Time is your most precious asset: learn to waste it efficiently

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04-08-2012

If there is one thing in life you can never get back, it is time. There are millions of strategies and theories out there teaching you how to get the best out of the time you spend. Today, let's see together how to waste it efficiently.

When it comes to time management, there are two main schools: Partnoy and Gladwell.

 

Frank Partnoy, author of "Wait: The Art and Science of Delay", defends the importance of procrastination. Malcolm Gladwell, author of "The Tipping point", defends on the other hand the idea of doing things immediately.

The large majority of people stand somewhere in-between those two theories: generally pushing things to later without necessarily waiting for the last minute.

The main concept I would like to discuss here is the importance of the time management and furthermore the spare time management. What do you do with your free time?

 JulienRio.com: Time is your most precious asset: learn to waste it efficiently

My own experience

Personally, I am an adept of the "Don't waste a second" theory: whenever I have some spare time I will try to organize it in a way that it will produce some value. Reading a book teaching me something, browsing blogs treating interesting topics, building new websites or projects, thinking of new concepts, etc... My theory has been "any second spent on something not producing value is a second wasted" for the past few years. If you look at your life as a timeline, you are somewhere in-between the starting point and an undefined end. The only thing you know for sure is that this timeline will end at some point and therefore the distance between you and your endpoint is constantly decreasing.

Seeing things that way led me to a simple understanding: if I have limited time ahead of me, any second I waste is a second I will not get back.

From that point comes the next: I must make the best use of each single second, multitasking when possible.

 

This theory went so far that I sometimes felt guilty sitting down with a movie, sleeping late in the morning or spending time with friends.

 

At that point, I realized that all life had a purpose: why living if not to accomplish something? For some people, it might be building an empire, becoming an icon or setting a trend. For most of us, the unique purpose is to be happy.

Once again, the next point came naturally: how can you be happy when not allowing yourself to take a second of rest?

On top of that, another point became obvious: when not allowing yourself a second to breathe, you will face, from time to time, total breakdown periods. Those breakdowns are times when your motivation absolutely vanished, and all those precious seconds you have saved are then wasted into a storm of vacuity.

Through this article I will try to share with you my own vision of optimal time management based on my personal experience and understanding.

 JulienRio.com: Time is your most precious asset: learn to waste it efficiently

Don't waste your time

Have you ever found yourself sitting on a chair browsing the net without purpose?

Whenever you have some free time, you might start doing things such as watching TV programs you have no interest in or daydreaming: this is what I call wasting time.

Why not using this time for better profit? For example, if you finished your tasks earlier than expected, why not spending this extra time doing something that will provide you with quality time on the next day? You might work on some project, prepare your dinner, plan your holidays... do something that is actually fruitful, regardless whether it is relaxing or not. Doing so will give you some extra free time you might spend on more meaningful activities such as spending time with your friends or your family.

It is important that you manage your time if you want to get the best out of it.

However, do not jump to the other extreme: considering any non-working time as a wasted time. Family time might not bring you direct countable value but it is about sharing and enjoying life. Try to analyze your actions and categorize what is actually pointless (watching uninteresting programs on TV because you are too lazy to use the controller) and what is making you happier and more relaxed (spending time with friends).

Once you have defined what is important to you, you will have less difficulties managing your time and enjoying it.

 

Waste your time

I named this article "Time is your most precious asset: learn to waste it efficiently" for a reason: sometimes, the best way to optimize your time is to waste it.

I mentioned earlier that non-stop working leads to unavoidable breakdowns: the key is to manage your time in such a way that you allow yourself breaks and relaxing times. Those relaxing times are essential for your brain to change focus and allow it seeing the big picture.

Partnoy defends the procrastination. This word became trendy in the past few years: procrastination actually refers to the fact of postponing tasks to later. If Gladwell encourages people to think with their guts and act quickly, Partnoy explains that pushing things to the last minute gives you more time to think and creates higher value.

JulienRio.com: Time is your most precious asset: learn to waste it efficiently

If we take the example of the angry customer (if you haven't read it yet, I invite you to check out my earlier article "How to answer customers emails"), it is sometimes very tempting to reply right away with the same angry tone. However, it is never a good idea to reply based on passion or anger: taking some time to calm down and think usually offers much better perspectives and opportunities.

This is a perfect example of what efficient procrastination is all about: pushing some task to later in order to have time to think it through.

From now on, you should have no problem organizing your time in an efficient way, balancing working and leisure time.

To go even further in time management I invite you to read "Organize your tasks efficiently: i-list.it, management tool" in which I present a great organization tool, i-list.it.

 

Julien Rio.

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