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The Trouble Is You Think You Have Time

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The Trouble Is You Think You Have Time

Yes, we all think we have time to get things done, but we always do the same thing: we procrastinate. We believe that we can do it at the last minute. Then, problems hit. All of us have dealt with this: many, many nights of trying to finish that article or design that site or copywrite that brochure or do whatever we need to do.

“But I do have time, I can get things done”. Wrong. You have no time unless you plan how to use it wisely. We keep on thinking like this, leading us to a no-end point. It is always the same. We procrastinate, we believe that we have time and we panic when we reach the deadline and have nothing done. Why? Why don’t we just finish it before it needs to be done? It is just a matter of habits.

Without a change, we are sentenced to live a life where the only time when you are calm is…never. A life with supercharged schedules, running every day. Nights without sleeping, days without rest. A life without a plan is like a ship adrift. We’ll never know our next step.

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Why? Because we think we can make it, but in the middle of the day we lose direction and the whole world is against us. We must do things we don’t want to do. Time seems to run, and we are walking behind. No way to win.

We must understand that we have a limited time slot, so we must learn to manage it in order to get the most of it.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a perfect schedule and get things done at the right time? Of course! It would be a perfect world. But what happens? Why can’t we get things done? Because we need to change our mind. We must acquire the correct habit, if not, we are heading to nowhere.

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Once we learn to manage our time, it changes our lives. We can take care of the most important things, we do not procrastinate, we have time to spend with our family, we can rest, we enjoy every moment. We do not run anymore. We can think, we can enjoy, we can plan, we can sleep again.

When we learn to handle our time we enjoy every moment as a new one. There is something that the vast majority of us never appreciate. The present moment, the now. This moment. This is due to our bad habit of thinking that we have time, so we waste it. But if we could only take a moment to enjoy the present, we’ll find numerous “invisible” things we had never seen before.

Let’s pretend for a while that you have only 48hs, no more. Would you still procrastinate and waste your time or you would rather find the way to experience every minute? I hope you would try to get the most of every minute. So you would plan what to do, and you would discard the nonsense topics in order to focus on the right direction. That’s the way to do it.

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Focus, plan, discipline.

You have to be task-oriented, and change how you think about getting things done. You have to stop creating to-do lists and make task lists or objective lists instead.

Let me explain it: When you change your how you think to accept that you must finish a task, you’ll train yourself to get a new and healthy habit. A to-do list means nothing, just a way to write what you should remember; but a task list or objective list forces you to start a task and finish it. Nice, right?

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Someone told me once “You do not need more time, you need to do the right thing at the exact moment. Once you learn to focus and to plan your day, you’ll gain free times”. And that’s the way to do it.

Should you give it a try? Do you dare to change your mind and improve your life?

Featured photo credit: Chris Florence – CC BY 2.0 License via flickr.com

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Carlos Alberto Romay

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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