Too much time on my hands? Yea, right


I’m pretty sure that if Dennis DeYoung and Tommy Shaw of the band Styx were writing Too much time on my hands today, they’d change the title to NOT enough time on my hands. Remember, when the song (and the band) was at its peak in popularity, we didn’t have email, Twitter, cell phones, Facebook, the Internet (except for Al Gore) and Texting.

There’s not have enough time

is the battle cry of the overscheduled. Fortunately, most of this statement is IN our control. Think of guys like Richard Branson who run or are a part of some 400 companies. How does he find that kind of time – doesn’t he get the same 24 hours as the rest of us? I know what you’re saying –

yes, but Sir Richard has an army of people working for him.

Well, you’re right – he does NOW, but it wasn’t always that way. Interestingly, while Hammerness and Moore have been harping on working out as a way to calm your mind and better organize your life, I found this link to a Forbes article that says that Branson better uses his time because of exercise.

Now, I get it. There truly is a limit to what we can do on a daily basis. For me, while I’ve done P90X for years, I don’t follow the diet regimen because truly, I don’t have a lifestyle that affords me the time to shop for and make all that stuff, not to mention trying to figure it out while on the road. But, it does seem that the most successful people seem to be able to make better use of their 24 hours than the rest of us.

The first way to get more time is to stop wasting the time you’ve been allocated. Hammerness and Moore have given several success strategies to achieving focus and getting both your brain and your life organized. Time to wrap it all together into a nice bow.

The goal of the organized brain is not to fill every moment with productivity (Hammerness & Moore 170) but to be able to see the big picture and act on your highest priorities (Hammerness & Moore 171). When we are organized and on top of things we get more done, we feel better overall and we’re better able to handle the chaos when it comes (and it will still come).

While I’m often complimented on being able to handle a lot of things, I also feel like I could be doing much better. A common strategy for many people is to identify their best time for their best focus (Hammerness & Moore 175). For some that’s the morning, for others the afternoon and for some the evening or nighttime. Then, schedule your most important work for that time.

My personal strategy is first, wake up on time (that’s the first victory assisted by the EasyWakeup app on my iPhone), then spend some time with my coffee, a light snack to prepare for my workout and some the morning paper. That gives me a chance to ease into the day – I’ve never been one to “hit the deck running,” something my platoon officer in USCG Officer Candidate School found out early on.

Next, I do work out for an hour – it’s a habit my dad got me into back in the 80s at the old Nautilus fitness centers and its served me throughout my life. I do either P90x or one of its offshoots, or bike riding (stationary or outside weather dependent). Dog walk, shower and clothes then its time to work. I check email first to make sure there’s nothing on fire, then, if I haven’t done it the night before, I spend 15 minutes organizing my day. I like to do it the evening before, but that’s not always possible.

Once the email fires are put out, I write. This blog doesn’t make me any money but it helps fulfill my purpose in life, which is to write and speak for a living. Then I either do my email race (a timed event so I don’t get caught up in the endless email exchanged), then to a scheduled time to work on the highest priority projects. BTW, not every day is “perfect,” like this – the schedule I just described to you is my goal and some days its achieved and some days its not. When it is, it’s awesome and I actually feel more energized at the end of the day than at the beginning. When it’s not, most times, I’m usually not too far off. And yes, some days just turn into a train wreck, but it’s not a perfect world and screws fall out all the time.

For you, create your “perfect,” day, then set yourself up for success to achieve it. It will involve more than just willpower, you will need a strategy and some tools, such as I’ve described above. Take baby steps, make a few changes and give it several weeks to take hold, then take another step.

Enjoy your organized brain and your new organized life.

Hammerness, Paul Graves., Margaret Moore, and John Hanc. Organize Your Mind, Organize Your Life: Train Your Brain to Get More Done in Less Time. New York: Harlequin, 2012. Print.


2 Responses to Too much time on my hands? Yea, right

  1. I find as I get older, I am more productive in the early morning. Once a ‘night owl’ I seem to do better thinking on something that needs to be done as I lay in bed and start with a fresh perspective the next day.

    I’m wondering if in your reads or your own experience if you find this switch from night owl to early riser pretty common in men our age?

    • I found the same thing. I used to do my best work after 9pm at night or even later. Now I’m most productive first thing in the morning and usually most creative before 8am. It’s an odd shift.

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