No matter who you are, where you work, if you have children, or what age you are, we each have the same 24 hours in a day. Why is it that some people have time to go to the gym and others don’t? The answer is simple, some people just MAKE time. At this point you might be asking “How do I MAKE time?” Good news! There’s a solution.
The To-Do List
The first step to solving the problem of not having enough time is to clearly define the things that you must accomplish in a day, week, or even month. I choose to create my to-do list one week in advance. The reason for only planning a week in advance is simply because that’s all the farther in advance I usually know of events. Patrick Vellner (2nd Fittest Man on Earth) on a recent episode of The Jugglife podcast stated that he makes a to do list sometimes to simply have a box to check, it makes him feel good, and the momentum from checking one box carries over to help him check the next. Personally I create mine on Sunday evening while watching football. I literally sit down on the couch with a pen and paper and write down everything I know I need to accomplish in that week. A typical list for a week will look something like this. (This list is shortened for you, I seriously put EVERYTHING on there.)
- Coaches Meeting
- Go to the Gym
- Make bed
- Daily reading
- Daily self betterment
Time management is they KEY
Management of time is a valuable skill, perhaps one of the most important skills to being successful as I am learning. The most useful practice I have learned since joining the Icehouse team is time blocking. With only 24 hours in a day, there are obviously things that are more important than others and cannot be neglected. Fill in your time block with those things first. For me in order those things are class, work, coaches meetings, homework, and my own training. This leaves the rest of my hours to be filled up with other things throughout the week. Don’t worry about filling up every single hour of your day. Just fill in the most important things to you as a start. You will begin to see that the things you have to get done still leave some time for the things you want to do. Ask any person on the staff of Icehouse to show you our time block. We all have one, and can offer help in making yours.
Stick to the Plan
Sometimes life gets in the way, emergencies can happen and that often becomes the most important thing, but is getting a beer with your co-workers after work more important than hitting the gym after work? You just completed your time block, so it is easy for you to see when you have time to meet up with people, or take on an extra project, or even if you just need to say no. It is okay to say no. Say it out loud, (I’m not kidding) “It’s okay to say no.” When you decide what things are the most important, you did so knowing that they had to be done at some point. You decide to go out for the beer. Then you have to go to a later class at the gym. You get home later from the gym and now have to cook. After cooking its late and you don’t have time to wash the dishes. Since you didn’t wash the dishes today. You have no dishes for tomorrow. You don’t have time to meal prep for the rest of the week because you had to do the dishes instead. With no meal prep you are forced to buy meals. You can easily see how this can spiral out of control. Make a plan and stick to it.
Again. Discipline = Freedom
None of us are robots, and it sounds like we are telling you to schedule every minute of every day and to never deviate from the plan. Listen to what we are really saying. By having a plan and sticking to it you will have a more rewarding life. You will have more time to do the things you really want to do. When asked if you want to go to a movie, you have already checked all of the things off of your to do list, or you have planned for when you are going to do those tasks, and then you can say with complete confidence that you CAN go to that movie Saturday afternoon. The time that you choose for the movie hasn’t been taken by the most important things to you, and it’s not going to throw your whole life out of whack. You will find yourself no longer feeling like you can’t do something because you have laundry and dishes to do. You already did them. It’s no longer a worry. You then get to enjoy the extra time you have again, it seems crazy but believe me. It works. Ask me about what happens when I don’t stick to the plan and check my boxes. It is NOT pretty.
Need More Information?
The principle of how to apply discipline in this way is not a skill that I have mastered, it is something that I continue to work on every day. Other than learning from the crew here at Icehouse, I spend a lot of time listening to speeches from Jocko Willink, he has a ton of great content. I provided a link to two of my favorite videos.
“Discipline Equals Freedom”