Waisting Time & Resistance

Yesterday’s post explained why time is your biggest commodity.  It focused on how to best allocate your time so you spend more time doing the things that give you value while reducing or eliminating things that don’t give you much value.

At the end of the post I gave you an exercise to do that examines how you spend your time during your typical week.  If you did the exercise you probably noticed that there were a few activities that don’t give you much value, yet you spend huge chunks of time doing them e.g. commuting and surfing internet.  You probably also noticed that there were a few things that give you tremendous value, yet you do them rarely e.g. hang out with friends, write.

Why do the time wasting activities outweigh the activities that give you value?

Sometimes it’s unavoidable.  For example, most people hate their jobs.  The typical person spends at least 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week working.  Work may not give you much value other than a paycheck.  It’s a tradeoff.  The hours slogging away hopefully give you enough money to enjoy your life outside work.

But how about the other time waisting activities?  What time waisting activities do you have control over?  It’s probably a lot more control than you think.

I’ll give you an example in my life.  After going over how I spend my time during the typical week I noticed that there were a quite a few time activities that gave me little value but I did often – surfing the web, watching sports, current job.

I also noticed that I spent very little time on something that’s been a goal of mine for a while now.  I’ve been wanting to reteach myself graphic design and eventually land some freelance jobs.  For whatever reason I kept putting it off.  I found ways to distract myself with time waisting activities instead.  Steven Pressfield author of the War of Art would call this resistance (if you haven’t read War of Art do yourself a favor and buy it).

Even after identifying that I was purposely distracting myself with bullshit I still wasted time.  It took up until a few hours ago for me to sit down and start doing tutorials on Illustrator.  I fought it, but once I started doing it I was locked in.  It’s like this for most activities that give me true value.  There is usually resistance.

What are the things in your life that give you tremendous value that you spend little time doing?

Why aren’t you doing these things?

Key in on them.  The more resistance you feels towards those things probably means the more you should be doing them.

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Time Is Your Most Value Commodity

You can lose money, but you can make it back.

You can lose a job, but you can find another one.

Your reputation can be squashed, but you can reinvent yourself.    

Time, on the other hand, is something you can never get back.  Once it’s past.  It’s gone.

Time is your most valuable commodity.

A CEO of fortune five hundred could be making seven figures, but if he works 70 hours a week he has no time to enjoy the fruit of his labors, at some point he must ask himself why work so hard if I can’t enjoy it?

It’s a question he’s probably never thought about, and probably would scoff at.  It’s a question that most of us, including myself, don’t ask enough – is this the best use of my time?

We have things in life that we enjoy and give value, yet we rarely do.  We have things in life we don’t like doing and give little value, yet we do regularly.  There are somethings that fall in the middle.

The question you should ask yourself is – how do I maximize my time so I spend more time doing the things that I enjoy and less time doing the things I don’t?

This seems obvious, but I doubt it’s something you have thought about lately.  I know I haven’t thought about this till recently.  Most of us are living our lives based off momentum.  We rarely stop to think if this is really the direction we want our lives to go in.

But first you need to become aware of how you spend your time.

Grab a sheet of paper, and make three columns. The first column, activities. The second column, time.  The third column, rating.

In the activities column make a list of the activities that make up your life (job, hanging out with friends, watching netflix etc.)  Leave out little details like brushing teeth.

In the time column think about how many hours you spend every week doing that activity.  If one of the activities is something you don’t do often like going to a concert, just write once a month for x amount of hours etc.

In the ratings column rate how enjoyable the experience is from 1-10.  1 being awful with little value and 10 being enjoyable with tremendous value.

Example:

        Activities                      Time                          Rating 

Work/Commute           50 hrs/week                4

Visiting Family           5 hrs, once a month    7

Socializing/Friends      3 hrs/week                  8

Writing                         4 hrs/week                  9

Watching Sports           20 hrs/week                5

When you have filled out each column you will want to look for mismatches.  In the example above there are a few.  Work/commute time takes up the majority of this person’s life but gives them little enjoyment and value, whereas this person  gets tremendous enjoyment and value out of writing but spends little time doing it.

The key is to find solutions where you can reduce the hours of low rated activities and replace them with high rated activities.  Our fictional person may do this by changing jobs or asking their boss if they can work from home.  If they can’t get any leeway with the job situation maybe they can cut out another low rated activity like watching sports.  The new time freed up from watching sports could then be dedicated to a higher rated activity like writing or spending time with friends.  I think you get the idea.

