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How to create time: Why it is easier than you think

How to create time: Why it is easier than you think
  • Step 1: Realize you have time
  • Step 2: Think in terms of minutes
  • Step 3: Log your time
  • Step 4: Analyze your time log
  • Step 5: Reverse engineer your time
  • Step 6: Dealing with discretionary time

We all have the same amount of time in a day, right? How come other people get so much more done in that time than we do? Hint: Answers below!

To start, it is helpful to think about the word “time.” People that say they don’t have enough of it all too often misuse the word. They think that other people simply have it and they don’t. It is as though the creator of time somehow forgot about them.

The truth is, we all have time. Not only do we all have time, but it also just so happens that we all have the exact same amount and understanding of time. If we didn’t, the world would likely collapse because no one would be able to agree about anything. 

This would be like you saying to your boss that you start work at Horse o clock, which to you means after you wake up naturally, make some pancakes, take your dog for a walk, go to the movies, get gas, ride your horse, and then stop by your office. Your boss would likely fire you and in your dismissal say something along the lines of “employee fails to understand the very basis of the world we live in and how it operates at the most basic of all levels.”

It is important to understand that we all must live and breathe by the exact same set of rules where 1 day equals 24 hours, 1440 minutes, or 86400 seconds. Time, in this sense, is simply a measuring standard. It simply is the systemic progression of events and our existence.

“Okay, dude, we get it. There is such a thing as time. Now tell me how I go about actually creating more of it.”

The first step in creating time is to realize that you have it. Time is not something that you can choose not to have. It exists independently of you. Whether you choose to believe it or not, the day will begin and end without ever stopping to care one bit about what you think of it. 

Whether you spend 30 minutes watching tv or thinking about watching TV, you just spent 30 minutes of time. Regardless of you wanting to get that time back, it is forever gone. Again, mother time cares not one bit about you. If it did, it might occasionally choose to freeze or rewind itself so you can undo things at your request.

The second step here is to start thinking of time in terms of minutes, not hours. Our minds naturally gravitate towards thinking about time in hours but it can be a dangerous and backwards way of creating time. In fact, it erases time. This is because it makes us round things upwards. We don’t want to round up. We want exact numbers. If something should take 40 minutes, then say it will take 40 minutes. Not “oh, about an hour.” If you allow yourself to think in terms of hours, I bet tasks that should actually take 40 minutes end up actually taking an hour. You do this three times in one day and you just lost a total of 1 hour. Pure inefficiency.

The third step in creating time is to figure out exactly what you do during each and every 24 hour time period. I recommend keeping a journal of some sort and writing down everything you do each day for at least 1 week. In doing this, it is important you do not leave anything whatsoever out. Even things like going to the bathroom should be left in your journal. Why? Because how many times has a 3 minute bathroom break taken you 15 minutes because you watched the latest meme that went viral on Facebook? Again, mother time just took away those extra 12 minutes you could have been doing something productive.

Only once you have fully logged everything you spend your time on can you actually make progress in creating time. This is because we humans are incredibly good at forgetting things. For example, how many of you remember what you did yesterday between 8:00am – 8:30am? Or what about even this morning from 9:00am – 9:15am?Do you remember if you were productive during those times or were you spending your precious time on unproductive things? 

The fourth and final step in creating more time is to analyze your journal entries and try to find inefficiencies. These should easily almost jump off the page at you.

When I first started keeping a journal of what I spent my time doing each day, I was quickly amazed at how many 20-30 minute blocks of time were completely wasted by doing things like waiting or taking too long on certain tasks. Things like breakfast, showering, getting ready for work, packing my lunch, etc. One particular morning it took me 1 hour to eat breakfast, shower, get ready for work, and pack my lunch. As a test, the next day I gave myself only 30 minutes to do the exact same events. Guess what? I did all of the above in LESS THAN 30 minutes. Problem was I didn’t know what I should do for the 30 minutes I saved, so I likely wasted them doing other unproductive things.

The point is that I only realized what I did every day and how long each thing took when I actually logged them. Don’t worry, though, you don’t have to do this forever! Once you do it long enough you will quickly realize your inefficiencies and your mind will gradually begin figuring out it’s own ways of creating time by always trying to minimize how long general tasks take.

Example – once you realize you can take 5 minute showers instead of 20 minutes and be just as clean, you will soon start naturally thinking and acting in accordance with 5 minute showers. This in turn saves 15 minutes per day, 105 minutes per week, 5460 minutes per year. This equates to adding 91 hours of time to your life each year.

