One day your life gets busy and never slows down. That day for everyone is different, if it hasn’t arrived for you yet don’t worry its coming. We never have enough time, but unlike Mr. Salas we are unable to gamble and gain more.
The first step to hacking time is eliminate or reduce the amount of time you waste doing things that provide no value.
Things that provide no value include: drinking yourself stupid, watching reality tv and creeping on facebook at 3 am.
I’ve done all of those things before (maybe at the same time), but the key is to minimize the time you waste on activities that provide no value.
It’s like my grandfather said,
Everything in moderation, that’s why I drink a fifth a day.
While that may sound like a lesson in dedicated alcoholism, focusing on things that provide value will be beneficial for your life. Do you need to go crazy and eliminate fun to be productive? No, but you’ll find once focus on accomplishing new things that your concept of fun will radically change.
The first taste of success changes everything.
When you automate something, it happens on a regular basis and you don’t have to think about it again. Automation makes life easy.
Personal Experience: I used to think this girl Sallie Mae liked me, but evidently you have to pay back the money borrowed in college. For me, there is an excruciating amount of pain associated with the payment on my student loans. Whenever I would do it (after much delay), the rest of my day would be ruined. So I automated it.
Easy things to automate:
- Credit card payment
- Student loan payment
- Insurance payment
- Routine items (soap, deodorant, etc)
The Hack: Schedule payments for the same day each month and set up recurring events in your Google Calendar or whatever app you use. This way, you’ll always have a reminder of when your debit account is about to get drained.
I drink a lot of protein shakes and use soap when I shower, so these items are on subscription using Amazon Prime. With Amazon Prime, you get access to their video service (same as Netflix) and free two day shipping on all prime items with no sales tax. It’s baller.
Take The Pain Out
The most painful part of my day is getting out of bed in the morning. It’s not that I hate my job, I just don’t want to leave the warmth of my bed. One week, I analyzed my routine every morning before I left the house. I found that in my groggy state that I spent about 15 minutes each day picking out what to wear and ironing it if necessary.
Personal Experience: A few weeks ago I started picking out my clothes the night before, ironing them and hanging them up. Now when I jump out of the shower and throw my clothes on, I feel refreshed and ready to start my day. Those 15 minutes I spent getting dressed before brought my attitude and productivity. Day saved.
The Hack: Look at different parts of your life that are “painful” and carefully analyze the steps involved. It might be something you overlook now, but even tiny events can have a dramatic impact on your mood and productivity. Maybe your commute to work could be improved by listening to podcasts instead of talk radio?
Live and Die by The List
You’re never going to become a millionaire by avoiding Starbucks lattes. Budgets don’t work, lists do. They are the best way to get shit done. Lists will keep you focused on the tasks and hand and provide that positive ego boost when you’re finally able to cross something off. Sometimes I take notes on my iPhone, while other times I prefer paper. A lot of people use Evernote.
The Hack: Marc Andreessen (Netscape, Andreessen Horowitz) has an interesting take on productivity porn and uses a 3 x 5 system with an anti-todo list.
What you do is this: every time you do something — anything — useful during the day, write it down in your Anti-Todo List on the card.
Each time you do something, you get to write it down and you get that little rush of endorphins that the mouse gets every time he presses the button in his cage and gets a food pellet.
And then at the end of the day, before you prepare tomorrow’s 3×5 card, take a look at today’s card and its Anti-Todo list and marvel at all the things you actually got done that day.
Then tear it up and throw it away.
Another day well spent, and productive
We never acknowledge or give ourselves enough credit when we do something, so the positive reinforcement from the anti-todo list helps tremendously.
Block Out Time
If it wasn’t for the last minute, nothing would ever get done. -unknown
If you live and die by deadlines. All of that time in between is usually wasted. I don’t know that I ever worked on a project or studied for a test in college before I absolutely had to. I work best when the pressure is on. If you’re reading this thinking, I am the exact same way then this hack if for you.
The Hack: Set up a block of time (an hour or two) where you are dedicating the entire block to efficient work on your list. Under no circumstances should you extend beyond the time limit** allotted. **Even if you want to continue working, stop yourself from continuing or the exercise is worthless. Working against the clock, you’ll find yourself thinking faster with an entirely new level of clarity.
Personal Experience: This whole week I have been forced to work at Barnes & Noble for internet (THANKS COMCAST), but the two hours I spend there at night have been more productive than most nights in my office. Limit your time for maximum productivity.
Create a Mindset
For me to have a great workout I usually need; a freshly synced iPod, Under Armour socks and one serving of Super Pump. I know if I have these together that I’m going to crush it. The combination of these things put me into the right mindset and as soon as I step foot into the room, I’m ready to go.
Maximizing productivity by creating a mindset similar to when you workout at the gym.
Are there certain things that you need when you’re trying to be productive? Eliminating distractions is usually the first step. This can be difficult if you are in college or living with friends. However once you create your mindset, you can be productive anywhere.
The Hack: Get together the things you need to be productive. I like a soy lattee, my Beats by Dre and comfortable socks. Wherever your workspace is, eliminate the distractions that are unneccessary. This is as simple as putting your phone away to disabling your wi-fi if what you’re working doesn’t require internet. If you constantly find yourself checking Twitter or Facebook use a plugin like StayFocusd to limit access to the sites.
- These are just a few of the different hacks I use to be productive. I would love to know what you do to stay on task and get shit done. We all can learn from each other.
- I thought that the concepts for In Time and the Bradley Cooper adderall movie were great, but both ended up being lackluster. Ideas are cool, but execution is cooler.
- A lot of you are messaging me and asking for my opinions or advice. I love being able to help out. Keep asking.
- My next post is going to be an interview with this dude who is killing it on airline miles and will teach you how to earn a million in a year.
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