“The busiest people are often the ones who make the worst decisions. Busy people spend a lot of time correcting poor decisions. And because they’re so busy correcting past decisions, they don’t have time to make good decisions.” Farnam Street Blog
We make decisions every day. Some of them are small, like what to wear or what to have for breakfast. Others are bigger, like whether or not to start our own business or make a large purchase. Weighing the options and making a decision is something that we all do on a daily basis.
In our culture where we value multitasking and instant results, giving an idea the time it needs to develop strong roots, and take in the sun and nutrients needed to come to fruition seems almost unbearable. Even giving an idea the time needed to clearly think about it when it first comes to us often doesn’t happen.
When it comes to making decisions, we often don’t give ourselves enough time. We might have a brilliant idea (or the start of one), but rather than following the thought, we discard it because we’re distracted by something else. Or we might be so busy that we make a decision without taking the time to weigh all of the options.
Decisions are important, and we need to make sure that we’re taking the time to make good ones. That means setting aside some time to think about our options, doing some research, and listening to our intuition. It might take a little bit longer to come to a decision this way, but it’s well worth it.
Consider, what are some decisions that you’ve been putting off? How can you give yourself more time to make them?
Making the Most of Our Time
What I’ve learned is that life is a series of cycles. Our time is on a 24-hour cycle every day from sunrise to sunset, we all have no more than 24 hours in a day. What we do during that time is a cycle of behavior influenced by our thoughts, emotions, memories, and responsibilities that we have created by our choices. If we slow down and stop multitasking-we see things from a whole new perspective.
We can use our natural circadian rhythms in considering how we spend our time. Here’s a useful graphic of the Circadian Rhythm Cycle. We all have a natural rhythm of when we have more energy for creative work or physical exercise and we can use these rhythms to do hard things in our days quicker and with greater ease.
For example, I know that two hours after waking I have the most energy and do my best work. So, I spend the first two hours of my day reading, journaling, planning my day, and doing things that don’t require a lot of analysis or deep thought.
Two hours after waking when I’m most productive, have the most energy, and think best is when I do my deep work (this is often when most people are their most productive and creative as well). Things like writing, newsletters, problem-solving, and activities that take deep concentration I do during this time. This usually lasts for two hours, so I allocate those two hours every day to this type of work. If like me you have trouble getting started with a project-you may enjoy my blog post: 5 Steps to Make Time for Yourself on Your Own Schedule.
Research has shown time and again that the key to being successful is consistency. Having a schedule that works to our advantage gives us the ability to be consistent. Also, giving ourselves time to have a vision of where we’re going and how we’re going to get there is essential to how we spend our time. To start creating your life vision check out Finding Your Life’s Purpose.
As I’ve written about before-email is one of our biggest time wasters. Because of this, I spend no more than a 1/2 hour in the late morning responding to emails and do the same in the late afternoon. I turn off all notifications during this time so that I can focus solely on email and nothing else. The emails that take more concentration, I put in my to-do folder and respond to them the next day during my time when I know I do my best work.
By scheduling my time in this way I’m able to get more done in less time, produce higher quality work, and still have time for family, friends, and fun.
There are limitless opportunities ahead of us when we slow down and simply give ourselves time to think. We make our time work for us. In slowing down, I’ve realized that I get so much more done knowing there will be more time because I’ve given myself the gift of this time. I have a better understanding of how I can make time work for me each day.
Most importantly, I know the times when I have the most energy and choose to do the things that are most important to my growth and development and choose to use that time to my advantage each and every day.
What are some ways that you can optimize your time? How can you make sure that you’re making the most of your 24 hours? Try out a few different things and see what works best for you.
And remember, it’s okay to change things up as your needs change. Life is always changing, so are our needs and how we spend our time.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below on how you plan your day and make the most of your time!