To Create The Life You’ve Always Wanted, First Learn To Tame Your Time

Zack Minott

The inability to do so will drastically reduce your ability to accomplish great feats

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In a single day — I manage to work out, cook three healthy homemade meals, work for 8 hours in my programming job, read or listen to a book, write articles, learn something new that’ll progress my career forward, meditate, and have down-time at the end of the day to spend time and watch my favorite television shows with my significant other.

All of this done and I still have 7-8 hours of sleep.

This schedule is something that I maintain without fault (well maybe there are some hiccups here and there, no one’s perfect)— at least during the weekdays, the weekends allow me some wiggle room for even more activity (or to just relax and fun) to do because of that lack of an 8-hour gap in my day.

I sternly attribute all of my accomplishments and my quick wins to my ability to do so much in a single day with absolute discipline.

I truly believe it’s the reason I’ve accelerated to the top 6 or 7% of writers on Medium in my first month though I’ve never had experience writing outside of school before.
Why I set company records in my preliminary months working at where I’m at right now.
Why my CEO recognizes me to be his most productive and accomplished software engineer despite the fact that I’m considered entry-level (right out of college)
Why I was able to read close to 200 books in 3 years despite never having a reading habit before.
Why I was able to ascend to becoming a Division I athlete and a regular Academic All-American.
Why I was able to participate in clubs and learn so many things outside of my major in college (machine learning, game development, web development, psychology, philosophy, neuroscience, history, etc.) despite having 5 hours worth of practice a day and 4–6 highly difficult classes as a Computer Science student.

I’m not a genius by any means, a masochist, nor a workaholic who ignores life, sleep, and all my important relationships to focus on my individualist growth (as some people like Gary Vaynerchuk preaches is the only way — which it isn’t).

As a 23-year-old, what I’ve really noticed does work over the little amount of time I’ve been on this Earth, is that your ability to manage and capitalize on the available time that you do have is all you need to focus on to gear yourself up for high achievement.

This sounds very simple, but unfortunately, I observe way too many of my friends and family wistfully wasting a good chunk of their time doing menial and unimportant tasks just to tell me that they simply “don’t have the time” to read books or move towards the goal that they’ve always been talking about but never executing upon. Then when they do find themselves with a huge chunk of time and don’t know what to do with it, they complain that they are bored and that there is nothing to do.

I plead guilty for having done this myself many times…

There is a solution though that exists beyond the realms of self-discipline and routine and it’s time management.

You Have More Time In Your Day Than You Can Possibly Imagine

Think about the greatest entrepreneurs of our age: Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Jeff Bezos, and Sarah Blakely.

They all have the same amount of time in the day as you and I yet, they still accomplish way more than you or I most likely ever could.

Sure you can say it’s luck, but there are so many different factors that allow lady luck to play in their favor, which all stems from the base concept of the capitalization of the time that they do have in a day. Filling in all of those empty gaps with something meaningful and productive.

You have way more time in your day expendable to you than you think, you just aren’t taking a step back to notice it.

Thought Experiment: Reflect upon the amount of time that you spend watching TV every single day, the amount of time that you decide to listen to music on your commute, the amount of time you sleep past your alarm you set the night before, and the amount of time that you spend aimlessly scrolling through social media and exploring the internet with the attention span less than that of a goldfish.

Are you proud of the number or the visualization of the time spent that you came up with within your head? Or are you disturbed by it?

Personally, although I manage to do so much in the day already, I realize that I can still do so much more.

After that brief exercise, you probably recognize it too — that you can potentially be doing something more meaningful or productive with that time.

“Everything that I do, every minute I spend is my choice.”
– Theresa Daytner

Find Those Wasted Gaps And Capitalize on Them

Once you’ve identified those wasted gaps, ask yourself what you could do with that time.

It could be anything that’ll progress you in a forward direction, not exactly work-related.

Can you replace the time you spend binge-watching 4 episodes of The Office or 2 episodes of Game of Thrones with a non-fiction or literary fiction book or maybe even catching up with a friend over dinner?
Can you replace the time you spend listening to music on your commute with an audiobook or podcast?
Can you replace the time you spend on your phone with a morning meditation or stretch session, a 10-minute HIIT exercise routine, learning something new, or starting that business you’ve always dreamed of?

You need to constantly be asking yourself these questions by taking a deep breath, stepping back, and evaluating what you really think you should be doing at this moment — if what you are doing right now is really the most important thing you can imagine in your head.

I used to do all of those things above, mindlessly wasting the valuable time that I have by just simply filling my time with “things to do” and keeping myself “busy”.

It wasn’t until I decided to capitalize on that time and focus on constantly building myself mentally, physically, socially, and professionally every waking hour that I had did I start to see actual concrete results in my life.

After that simple adoption, a few of my peers openly told me that I must be some sort of genius, a productivity machine, and a truly sophisticated human being endowed by the gods with the gift of natural talent. But quite honestly, it was just the way I structured my days, managed my time, and stayed consistent in doing so that truly allowed me to exceed beyond all doubtful expectations.

“Work every waking hour” — Elon musk

Final Takeaway

Insane work ethic and lack of procrastination isn’t some mythical superpower that only some of you are lucky to be blessed with. Work ethic is something that can be formed and channeled through the way you decide to manage your own time.

Time is finite and you surely don’t want to leave life knowing that you didn’t live your life to its fullest potential and capitalize on all the living and breathing moments that you have.

When you are on your deathbed, are you really going to be thinking about that one funny TikTok that you watched that one time?

Doubtful.

You’ll be thinking about all that you’ve contributed to this world, all the lives that you touched, and all the time that you spent actually living and experiencing the world around you or lack thereof.

Remember: To create the life that you want, you must first start with managing your time.

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Cloud Developer | Philosopher | Avid Reader | Intellectual Explorer and Lifelong Learner | Athlete | Top Writer @Medium

Santa Ana, CA
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