I did this exercise today and found it helpful.  If you feel like your squandering your time with things that give you little value I suggest you do the same.

Why Aren’t You Doing Yoga?

I went to my second yoga class today.  As I type this my mind and body are still buzzing and the class ended two hours ago.  I think I will make a habit of this.  I will try to go at least once a week.

I can now understand all the hype around yoga.  I can see why people become addicted to it.  An hour of intense yoga gives you the same high as a joint without the brain fog.  My muscles feel worked but they don’t feel sore.  I’m in a relaxed state yet full of energy.

Yesterday I talked up mediation.  Today it’s yoga.  But yoga is really just a more involved form of meditation, and has many of the same positive effects and then some.

Here are 38 reasons why you should try yoga. 

Are you curious about yoga?

Find a class around your area.  Unless you live in the middle of nowhere chances are there will be few places to choose from.  Most places offer beginner classes.  It’s the type of classes I’ve been going to the last two weeks.

Do you feel awkward going because you don’t know anything about yoga?

Don’t be.  I didn’t know anything about yoga going into it.  I’m not very flexible either.  Most of the poses won’t be very difficult to do.  If you can’t do a post then don’t.  Go at your own pace.

Why Aren’t You Meditating?

I use to listen to the Tim Ferriss podcast regularly.  His guests were usually top performers in their respected field, whether it be business, entertainment, athletics, etc.  Ferriss’ job was to dissect these world class performers to see what made them tick.  Although many of the guests had different paths to success I started to notice that most of the guests practiced some form of meditation.

Coincidence? I think not.

Everybody wants the next productivity hack.  Everyone wants that certain something to push them to the next level.  Sometimes in our endless search for self improvement we look past the most simple approaches.

Meditation is a personal development tool that has been around for thousands of years.  It’s easy to learn.  It’s free.  Anyone of any age can do it.  The only requirement is the ability to breathe.

So why don’t more people meditate?

I’ve gone through periods of my life where I have meditated daily.  I have also gone through periods of my life where I have put off mediation all together.  Like going to the gym, sticking to a diet, or reading a book, it’s something that I know I should be doing, but for whatever bullshit reason I procrastinate to do it.

When it comes down to it there really is no excuse not to meditate daily.  It only takes 10-15 minutes of your time.  Even 5 minutes of meditation will have positive effects.  Everyone has 5 minutes.

“But I don’t know how to mediate.”

Not a good excuse either.  There are many different ways to meditate.  You can count breaths, repeat a mantra, or use a guided meditation.  But there really isn’t any need to overthink it.  You don’t have to go retreat or be able to sit in the lotus postion to meditate.

Do you have pillow?

Good.  Cross your legs and sit down on the pillow.  Straighten your back.  Fold your arms and place them in your lap. You can leave your eyes open or close.  Now breathe.  That’s the easy part.

The hard part is being able to focus on your breathe without letting your monkey mind run wild.  When I first started meditating it was a struggle to focus on a few breaths without getting lost in thought.  But after some practice I got better.

The key is patience.  Don’t beat yourself up if your having trouble stopping the thought vomit.  Just return to your breath whenever you notice your lost in thought.

Need a few more reasons to get into meditation?

Here’s a list of 76 benefits of meditation backed up by science.

4 Things I’ve Learned From Writing Everyday

On Friday and Saturday I wasn’t able to post, breaking my 30 day challenge.  I’ve been back home for the last couple of days spending time with family.  It was as good of an excuse as any.

I didn’t fulfill my goal of posting for 30 consecutive days.  Oh well.  I found encouragement in the fact that this 30 day challenge has already created the habit to write.

On Friday afternoon while waiting for my family I found myself scribbling the some ideas down for a new post.  I didn’t have a computer, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to post that night.  When Sunday rolled around and I had sometime to myself I was itching to write.  I sat down and busted a post with ease.

Even though I broke my 30 day challenge I don’t intend to stop until I reach 30 posts.  I will continue to post everyday until I reach that 30 barring a catastrophic disaster.  What happens after that, who knows.

What I’ve Learned Writing Everyday

1. Writing 200 words a day is a more than reachable goal for anyone thinking about starting a blog:  At least 200 words per day was one of my guidelines for my 30 day challenge. This has been easy.  I’ve already surpassed 200 on this post and it feels like I just sat down and started typing.

