How to Have More Time
Aug 12, 2020
Busyness is now seen as a proxy for productivity. The busier we are, the more we signal accomplishment without having to actually put in the work.
Consequently, we take on responsibility after responsability until we become overwhelmed.
Yet even when we’ve had enough: when we declare temporal bankruptcy and give ourselves more time to finish fewer tasks, we are no less busy—Parkinson’s Law dictates that these tasks will continue to consume us.
What this means is that we never have the time to work towards the big goals that we dream of. We’re always busy, but we never get anywhere.
The solution is to be deliberate with our schedules. Every day, pick a highlight. Block off an hour from your schedule and decide, for yourself, what is the most meaningful work you can do during that time.
When we make a commitment to spend a portion of our day on tasks that are important to us, we accomplish our goals quickly. For example,
- Derek Sivers wrote Anything You Want, his bestselling book, in ten days.
- NASA successfully launched Apollo 8 143 days after first conception (see Rocket Men)
Today, I chose to write. I have homework to finish, emails to respond to, and applications to finish, but I’m taking the time this morning to write this post.
Once you’ve chosen a highlight, the work has just begun—it’s time to focus.
Focus is the most fulfilling of human experiences. The feeling of unbroken concentration permeated only by inspiration is unparalleled, and those that can reach this state frequently are successful. However, the number of distractions that vie for our attention is forever increasing and so we need to be proactive in removing them.
When you want to work efficiently:
- Tune out the outside world. Put your phone away and close unused tabs.
- While you’re working, do not multitask. Multitasking steals focus.
- Take real breaks. Stretch or go sit in the sun.
This workflow is simple, but not easy. Do your best everyday, and soon you’ll have made something worthwhile.
If you want more, read Make Time, complemented by Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World.
I would love to hear what you thought of this post. Loved it? Hated it? Want to share your hand-written poem with me via carrier pigeon? That might be challenging—try sending me an email.
You can get updates when I post something new.