Have a Longer Day: An Experiment in Making Time
A blog post titled How to Have a 36 Hour Day has inspired me to gain more functional time in a given day. That is, how can I turn my current 24 hours into something more? How can I get more from my 24 hours a day? That's the focus of a little experiment I'm going to do.
1. Make time
What I am hoping to do is to try and find ways to make time by cutting the fat from some areas of my life and becoming more efficient or effective in others.
2. Employ periodization
This experiment is also part of what I mentioned in When Training Principles Become Life Principals, as I am going to tackle it using periodization and some of the same methods that I would use for multisport training.
A starting point
How to Have a 36 Hour Day provides a some interesting ideas as to how a person can get more hours from a 24 hour day. Here's a recap of the advice given there by author Jon (A lot of these are YMMV ideas: your mileage may vary, as some may work for you and some not):
- Optimize Your Sleep
- Optimize Your Diet
- Multi Task
- Get Organized
- Improve Your Typing Speed
- Improve Your Reading Speed
- Learn Out Loud
- Use Software To Your Advantage
- Cut Your TV Time in Half
- Get Help from Others
An Experiment in Making Time Using Periodization
Generally speaking, the early phases in a Periodization training cycle work on general facets of what is being trained. As you progress in your training cycles you get more specific with your training, working on finer details or a specific target.
From the list above, there are some obvious things that a person could do straight away to get big time benefits and increase productivity: cutting TV time in half, and Learning Out Loud (using audiotapes/cds/mp3s rather than books) will immediately gain time and get more done with little effort.
Conversely, learning to type might be considered more specific: improving a specific facet of something you do to reap what for most would be a minimal but rewarding benefit.
I have taken two steps this week to try and work on some general facets of making more time in my life:
- Optimizing sleep
- Changing the way I communicate with co-workers and friends to try and gain more time to focus on the work at hand that I face every day.
Constraining communication to gain freedom
Expect more on #1 in a later post, but #2 was simple. Last week I found that I would go hours just communicating with people. So I decided to set some basic rules about when and how I would be available to my co-workers and friends. For example:
- Setting specific times that I check my e-mail during the day. As my co-workers know when I'm checking, they'll know when to expect a reply, and I've instructed them with a way to get in touch if it's urgent.
- I've began to use a free chat account at Campfire to virtually meet with colleagues if we need to do some quick back and forth to get thru some snags.
- I have enabled Skype Voicemail which allows people to leave me a voice message if they need to talk.
I'm hoping that by setting some constraints on when and how I'll communicate, I'll gain some time and freedom to work!
(updated) Further Reading
After publishing this post I came across Study: Brits blow 2hrs/day on inefficient tech communication over at 43 folders, where Merlin Mann links up an article that states:
Two hours, 10 minutes was the amount that people wasted each day at work on average, of which one hour 38 minutes was due to communication technologies not being used to good effect.
That is a lot of time, and it is precisely the kind of time I am looking to free up by changing the way that I communicate as outlined above.