use what you’ve got.
Have a look at your patterns of energy and attention; how eating or not eating affects your outputs; how grouping tasks to match your best times for those tasks can make your productivity skyrocket.
Most important of all – find out where you sabotage yourself by pretending you are completely unaware of the impact of your choices on your energy levels and attention…and do something about it. Or not.
The choice is always yours.
This habit hack is straightforward but pervasive. Call it a total system fine-tuning if you like. Not every hack is at the micro level.
Most of all, don’t let a worn out old fairy tale supporting an old less successful system of habits drag you down.
Be bold but also be smart – break it down into a sequence of moves and changes that you can adjust yourself to and then progress to the next step.
Consider the gradient and the baseline.
Consider the end-state to where you are now in relation to it.
Use what you have been learning here to your own advantage.