Time management for cranky misanthropic bastards

The original title of this post WAS supposed to be "Time management for introverts", but I figure Vox probably wouldn't mind this version too much:
I wouldn't call myself a master of time management. I'm lazy, I procrastinate, and I am appallingly bad about keeping to the schedules I set myself. That being said, I do always find the time to get the important things done and I seldom have any trouble popping up a blog post or two. But to the extent I can offer any advice, it is as follows:
  1. Become a creature of habit. It's much easier to get things done when you do them on auto-pilot.
  2. Set ambitious schedules. Even if you don't keep to them, you'll get a lot farther than you will if you don't try.
  3. Keep the television watching to a minimum. One hour per day, tops.
  4. Avoid getting sucked into pointless internet debates. Make your case, succinctly, and then learn to let it go. You don't need to have the last word; people are perfectly capable of discerning who is an idiot and who is not without your help.
  5. Avoid unnecessary socializing. This sucks up as much or more time than most time-wasters. One is seldom genuinely obliged to do as many things as most people seem to feel the need to do. Your best friend's wedding is an obligation. The funeral of your mother's cousin you never met, not so much.
  6. Don't fight yourself. When you're tired, go to bed. If you're not feeling motivated to do X, do Y instead. It's the MJ approach. If your shot isn't falling, then play defense and take the other team's scorer out of the game. Just don't bench yourself in front of the TV.
  7. Always read everywhere. I actually spend very little time "reading" anymore, in the sense of sitting down with a book. But I read at the gym, when waiting in lines, when waiting while running errands, and on the train. There is usually a book's worth of waiting time per week, so why not use it? There is no excuse not to with all the excellent ereaders on smartphones out there.
  8. Read one serious book for every two pieces of mind-candy.
  9. Go to bed later/get up earlier than everyone else. People are the ultimate distraction. The more alone time you have, the more you can get done.
  10. Focus on the important. The urgent will disappear soon on its own
Surprisingly (or maybe not, depending on your point of view), this is pretty much my view of time management also.

If you're struggling to manage your time while embarking on your long road to continuous self-improvement, you should absolutely start by making important improvement routines into habits. Going to the gym three times a week, for instance, is not a chore for me- hasn't been for years. I'm just so used to it that I do it. Even on bench press days. And I hate bench pressing.

Turning off the TV, or at least disconnecting your cable/satellite subscription, is one of the biggest favours you can do for yourself. The boob tube is nearly useless to me. I've gotten so sick of the relentless, nauseating blue-pill programming that passes as "good TV" these days that I just don't bother anymore; instead, when I do want to watch TV, I'll watch movies or old-school TV serials on Netflix from my childhood. (Speaking of which- which dinosaur-brained idiot decided to get rid of the classic He-Man animated series from Netflix?!?) And to hell with the 500-plus channels of your basic subscription- 495 of them are showing complete crap at any given time. So why bother?

Finally, reading is by far the biggest and easiest way to improve your mind- though given this blog's readership, I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir. At any given time, I'm reading at least three different books of various types- in fact I'm so far behind on posting book reviews that it's not even funny. The beauty of the smartphone is not that it allows you to play Angry Birds or that stupid Fruit Ninja game, it is that you can read the greatest books written by the greatest minds humanity has ever produced at any time and in any place.

Vox's advice isn't really "advice", per se. I personally think that his points are ideas that introverts know and understand at a very visceral level. Whether we always act on them is another story- anyone who saw how unproductive I was this past weekend (unless you count massacring thousands of alien Mike Foxtrots in HALO 3 as productive time- and I do) knows what it means when a deep introvert says that he tends to be lazy. But, the great thing about being a deep introvert is that when we put our minds to it, there is very little that we cannot do. And Vox has, quite simply, told you exactly how to do whatever it is that you need to do in life to accomplish your goals.

Comments

  1. I struggle with time as well. What I want to do doesn't coincide with what I have to do. So I end up leaving what I have to do till the last minute, usually resulting in a rushed job.

    On the book front: Check out The Reformation, by Diarmaid MacCulloch. It's a masterpiece.

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