Monday, July 17, 2017

101 Ways To Live Better: Organize Your Time

Welcome to my 101 series, which explores 101 little things you can do to improve your day to day life, and the world, just a little bit.

Our third post is: ORGANIZE YOUR TIME

I live and die by my day planner.

My day planner is a physical book. Its A5 and every day of the week has its own full page. None of that shared Saturday and Sunday crap. I get a hardcover, something robust. This year, its fake-leather bound. However, since it is something I am going to use every single day for an entire year, I want something that will 1) last and 2) that I will want to look at, handle and use every day.

You may have different tastes in day planners to me. Maybe you prefer a digital day planner or calendar app on your phone. I don’t think what you use matters, as long as it works for you and it is accessible, enjoyable and something you check regularly and don’t totally forget about. Feel free to try a few different things out. Don’t force yourself to keep using something you don’t like. There are lots of options.

Be consistent in writing in meetings, dates, birthdays, events and so on so you don’t forget things. Get in the habit of checking what you have to do tomorrow before you go to bed and check your day planner first thing in the morning so you don’t get flustered and forget something important.

If you really want to make the most of your time, the next step is to track what you do all day. For a week, or two weeks, stop every half hour and write down what you did over those 30 minutes. You might find you are wasting more time than you thought on things that are really not that important to you.

Is there something you really want to do or achieve but don’t have the time? Like writing a novel or reading more or learning to play and instrument? Did you do this exercise and realize you’re spending an hour and a half on youtube every day? There’s the time you needed.

There’s a lot of distractions in the world these days. Radio, TV, the internet. Let’s be honest, its mostly the internet. It used to be you had to be at a desk, at a computer, to access the internet. And even then, it was very slow and the content was limited. Now there are more videos on youtube than you could ever watch in your entire lifetime and you can access them all on your phone. And that is just a single website.

You are never going to run out of media to watch while you have a phone (or laptop) and a wifi signal. And if you are reading this, you probably have both of those things.

That is why these days it’s very important that we think about how we are using our time. That we choose how to spend our finite hours on the planet, and not just let ourselves be distracted by bright lights and loud noises.

As an added bonus, get a notebook right now and map out the hours you are awake. Perhaps two lines per hour and write down how you wish you spent your time every day. Compare this exercise with the earlier one, which mapped out how you actually spend your day. Adjust accordingly.

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