Alpha Asian Time Management

Sometimes people ask me, "How do you find the time to do all the things that you do?"

I have a job that's a little more demanding and stressful than the usual 9 to 5. My wife and I have a daughter who's quite a handful at the moment. In my spare time, I run 2 blogs, write for various bodybuilding magazines and author strength training books you can buy on Amazon. And yet I still find time to exercise.

Here are some of my guiding principles as far as time management:

Kill 2 birds with one stone- When you choose activities or interests to engage in, sometimes you want to choose ones that serve multiple purposes. For example, everybody needs to exercise or be physically active. Now if you're single or just very social, then physical activity is also a great way to meet people. The gym, yoga class, team sports, hiking groups, martial arts, etc. Whatever floats your boat. So even if you don't meet anybody interesting, then at least you got a good workout.

Tennis anyone?

BTW, off-topic, this is a much more natural way to meet people. When you go on a date or go to a club or bar, everybody's focus is on socializing or pick-up. That puts a lot of anxiety on people, so women will have their guard up and men will feel more pressure to be socially engaging.

But if an activity or common interest is the focus, then people tend to let their guard down and they have something else to talk about other than, "What's your sign?"

Argh! The negs aren't working!

Do an 80/20 audit- 80/20 is the idea that 20% of what you do or have produces 80% of your results. Conversely 80% of what you do or have is wasting your time or holding you back. So every once in awhile, you have to do an 80/20 audit. In other words, look at how you're spending your time and determine what's counterproductive.

For example, I try not get too involved with forum discussions or commenting on blog posts for other sites. Don't get me wrong, I like reading interesting threads. But I know if I throw my 2 cents into a heated debate, then there's always a possibilty that some smart-ass with a lot of time on his hands will post an argumentative response just for the sake of arguing and sounding smart and smug. Next thing you know, I've got to respond, furiously typing some well-thought out but emotionally charged comment. Of course this just leads to a downhill spiral.

A hundred comments later, and what's been accomplished? Entertaining stuff for people reading? Sure. But I just wasted a lot of time and emotional energy on some nerd with a chip on his shoulder.

So I decided quite some time ago not to engage in heated Internet discussions unless some moron needs a severe beatdown. I found that eliminating this activity allowed me to devote more time and energy to my more productive and positive Internet activities, like running this blog.

Automate, habituate, delegate- To save time, your operations have to be more time efficient. They have to run smoothly. If you have a routine, whether it's automated or not, then you tend to save time. You have to invest a lot of time in the beginning, however, to set up routines and automation.

For example, every morning I have my coffee and check my feeds for blogs and sites that I follow. I scan through the material and if some article or video catches my eye, I'll check it out. If I find it interesting or entertaining, then I'll post it here on the blog or on the Facebook Fan Page.

So as you can see, this process is both automated (feed reader) and habitual (part of my early morning routine). It doesn't take too long to do all this, because I've streamlined this process over the years.

Now you also want to delegate duties and responsibilities when you can. Sometimes there are menial tasks that can be outsourced or areas where you don't have expertise. In this case it's better to delegate to qualified people who have your back. Compensate and reward appropriately, of course.

Let the fields lie fallow, but not for too long- The most creative people tend to be people who know when to work and when to play. If you play all the time, then obviously you're a loser. But if you work all the time, then you really aren't working and producing optimally. Who cares if you work 12 hour days, 6 days a week if you produce shitty work? If I can produce the same amount of quality work at half the time, then isn't that more effective?

The longer you work, the less creative you will be. Your brain can only be engaged in one project for so long. This is why when people call meetings to brainstorm, nothing good comes out of it. People come up with the same tired answers to problems. You cannot force creativity. You can coax it out and run with it, but you cannot force it.

People need time to decompress and relax. They need to goof off every once in awhile. Once the tension and pressure to be creative is released, guess what? An idea pops in your head. The solution to your problem becomes clear.

If your creativity or efficiency is grinding to a halt, then stop what you're doing and walk away. Sometimes you have to be unproductive to be productive. Just don't do it for too long.

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