Step 5 is what I like to call reverse engineering your time. This process looks like this:

    1.  Write out every event or task that you MUST do each day
      1. These are the things that if you do not do, you may die. Or, put differently, these can be considered the bare bones of your existence.
    2.  Write out how long each event or task should take
    3.  Add all of the events or tasks times together to get your total event or task time
    4.  Take 1,440 minutes (24 hours) and subtract your total minutes from step 3 above
    5.  The number you are left with is how many minutes of time you SHOULD have each day
To illustrate this important concept, I will use a typical day for me:
1. Sleep, eat (3x), W2 job, shower, get ready for work, pack lunch
2. Sleep (480 minutes), eat (30 minutes), W2 job (510 minutes), shower (5 minutes), get ready for work (10 minutes), pack lunch (2 minutes)
3. 1,037 minutes
4. 403 minutes
5. This equates to 6.7 hours of “discretionary” time per day. 
 
“So….where exactly do we go from here?”
 

Good question, glad you asked. This brings us to the sixth and final step of creating more time which is how the heck to deal with the amount of time left over in the “discretionary” account. Well, it’s simple. The time in this account can be used freely. Choose wisely, though, as once you take money out of this piggy bank, you may never get it back.

You can choose to  invest your time money into events that provide value such as being at your kids soccer games or into events that provide either no value or trivial value such as resting on the couch watching My 600 pound life.
 
Or, what I would argue, is to turn your time money into investments that produce more future time money such as creating passive income streams so you can quit your W2 job. This would eventually return 480 minutes of time money per day.  

In order to create more time, though, you have to understand that any time you withdrawal from your discretionary time should be used in accordance with your values and what your goals and objectives are. Thinking of your discretionary time as actual withdrawals from a bank account helps to reiterate the point that it should be taken seriously, since you may never get that time money back depending on how it is being spent.
 
The action steps from here are simple. If you have 403 minutes of discretionary time per day available, maybe you choose to spend 100 minutes of that with your family, 60 minutes of that on exercise, 40 minutes on wood carving, 20 minutes lounging on the couch watching a TV show, and then the remaining 180 minutes on creating future money trees. The choice is yours.
 

Once you have properly allocated your discretionary time, all you have to do is write it down and act it out. Always being mindful of minutes you spend on ANYTHING outside of your bare bones existence time and your discretionary time. 

Keeping a journal log of this forever is one way you can keep on track to make sure you are not accidentally spending too long in the shower, or too long “getting ready for work,” or too long standing or lounging around doing things outside of your bare bones existence time and discretionary time.

 
“Well, this all seems great and fancy, but I still don’t have any time, sir!”

I knew you would say that. I think there are two types of people when in comes to the whole thought of still not having enough time. 
 

First, there may be people that do the reverse engineer calculation above and find they have 0 minutes left. The argument here would simply be that their bare bones existence requires a full 1,440 minutes per day. If this is the case for you, I would start by seriously questioning what you call a bare bones existence. At this point, it seems you would have two decisions to make: 1) you determine you cannot remove any of your bare bones existence minutes of time, in which case you are screwed and there is nothing I or anyone else can do for you; 2) you figure out which of your bare bones existence minutes of time you can get rid of or lower the time duration.

Second, there may be people that have a decent amount of discretionary time left in their bank account, but still cannot get done what they want to get done within that time allotment. Here again I would seriously question what you are spending your precious time money on. Either events or tasks are taking longer than they should or you are trying to do too many things that don’t actually provide a good value return. For the former, go back to your journal. What events or tasks are you doing that can be reduced in time?

Are you spending 600 minutes at work? Would changing jobs provide more value? Are you trying to spend all your discretionary time with your significant other when really quality time would prove more valuable than quantity? Are your minutes of time being eaten away by sloppiness such as losing 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there, or 25 minutes over here? Think deeply about your situation to determine if time can be reduced. 

Or, are you trying to do too many things? Maybe you are trying to please too many people or do 3 extra tasks or events each day that do not properly align with your overall goals and objectives. As such, they provide little to no value for you. If so, ditch them. Create time. Time is not free. It has a hefty cost. Again, choose wisely.

If it is neither of these two, then you are once again screwed and neither myself nor anyone else can help you. This is because you have essentially maxed out your available time allotments. This thought should piss you off into getting serious about what you are spending your time on. It shouldn’t leave you with saying “True, you are right. Back to the couch I go.” It should make you write in your journal and really hone in on where all your time money is being spent. 

“Are we done yet?”

No, one last thing. The main picture I am trying to paint here is a rather simple, yet often complex one. It is that we all have time. If you don’t have time, you are in the matrix. If you are in the matrix, then you are already living in a facade so just stay there and you should be just fine. 

Figure out what your bare bones existence time and discretionary time are, and analyze them deeply. Determine at all costs what you need to do in order to add items to your day that increase value or produce more future time, while erasing from your life time that is spent on neither of these. 

 
 
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