At some point or another all of us have given the potential of time manipulation some thought -- "if only I could slow down time or reverse time or pause time, then I would be more productive..." Unfortunately, none of us appear to wield such powers, so we have to make do with real time and realistic time manipulation.
There is a great significance to perfect timing and perfect planning. Now Larry Soffer may be a marvellous mentalist, but even he cannot pause time, not even for one second. If he were to only delay the finishing touch of his grand illusion by the slightest second, his entire performance may crumble to the floor and be left in ruins. Although the rest of us might not be magicians, the importance of such a performance is a great metaphor for our lives.
Timing. Planning. Efficiency. Productivity.
It all comes down to being resourceful. That is an enormous contributing factor as to why the greatest of our time are in fact the greatest of our time -- the reason why Michael Phelps holds the world record for the 200m race -- the reason why Elon Musk is running several companies simultaneously -- the reason why Stephen King has published over 50 completed novels. They all use their time wisely; they are resourceful.
One cannot divine what the future holds; but one certainly can prepare for it. The preparation is a menial task, not requiring much effort or toil, but it is incredibly important if you desire to keep your life and work from falling apart and actually improve it beyond expectations.
So how can we use our 24 hours more wisely?
1) Sleep:When discussing time management, the worst thing you can do is not sleep enough. Getting work down effectively and quickly is extremely unlikely when you have deprived yourself of sleep; the only thing sleep deprivation will bring is decadent productivity.
At this point, every adult is aware that 6 hours of sleep is a minimum; ideally one should aim for 7-8 hours of sleep. The internet is full of successful people who sleep 4 hours a day, wake up at 5am, and work work for 20 hours straight. That is nonsense; and if it happens to be true, they will be requited with the appropriate health issues in the near future. So you should not be intimidated by them, nor should you follow in their weary footsteps.
Sleep is a must, both for the body and the mind to function at its maximum potential. You may believe that by sleeping less you are opening more slots in your schedule to work -- on paper this seems accurate, but in reality one gets exponentially more work down when they are refreshed and energetic, even if they have less time in the day to tackle their tasks.
However, this isn't an invitation to sleep 11 hours a day; that is the antithesis of what is being suggested. Oversleeping will not only cut down your free time, but it can actually make you more drowsy and lethargic than undersleeping, thus costing you both time and energy.
Take care of your body. Eat right and sleep right: wake up with ardour.
2) Time Allocation:As important as planning may seem, it is not nearly as important as actually getting the work done. Thus it is important to get this note out of the way right away: spending hours on planning is not productive work!
Take a few minutes out of every day, or even better, spend an hour once a week to write up a time allocation schedule and be done with it. The whole point is to get you up and moving, working and producing; don't get carried away with the scheduling.
Now that we have gotten that out of the way, you need to assess what matters in your day: what needs to be done compared to what actually gets done. Sleeping isn't the only activity filling up your day; there is your job, eating, dressing, socialising, entertainment, fitness, etc. Consider what tasks take up your time and the significance of each task. If it is insignificant, get rid of it or reduce the time allocated to it. If it's extremely significant, you may want to increase the time allocated to it.
Tony Robbins believes these tasks can be assessed in two ways: enjoyment and value. For example: take the task of practicing guitar. Consider how much you enjoy playing guitar vs how valuable it is for your everyday life. Obviously for a musician, daily practice is extremely valuable, but for an accountant or a entertainer, it is less valuable.
But simply because a task isn't valuable does not mean that it isn't useful -- you need to find the right balance between value and enjoyment, and not lose track of what will be moving you forward in your career.
Furthermore, there is a 3rd type of activity: the necessary ones. These include: sleeping, eating, self enhancement, showering, etc. These are tasks that are fundamental to your day, every day. You need to plan everything else based on the enjoyment/value scale around the necessary tasks.
3) Indecisiveness:Stress and a lack of decisiveness play a huge role in day-to-day productivity. To dissipate time worrying over matters is not only wasteful but incredibly frustrating as well.
To prevent this, you should arrange a block of time everyday or every week to let all your anxious thoughts about upcoming tasks, meetings, due dates, and important events stack up in your head. Then you should codify these tasks from most urgent to least urgent and work towards completing them. Once you do this, you should not think about changing the to-do list; your time to worry has already been used up.
This will alleviate the stress that comes from indecisiveness and prevent precious time being wasted on questioning the next task to tackle.
The result of being an efficient time manager, a Master of Time, is a more productive, calmer, and worry-free you. The best time to begin is NOW.
“Identify your problems but give your power and energy to solutions.” ― Tony Robbins