Time is the only equal resource in the world.
People don’t have the same opportunities. People don’t have the same money. People don’t have the same skills.
But everyone has the same amount of time in the day.
You have 24 hours to do what you need to do every day.
This is an idea stolen pirated from Tony Robbins. (One of the few self-help guys I only make fun of a little.)
Do you have enough time in the day?
The only way you could ever answer yes to that question is if you have impotent goals. Almost everyone with a little bit of motivation thinks they need more time. Despite that, no one will get more of it. The best they can do is try and add extra days to the end of their life. (You can’t add extra years in your twenties. Every year you will just get less and less healthy.)
Accept that time is a depleting resource. If you have strong goals then you’ll always have too little time.
Why Your Time Is Unmanageable
Since time is a limited resource, it makes sense people want to make the most of the limited amount they have. People create schedules. They make plans. They set tomato timers. They watch clocks. They try to invest their time into the things that they value the most.
But what do they really value the most?
Most people value their comfort most. They value their leisure time. They value their happiness.
People often refuse to admit it but this shows in every aspect of their life.
They sit on their couch and watch television or play games hours a day. Then they tell themselves, “I wish I was more productive.”
That’s just not true, though. They may “wish” that they “wished they were more productive.” They don’t just wish they were more productive. If they wanted to be productive then they would have actually done it.
When a person says they “wish they were more productive,” what they’re really saying is that they want to feel productive despite not being productive. They know productivity is a good quality. They want to feel productive so they think “I wish I was more productive.” That is what a productive person would think (seemingly.)
This wishing is just another way for a person to comfort themselves despite doing what they know is just plain old comfort.
People value their comfort more than they value a logical understanding of reality.
But what do most schedules focus on?
Notice the discrepancy?
People design their schedules to be productive while their true desire is to be a lazy bum (not that there is anything wrong with that. I do it too.)
In fact, schedules are usually just another form of signaling to yourself that you’re a productive person. You’re telling yourself, “see I’m trying hard. I deserve rest for that…”
You need to manage your perception of reality to manage your time. Reality doesn’t like schedules. Schedules are hard to keep and easy break. Not only that but schedules are restricting. They can be useful but they’re a tool like anything else. If you use them wrong then you won’t get much use from them.
But How Can You Fix This?
There are two targets that are more important than getting your schedule together. If you have these two targets in sight then designing a schedule is possible. If you don’t then you might as well not even try.
For any aspect of your schedule to matter, you need inspiration.
You will never convince yourself to study with times listed on a sheet of paper. It takes more than that. It takes a feeling in your gut telling you that it matters. You’re not just sitting and wasting time. You’re learning something that matters.
Even if you can convince your butt into the chair based with a schedule, you still need to convince your brain to come with you. You may sit daydreaming for an hour based on a schedule. Every step of the way you need an inspiration pulling you to do what you need to do.
The strangest thing about inspiration is that it kills the traditional concept of scheduling.
Inspiration cannot be scheduled. It may come on a schedule. You may be able to encourage it at certain times. But it’s elusive. Some days you won’t be inspired. Some days you will be inspired but for the wrong thing at the wrong time. At times like that, your schedule may need to take a back seat.
If you’re not inspired you can’t follow a schedule without habits. If you are inspired then the schedule can matter but it will often take a back seat.
Most people don’t lack time. They lack energy.
People do a whole lot of thinking these days. We don’t spend all day walking and mindlessly hunting for food. We are constantly facing more and more challenging problems. We’re doing stuff the brain isn’t well suited for (as much as we’re doing it.)
Decisions wear you out. It’s called decision fatigue.
When you spend your whole day thinking about problems, it’s no wonder that you end up tired at the end of the day. It’s exhausting. It can lead to worse decision making.
Instead of fighting this, learn to accept it and make your decisions matter.
Some simple ways you can do that:
1. Drop little decisions from your day
This is one way that a schedule can help. You shouldn’t follow it too closely but by having a general idea of when you do what you’ll save a whole lot of choices.
2. Decide on low consequence stuff fast
If a decision doesn’t have a long-term impact on your future then make it fast. You may be wrong but going back and forth with just take away energy you have for other things.
3. Learn to relax a little
Life doesn’t have to be a constant grind. (And don’t do something that takes a ton of mental energy and pretend you’re relaxing.)
4. Treat your body right
This should be a duh! If you eat, sleep, and workout right then you’ll have more energy from the start.
You may never have enough time but consider that a positive. As soon as you have enough time you can be pretty darn confident you’re not motivated in life. As long as you wish you had more time you know you are at least pushing yourself a little. (And a little bit of pushing yourself will make you stronger.)
You don’t need to design your schedule around maximizing your productivity because it won’t work anyway. Instead, try to maximize your comfort while maintaining your standards.
You might want to learn more about this in the members only section of this blog. You can learn How To Take A Day Off Studying (And Not Have The World Collapse Around You)
You can replace comfort with productive stuff on the fly. Then you’ll feel even more productive than if you had a filled schedule you failed to follow.
(You might think, “Shoot for the moon and you’ll land among the stars.” Most people are really shooting for a crater on the moon and since they know they never could hit anyway, they never even try.)
You don’t need a schedule. It can help but it’s not essential. Have you ever noticed how some friends seem to have the most relaxed attitude with everything but still kick-butt in life? Other friends just seem to overthink everything.
You want inspiration and energy. When you have those two things, you’ll be able to accomplish everything you need to.
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Aaron Richardson took his grades from fighting F’s to Easy A’s. In the process, he read over 300 books on personal development. Today he’s founded 2 blogs on studying including Smart Student Secrets. He’s written 3 books on the subject. His work has been featured on some of the biggest news, psychology, and student sites on the internet.
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