How to Make Time Out of Nothing

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When you're to your neck in the war against time, you need to bring out the big guns. And that means making some hard decisions to give yourself a fighting chance.
Time management - When You Never Have Time

I’m going to help you to free up more time in your day, not by “finding” gaps of time that are being underutilised, but by making more time forcefully.

Obviously, it’s impossible to actually materialise new time and just add them to the clock. But it is possible to create time for OURSELVES, relative to the time we have available.

Here’s the difference between the strategies.

There are several techniques that help us utilise the time that is available and unused throughout the day. We talk about this a lot more extensively in our attention management strategy if you wanted to do this.

💡 Attention management is covered in our online courses.

But one of the limitations is that it can take a while to get proficient with attention management and it isn’t always the rate-limiting step. Almost always, the most important first factor we need to look at is our prioritisation.

And this is how we make time.

When push comes to shove. And I really mean shove – when you’re feeling stressed out of eyeballs because you never have any time for yourself or other things important to you, you need to bring out some heavy hitters.

Because the alternative is that you run yourself into the ground and now not only will you not have time for yourself or those around you, but you’ll also stop caring entirely.

So how do we make time?

In a way it is easy – and in a way, it’s crushingly difficult.

We simply prioritise HARDER.

Find 20 minutes in your day. That’s all you’ll need to get started.

  1. Create a comprehensive task list
  2. Arrange these tasks by project. Projects are groups of tasks that all contribute to a larger goal.
  3. Find all the miscellaneous tasks that don’t fit in projects and split them into “Important” and “Not Important”. Important tasks are tasks that will significantly impact your life within the next 3 to 4 weeks if ignored.
  4. Delete all the not important tasks. That’s right – get rid of them. The more important ones of the batch will make their way back on your list eventually, but right now, we can’t afford to keep strays. We’re at war with time.
  5. Rank your projects by order of importance.
  6. Delete your least important project. Yup – that entire project. Delete it. Again, if it’s important enough, it’ll find it’ll way back onto your list eventually, but when it does, you’ll be ready, more focused, and have more resources to throw at it.

Sometimes, even if it’s temporarily, we need to delete projects like “spend time with family”.

Does that mean we don’t care about family?

No.

It means we value our time and we are mature enough to recognise that a broken jug doesn’t pour out anything. In order to care for and give the appropriate attention and focus to the important things in our lives, we must make the difficult choice to temporarily remove things from our radar.

Otherwise, we might get strangled by the ever-entangling vines that we value too much to cut.

In order to give ourselves and the things we value in life a fighting chance, we need to protect our time like our life (or rather livelihood) depends on it. No matter how good you are at time management, if you over-commit and spread too thin by prioritising everything highly, every day, you’re not just fighting an uphill battle – you’re fighting an uphill battle, in a canoe paddling upstream.

Here’s to your resolve – the bold hand that holds the weapon of harsh prioritisation when we’re at war with time.​​

Justin Sung

Justin Sung

Dr Justin Sung is a former medical doctor who now works in education and social enterprise. He has guided thousands of individuals towards living and learning more efficiently for nearly 10 years and is the founder of Foster Our Future, JTT and Finding Gravity.

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