Time Management Tips of Insanely Busy People
Last updated on June 30, 2017
What do the calendars of entrepreneurs, VIPs, and famous business people look like?
When I met Taylor Pearson, we nerded out over scheduling. We’d compare notes, ideas, and theories on how to optimize our time.
In the weirdest exchanging of pictures in my life, we’d share pics of…
Naughty, naughty Noah.
Because I’m one to share, here’s a screenshot of my calendar:
Everything is color-coded:
- Green = Gym
- Salmon = Sumo work
- Purple = Podcast planning, recording, or brainstorming
- Grey = Growth learning or consuming (i.e. reading)
- Red = Random weird and fun shit, like hanging out with OkDork readers
For some people, it’s overkill to put so much in their calendars.
But for me, it’s critical.
When I optimize and manage my schedule properly, everything falls in line. My days are easier, I’m more organized, and I’m happier.
To help you optimize your own time, I invited Taylor to share the calendar tips, scheduling habits, and time optimization hacks of the world’s best.
Take it away, Taylor…
A few months ago I ran an experiment on myself that completely changed the way I spend my time.
I actually measured, tracked and analyzed it.
There’s all sorts of tools to measure, track and analyze how you spend your money or your website metrics, but not your time. And yet time is just as important if not more important, isn’t it? If you have more time you can use it to make more money or get more traffic.
The result has transformed how I spend my time. I am far better at saying no to things that don’t matter and focusing on the things that do.
Instead of giving you a bunch of broad, B.S. lessons like “watch less television!” like a bad top 10 article on BuzzFeed, I’m going to tell you EXACTLY what you need to do.
I’m going to share a simple exercise you can do this week to help you prioritize and focus on the most important things in your life.
Specifically, you’ll learn:
- How to go plan your ideal week
- Track how you actually spend your time (so you can make adjustments)
- Ways to keep this all in your calendar — so you decrease the chance of messing up
When you see what you ACTUALLY do vs. what you WANT to do every week, you’ll have a clear list of action items for how to spend your time.
That could be:
- Taking random naps (because, why not?)
- Working on fun side projects or side businesses
- Spending time with family and friends
- Or anything else
I’m not going to tell you how to spend your time — instead, I’m going to give you the secrets VIPs and insanely busy people use to make sure they’re putting their time in the right places.
Success is fundamentally about how you spend your time.
Time is the base currency of life. If you have more time, you can convert it into anything you want:
- More money (to buy tacos)
- More time with your family
- Faster progress on that project you know you should be doing
- Exercising more
- Reading more
- Watching more cat videos
Below I’ll share with you not only what I learned, and how I set up my system to find my own personal successes, but also give you the tools and resources to do it yourself.
For the first experiment, I tested for two main things:
First, I thought I wasn’t spending enough of my day in “Maker” time.
Maker time is a concept from Paul Graham’s essay Maker Time, Manager Time. In it, he explains that work time can be divided into either maker or manager time.
- Manager time is usually 30 minute or 1 hour blocks of meetings, emails, and calls.
- Maker time is 2-4 hour blocks of time to really dive into a creative project — writing, coding, creating mock-ups, or mapping out a business strategy.
It’s the same thing as what Cal Newport has called “Deep Work,” the highest leverage work that you need to block out time for to move your business forward as opposed to just keep it running.
I felt like I was getting sucked into too many managerial tasks like email, meetings and phone calls and not spending enough of my time in maker mode.
Second, I thought I wasn’t spending enough time learning.
I find that I need to consume a lot of content to keep a steady “idea flow” going with my projects.
Often times, if I’m stuck and can’t figure out how to solve a business problem, I just need to put it down and read about it.
Almost all business problems have been solved by someone else and it’s a lot easier to learn from someone else than invent from scratch.
I felt like spending a little more time learning from someone else’s mistakes might save me a lot of my own time.
To solve these two issues, I came up with a categorization scheme using Google Calendar:
- Maker – Bold Green. 2-4 hour blocks of creative work
- Manager – Orange. Phone calls, meetings, email and other managerial tasks
- Admin – Bold Red. Low energy work like making a reservation at a restaurant or disputing a credit card charge
- Exercise – Turquoise. Getting swole 😉
- Learning – Bold Blue. Reading book and articles, or going through courses
- Rest/Fun/Social – Purple. Recharge time
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