2.  Only set a goal to prove something to yourself:  This should be obvious.  I started this blog to make myself a more consistent writer.  I didn’t start this blog to make money from affiliate links.  I didn’t start this blog to amass a huge following.  If my criteria for success was page views and passive income I may have given up already.  My average post may get 4 views if I’m lucky.  It’s very likely that you are the only one on the internet even reading this post.  If you do set up a blog, write only to prove something to yourself, it will make it a lot more enjoyable.

3. You can never run out of material: Never.  I guaranteed something happened in your life today that you can write a post about.  It may seem mundane, but it doesn’t matter.  Once you start writing you will make connections to other areas in your life that you wouldn’t have been able to see before writing.  I already posted this quote by Stephen King but I’ll post it again “I don’t know what I think until I write.”

4. Only write for yourself:  If you start a blog chances are your blog will be ghost town for at least 6 months if not longer.  If you start a blog don’t write posts that you think other people will want to read, write posts that you want to write.  Of course, this is a terrible strategy if you want to monetize a blog, but then again, you probably shouldn’t start a blog to make money unless your masochist.

Hope For A Better Tomorrow

Five years ago, my mom slipped and fell on some ice and injured her lower back.  She had some pain, but didn’t pay much attention to it.  She thought it was just a bone bruise and would eventually heal, but the pain only got worse.  Two years later, the pain in her lower back was so bad that she could hardly get through the day.

I didn’t know about her struggle because I was living on the other side of the World and she never brought it up in any of our Skype sessions.  It was only after coming home from New Zealand two and a half years after the accident that I could see the type of pain she was in.  Not only was she in excruciating physical pain but mental/emotional pain as well.

The next couple of years she went through misdiagnosis after misdiagnosis.  She even had major back surgery, but it didn’t give her any relief.  I had never seen her so hopeless in my entire life.   

She began looking into alternative treatments like acupuncture and reiki.  She got into holistic medicine and began seeing a naturopath.

When she first told me about the these alternative types of treatment I was more than skeptical.  I thought the holistic medicine scene was a bunch of “woo woo” nonsense.  A field filled with spiritual snakesoil salesmen like Deepak Chopra.  Of course, I never told her this.  For the first time she seemed to have hope so I bit my tongue and went along with it.

Although the holistic approach didn’t do much to alleviate her physical pain I noticed that her mental and emotional state had undergone a complete 180.  She seemed genuinely happy.  Most days were still a struggle physically but she now had hope for a better tomorrow.

Sometimes hope for a better tomorrow is all you need.  When one gives up that hope they become overwhelmed by the monotonous slog that life can feel like at times.

You may not be suffering chronic pain (I hope not) but chances are you are suffering some type of pain (mental/emotional) that you wish to get rid of.  There is some area in your life you wish to improve upon because you believe it will raise the quality of your life.    

Some may say that you can only find true happiness in the “now”, to look toward’s the future is a fool’s game.  This may be true, but like every truth, it’s only a half truth.

When times are tough it’s alright to look to the future.  The hope for a better tomorrow will keep you fighting. pexels-photo-248548

Do Yourself A Favor Listen To Sturgill Simpson

I’ve never been much of a country music fan.  I like some of the older country singers – Johnny Cash, Kenny Rodgers, and Willie Nelson.  But the country music today, the country music that litters the pop charts, is exactly that, it’s pop music.

Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot of a country singer by the name of Sturgill Simpson on the radio.  Maybe you have already heard of him.

I really liked a few of his songs and decided to download his album entitled Metamodern Sounds of Country Music.

It did not disappoint.  I listened to the album from beginning to end twice.  It’s totally changed the way I perceive country music.  If all country music sounded this good I would gladly spend $100 for a Countryfest ticket.

Sturgill Simpson is a combination of psychedelic rock and old time country without old time country cliches.  Simpson doesn’t sing about why women think his tractor is sexy, he sings about killing his ego and buddhism.

Simpson starts of “Just Let Go” with the verse:

Woke up today and decided to kill my ego

It ain’t ever done me no good no how

Gonna break through and blast off to the Bardo

In them flowers of light far away from the here and now’

If you haven’t heard of Sturgill Simpson yet, I suggest you give him a listen.  Here is one of my favorite songs of his called “Turtles All The Way Down.