Recently, I tried to revive a music project with a friend.“I would love to, dude,” he said. “But I don’t have time.” He is not the only one faces this challenge. Many people say: “I would love to [insert activity] if only I had time.” Some of the activities include rest. I shudder to think that some people are so busy that they have no time to rest. In fact, I have started feeling like I am lazier than I thought, because I rarely am, if ever, hard pressed for time.
Then again, the bias of the mind is such that it overestimates everything it does. I thought that my ‘time management’ techniques were note-worthy, that people should learn from me. And so I thought of writing a blog post titled ‘6 More Things to Do When You Don’t Have Time’.
Interesting paradox, isn’t it?
I jotted down six ‘activities’ for people to do when they feel like they don’t have time. Then came doubts. This would be another boring, preachy, ‘knowledge dispersing’ post where the adage ‘those who can’t do, teach” would ring true. Some readers would appreciate it, the vast majority would ignore it, and the post would be forgotten within one day of being published. So I thought of taking it one step further.
I would try it on myself first.
I don’t suffer from dearth of time largely because I ignore irrelevant things (almost everything, actually), and because of a poor, virtually non existent, social life (my friends will vouch for that).
It worked wonders for me in the last year. I amassed a lot of knowledge in this period, reading articles online and trying things out, some of which worked while others didn’t. I have learned by getting my hands dirty, something that I could not do in the corporate world.
But I have hit a brick wall now. My ability of keeping things simple has been compromised, and so has my penchant for staying calm. I am stuck in a rut and my perspectives are restricted because I barely meet people. I have begun talking too much, pushing forth my points rather than trying to understand the person in front. I have started thinking that I know what is best for others. I have become lazy and complacent, and have procrastinated on an important project for over a year.
These are not my best days.
I have two choices to address this predicament: I can either wallow in self pity and blame circumstances, or I can fix it. I choose the former.
Just kidding, I choose the latter.
Here is the deal. I am conducting a 21-day experiment on myself (which started on 10th December) and will share the results with you. It takes 21 days to form a new habit, and I will try to form more than one in them.
There are 168 hours in a week. Below are the six activities, and the tentative amount of time that I will spend on them each week.
- Meet friends - 6 hours: The people who say “What? You’re crazy!”, don’t count as friends. The ones who say “You’re crazy and I love it”, do. So I will meet more of the latter. Hopefully I will upload more Facebook and Instagram-worthy photos, or at least be tagged in some.
- Exercise - 5 hours: I already exercise this much each week, so this shouldn’t be difficult to manage.
- Read - 7 hours: I read so much online that I have been ignoring good books which have shaped my thinking. I’m going to return to reading, with the aim of covering at least 20 pages a day.
- New Experiences - 4 hours: This includes listening to and making new music, attending conferences and exhibitions (if applicable) and anything else which plunges me into something new.
- Waste Time - 14 hours: Time spent on social media and in front of the idiot box (even news and sports) is time wasted. I will try to waste 6 hours between Monday and Friday, and 14 on weekends.
Reading useful articles will not be considered wasting time, nor will doing household chores so that mom stops complaining about me being unmarried and her ‘not having a helping hand around the house’.
- Sleep - 50 hours: A minimum of 7 hours each day.
These sum up to 87 hours, which means I am left with 81 hours each week to work, complete household chores, eat food and travel for meetings. I’m thinking that should be enough.
How did I come up with these numbers? I don’t know. I’m just shooting from the hip. These numbers are not carved in stone. As I mentioned before, they are tentative. Plus, I’m still working on efficiently keeping track of this.
This experiment is not to see how much I work. It’s about evolving as a person. I believe that meeting encouraging people and exposing myself to new experiences will motivate me to do what is important, that reading will improve my writing and thinking, and seeing that I have only 81 hours a week to complete whatever I want to will make me more productive.
I could have started today, right? It’s Monday, the beginning of a new week. But I started on 10th December. The end of the experiment will coincide with 31st December, the end of 2015. On 1st January, 2016, I will have the results to share with you. And yes, I will keep tweeting about stuff with the hashtag #my21daychallenge. (It’s an old hashtag but nobody is currently using it. So why reinvent the wheel?) Engage with the hashtag and share your encouragement, insights, criticism or anything that you feel will help me.
Now, there are two choices. And I will choose between them depending upon what you suggest.
- I make a note of weekly progress and share my victories and challenges with you each week
- I make a note of weekly progress and share it with you at the end of three weeks.
What would you prefer? Wish me luck.