The alarm rings, I wake up unwillingly due to another late night attempting to finish up work. Grrrr… why did I do that again! Nevermind, so I do just enough to groom myself and get to work on time.
Who has time for a morning workout anyway? Peanut butter and jam on bread, emails and a cup of coffee are my morning rituals on autopilot. Oh, did I not mention the casual conversations I would have with colleagues and Facebook scrolls in between sips of coffee? I never seem to have time. I keep thinking to myself, I just need a little more time of “hustling” through then I will be able to chill, workout and dust off my favourite book of all time - the “Four Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferris which is meant to teach me how to be less busy but I had been struggling to get past chapter two for the last two years. How ironic.
How many of you resonate with the above? Or how many of you know someone like that?
Being busy, to many people, seems to be something out of our control and unwillingly something we subject ourselves to a long time ago. Instead our subconscious being does whatever it takes to run this pattern on autopilot. Sometimes, being busy or being “seen” busy actually gets glorified because we were made to think successful people are always hard working, or busy working.
But, speaking of longevity, is this way of being serving us well? Serving our health, relationships, emotions and personal growth? Do these aspects get the attention they require? Are we here to play the long game in business or career or is it going to be a short sprint of burn out, rise and repeat?
What can we do instead to start empowering ourselves and live a life of joy and fulfillment? A life we can actually savour?
Here are the three hacks for you to adopt in order to start reclaiming what you had been neglecting as a result of constantly being, well...busy.
Hack 1: The Mindset Shift
Without this, it’s nearly impossible to interrupt the pattern that’s been running so well to constantly keep you on your toes. My biggest wake up call was when my mentor said “time is a nonrenewable resource” while money is the opposite. Then it got me questioning how I was spending my time and within seconds, I was dumbfounded to know that I valued being busy, being in control and having perfection more than anything else; but this puts me at loss as I am someone who can’t look after my well being and enjoy the beautiful moments in life. With a new found belief, I started to become wiser with my time, I stopped looking for perfection but instead focused on progress. I became willing to let go of a few pennies to reclaim the time I would have lost if I were to take it all on myself. I even started outsourcing to virtual tasks and hired a local part time personal assistant to get most of the typing, clicking, googling and filing done. So the question for you is, what are you willing to let go of, to have more time for you to nurture your body, relationships with others and personal growth?
Hack 2: Work Around 90 Minute Time Blocks
Have you ever looked back at what you did the whole day and realised nothing much had been actually done? But wait, you were busy weren’t you? But how come? Some of the world’s most successful individuals are also high performers at work. They don’t work a lot, and in fact, they have a well balanced lifestyle where they are not only thriving in their business, they are also in their peak state of health, physically and mentally. But when they work, they go all in and you won’t find them responding to every ping, ring and ding that come their way. Being hyper focused at tasks on hand is the no brainer to get things done in the most efficient and effective manner. The moment you have ticked off a good amount of tasks on the list, the sense of fulfillment you get will allow you to be guilt free when it comes to treating yourself to a break, a yoga session or a good catchup with a friend. So what is the work time frame proven to work before our minds start wandering off? I would like you to begin to create blocks of 90 minutes where you will mute your phone, ignore all texts, phone calls and have your bladder emptied and be hyper focused. If work requires texting, try minimize it or get it over and done with over a quick call. You are only allowed to break when the 90 minute block ends and it is up to you to decide when the next block kicks in. Most of the time, it will usually be 15 minute for you to get some stretches in, refill your drinks, make toilet visits and catch up with all the missed calls and texts. Allocate around four blocks in one day, meaning a total of 360 minutes of solid work rate to crank out maximum output that will give you that dopamine rush by the end of it. Again, the length of the break time between blocks is up to you.
Hack 3: Reviewing Your Day
If we sleep eight hours, and work for eight hours, where does the other eight hours of the day go? Why is it that many of us still struggle to fit in even a 20 minute circuit training even though we technically have another 8 hours outside of work and sleep? If you prefer journalling down your routine, you can. But overall, we should review our day from time to time especially when things are getting heavy in life to make sure that we are not majoring in the minor things. Some people, like me, like to make a big fuss out of lunch and dinner. Taking the drive to my favourite restaurant means that on top of the driving time, the waiting time to be served is probably just as long. The trip back, the stopover, and then the mindless scrolling when I get back to my desk will just mean that almost 2 hours are gone. And imagine repeating that for dinner once again. Upon realization, I instantly came up with plans to save my time from going to waste and turning it into time I could use to move the needle in my business. Food delivery was an option as well as shifting priorities in life.
By now, I hope you realise what’s causing you to “leak” time here and there and how are you can make changes that will make a true difference to yourself and your day.
There you have it - the three hacks which I constantly refer back to from time to time to achieve a life of vitality, joy and fulfilment. You too can achieve the same and one thing to take note of is, that these changes don’t happen overnight; it’s only through constant self awareness and self discipline are we able to create new beliefs and new habits and as a result.