Tips to get you off your but (I)

Hey procrastinators out there, I greet you as my own kind!

I’m an eternal procrastinator/planning freak who more often than I’d care to admit doesn’t even respect their own plan … In other words, I’m a procrastinator forced out of my stew because of my job and other personal circumstances but who unavoidably gets back to their nature whenever attention slips a little bit away. And being a little bit of an introvert only adds to the challenge.
Just a while ago I was going through one of my procrastination phases – you know – that long streak of days/weeks when you really don’t feel like doing anything, literally. When you know you have projects waiting and yet you can’t get yourself to start doing something about them. But I felt guilty, another common trait of us procrastinators. So I thought, why not looking for some ideas on how to get one off their but and into the productive state.

So here it goes, tip number ONE: use your time like you’d use your money.

When I’m brainstorming I like to pick quality content, innovative ideas and a fresh approach. So I went on TED and found Tim Urban’s speech “Inside the mind of a master procrastinator”. Besides a very entertaining presentation Tim does a good job waking up a gentler version of the panic monster when it comes to life in general by using the life calendar against the major deadline that we all have – the day we die. In Tim Urban’s life calendar he is counting the number of weeks in an average life span of 90 years (about 4692 weeks) and then takes out the ones you have already lived. But not all of us live in countries where the life expectancy is as high as 90 years. In fact, the global life expectancy at birth according to the World Health Organisation is of only 71,4 years in 2015 with women doing a little better than men. Sure, the life expectancy at birth continues to increase however, our number of weeks in this world might be even shorter than the 90*52 Tim Urban calculated. Trickle that down to hours and once you take out the time you mandatorily spend under the duvet and what you have to spend at work, you’ll be shocked of the little time you have for yourself and/or your family.
My suggestion is that you look at your time as if it was your salary for a month. If you earned 4692 dollars/euros or the equivalent value per month and that was the only resource you and your family had, how would you use it? What would you spend it on?

Before we start, let’s set some rules:
– This is the only resource you have! There is no credit or borrowing allowed. You cannot lend or borrow more weeks. But you can delegate and try to get others to spend their weeks on doing stuff for you.
– You can/will lose some of your weeks if you don’t spend them properly – health issues in mind here. For example smoking will definitely reduce your number of weeks you have so if you smoke you should already take out about 25 years of your life expectancy, in other words about 1304 weeks literally go to ashes.
– You should also take out the number of weeks you already lived and consider those as living expenses.

What does that leaves us for a non-smoker 40 years old based on the WHO life expectancy?
Total number of weeks: 71.4*52,18 weeks = 3,725.65 weeks.
Weeks already lived = 40*52,18 = 2,087.2
Weeks remaining: 3,725.65 – 2,087.2 = 1,638.45

Take out around 8h/day, the average sleep time for an adult: 1,638.45/3 = 546 weeks.

Next step, take out around 8h/day for your job. That’s 1/3 of the remaining weeks for the next 25 years provided that you will retire at 65. That’s 434.8 weeks less.

1,638,45 – 546 – 434.8 = 657,65 remaining weeks.

Now you only have 657,65 weeks in your pocket. That’s your available budget.

But you will need to cover from this whatever takes your time that we didn’t cover before:
– The daily commute
– The time you spend eating and on personal care
– The time you spend on educating and taking care of your kids or other relatives
– The time you spend away when traveling for business
– Household activities
– Some time spent on unforeseen circumstances
– Some time needed to relax, every human being needs this, that is quintessential to our wellbeing and success.
How much will that take? Maybe half of your remaining weeks, maybe more maybe less. You can see here The Wall Street Journal data about how Americans spend their days and how this evolved during the years. In any case, what you will do about the rest of the weeks and how you juggle with all the things that eat up your time will make the difference between success and just going through life without aiming for anything.

Bottom line is: when something or someone asks for your time or you just don’t feel like doing anything, ask yourself this question: would I pay for this? If it wasn’t time and it was money, would I give it away so easily? And if it wasn’t money but it was your favorite ice scream bucket in the world, your most precious property, would you still give it away? If the answer is no then you know it is time you do something about it.

Where to start?

Maybe with your job? Would you pay that much for something that you half like? Or that you hate?? I guess not, so that’s a good motivation to invest your time in a job that you love or at least that you like, a lot. You’ll get a double reward for this as this investment will also provide shelter for you and your family.

What next?

Taking into account that you have to sleep an average of 8 hours a night so 1/3 of the 4692 goes to that, you might also want to look at ways to get the best sleep and the proper conditions for it, including quality bedding.

And how about your free time?
We’ll get to that in another post! Until then, good luck finding that great job and getting the best sleep ever. Spend wisely!

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