Or Find More Time To Do Whatever You Want To Do
Last week, I used Snapchat Stories to show a nearly complete view of my day, which consisted of four full hours of workout time. I lifted at the gym for an hour, meditated (mental training is vital for endurance events), stretched, did some breathing exercises and, completed an additional hour of core exercise. I swam for an hour during my “lunch break.” And then, before bed, I biked for an hour.
I was surprised by how many folks asked how I am able to fit that much workout time into a single day. One colleague even asked, “Do you actually work?” HA! Yeah, I feel like that’s all I ever do. When you’re the boss, work is the only thing on your mind, so even when you’re not working, you’re working. Anyway, I figured I’d answer them all at one time with this blog post.
Here are five actionable steps you can take right now to make your day much more efficient:
Step 1: Realize there are 24 hours in a day (and stop watching so much damn TV).
Everyone has the same amount of time in their day, but most folks haven’t wrapped their minds around what that really means. Let’s break it down.
Let’s say you sleep eight hours a night. I’ll harp on this for a minute because this is the place most folks try to find extra time. I’m not one of those people who touts about how little I sleep, as if sleeping for four hours a night is a key metric to success. Sleep is vital for mental energy and to recover from workouts. This is when the body and the mind repairs themselves. Sleep less and you may get more done in the short term, but you will eventually reach exhaustion and waste even more time on the backend. Trust me, I’ve been there.
Then let’s say you work nine hours a day. Let’s throw in an hour for shower time and day prep and then another hour for commuting. You still have five hours in your day for cooking, eating, drinking at the bar or hanging out with your kids. But I’m going to guess you are spending at least three of those hours binging Netflix.
Five hours is a lot of damn hours, folks. Even if you aren’t going to the extreme like me, you can find at least one hour to work out or to concentrate on whichever hobby you choose.
Step 2: Base your day on longterm goals.
Every hour in my day is based on a longterm goal. If you’ve read my previous material, you know I’m big on setting goals. You can read more here and here. Because I’ve written so extensively on this, I’m going to just summarize it here.
1. Write down your long term goals.
2. Write down your year-long goals that will help you get to #1 (also called resolutions).
3. Break those year goals down into quarterly goals.
4. Break those quarterly goals down into monthly goals.
5. Break those monthly goals into actionable weekly to-dos.
6. Break those weekly actionable to dos into daily actionable to-dos.
7. Base your entire day around those daily actionable to-dos.
8. Track every single day and evaluate monthly, making course corrections as needed.
This formula will ensure that you aren’t just sitting at your desk surfing the internet. Your eye must always remain on the goals that you have set. But it goes deeper…
Step 3: Focus on your five buckets.
This is a new step I’ve taken in the last month, which was passed on to me by my super successful friends Mark and Dr. Sarah Losby. They are blowing up a chiropractic empire in Columbia, SC. Step 2 explains what should be on your plate. Your five buckets tell you what shouldn’t be on your plate.
The brain can’t focus on too many things at one time. Most people don’t knock large goals out of the park because they are focusing on too much. You should focus on the most important goals in your life by identifying five areas, and five areas only, on which you will concentrate for the year. If anything comes on your plate that does not fall into one of those five buckets, eliminate it. If I can’t straight up do that, I follow Tim Ferriss’ formula explained in The Four Hour Work Week:
1. Eliminate: Does this item need to be handled at all? If not, eliminate it.
2. Simplify: If it can’t be eliminated, how can it be simplified to take up much less time?
3. Automate: If it can’t be simplified, how can it be automated through technology so I don’t have to touch it?
4. Delegate: If it can’t be automated, how can I delegate it to another person?
I have my five buckets printed and hanging in my closet, and posted as my iPhone and iPad background to ensure that they are always in my face. I’m sure by now you are wondering what my five buckets are. I’ll leave that for a separate blog post.
By the way, five is not a magical number. Find what works best for you.
Step 4: Schedule every minute of your day.
Literally. Every minute of my day is booked on my calendar two weeks in advance. Every. Single. Minute. From the time I wake up to the time I go to bed. Every minute is based on my daily to dos and my five buckets. My assistant, Sally, knows exactly what my goals are and she makes sure that my day is focused on making those goals happen. She also knows that if an item doesn’t fall into one of my five buckets, then it shouldn’t make it to my calendar at all.
No other single step on this list is as important as this one. Without my day being booked solid, I will start surfing the web, get sucked into some political fight on Facebook, and then just start wasting minutes that could be used doing pull-ups or learning how to swim two miles. Or even more importantly, hanging out with my family.
Step 5: Multitask when possible.
I wrote in Step 3 that the brain can’t focus on too many items at one time. Studies have proven that the brain is not a multitasking machine. However, there are plenty of minutes in the day where we can find additional time by doing two tasks at one time and neither task is hurt by performing an additional task. For example, I “read” more books than most folks by listening to audiobooks while commuting and running. I commute at least an hour and a half every weekday. I also run at least seven hours a week. That gives me about 14 hours every week to listen to audiobooks. Here’s another hack: listen on 2x speed.
Additionally, schedule all that conference call time during your drive. That alone can save you a couple of hours a day.
Now, you have no excuse. You do have time to workout, spend more time with your kids or start that side business you’ve been talking about for years.