Time doesn’t really do us any favors. On one hand, it’s not biased — it doesn’t judge nor does it speed up or slow down. It’s consistently consistent. On the other hand, that means time doesn’t care if you need a break, if you want to sit there doing nothing, or if you want more of it. It’s going to keep moving forward. Yet somehow, we manage to waste a lot of time without breaking a sweat. Well, you might want to break out the workout gear, because it’s time to start sweating as you exert effort making the most of the rest of your life. Stop wasting your time, and start doing.
The Wannabe Genie
Let’s say you rub a genie bottle and poof, a genie comes out. Instead of granting you three wishes of whatever the fuck you want, this genie instead tells you the one thing that will happen (not much of a genie, I know). Each day, he says, you will get $1,440 deposited into an account. This account is yours, and you can use those funds for whatever you want at the end of the day.
Oh yeah, now we’re cookin’.
But at the end of the day, the $1,440 that gets deposited each day will collectively disappear and you start from $0 again. If you did nothing for the entire day, you’d have nothing to show for it but a big fat $0. Up until that point, the money is yours.
If you used it well, you’d probably have a few bucks in the account at the end of each day. That’s a smart move, cowboy.
Sounds like a fluffy fairy tale, but I’d wager most of us would definitely take advantage of it.
Now let’s shift gears and have a chat about time. It flies by, and the older we get, the more we realize it rings true. Back in our younger days, we’d do just about anything for a dollar — even at the expense of our sanity and health. But we all reach a point where that kind of changes, and we realize just how much time we’ve wasted over the years doing absolutely nothing, or doing a bunch of the wrong things. Our priorities, so to speak, have shifted.
Time no longer works in our favor. Like mentioned before, it never stops, it’s always punctual, and it has no feelings or emotions. It doesn’t care that you haven’t caught up to it, because it’ll steadily keep moving forward.
Don’t we all wish we just had more time, simply because we wasted so much of it.
Now let’s circle back again to the money example above. Have you put two and two together yet?
Think of the money as your time in minutes per day. We all get the same 1,440 minutes in a day. Knowing that sleep is a necessary evil, you can safely knock out at least 6 hours, or $360, from your total. If you’re consciously aware that sleep is important, you can up that number to at least $420.
That leaves you with roughly $1,000 to use in your waking hours. We wouldn’t be wasting that money if we knew it disappeared. Would you really want to waste your time knowing it disappears, too?
Procrastination and Putting Off
Procrastination sucks, but most of us fall into the trap. Some people are habitual procrastinators, and if you notice one thing, the worst offenders have trouble kicking ass in life.
But yet they’re still alive, because procrastinating doesn’t kill you. Unlike in the wild, where putting something off could mean life or death, we humans (luckily) don’t have to deal with that. (But honestly, did we really fare much better having to deal with the mundane, like filing taxes?)
But even if we consider ourselves somewhat of a go-getter, we fall into the black-hole of procrastination when we see something we want, and then have no idea how to get there. One of two things happen: we put it off, or we never start.
There are two categories of things that we tend to do this with:
One is things that are boring and mundane and we need to do, but we don’t feel like doing.
The other is things we want to accomplish, but they’re far-fetched distant “objects”.
Let’s look at each one separately.
The Boring And The Mundane
The kind of stuff we postpone until we have to do it because, well, we have to. Taxes are a perfect example, because they come with a deadline. Things at work are another, since most of us hate our jobs. Work has projects that also come with a deadline.
Deadlines tend to put a fire under our ass, but if we rely solely on deadlines to get things done, that isn’t the solution.
The Far Fetched Wants
The stuff we want in life but just seems so “out there”, we continue to daydream. Wanting to switch careers is a perfect example. There is no deadline, it’s just a huge want. Becoming a master at something else like a hobby, when you’re just starting out, is another. Talk about overwhelming. Yes, you might suck at drawing right now, but it doesn’t mean you’re doomed.
The Idea of Getting Started
Enter the novel idea of just getting started.
Has it ever crossed your mind that simply getting started can have hugely profound effects? Here’s why:
You don’t have to be a science buff to understand Newton’s First Law of Motion.
An object either remains at rest or continues to move at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by an external force.
Let’s rewrite that in less scientific terms and gear it towards you.
You remain the same or continue to move at the same pace, unless you make it point to push yourself.
Now, let’s add some slang.
If you fail to start, you ain’t movin’. If you stay the same, you’ll stay the mother f’ing same. That is, unless you push yourself to begin movin’.
What does this tell you? Start moving. The ones who are the most successful in life do the mundane and boring things when they don’t feel like it. It’s easy to get hyped up, sit down, and knock things out when we psych ourselves up enough. But the differentiator is doing it when that drive, or motivation, isn’t always there.
The same applies for things you want to accomplish that don’t fall into the boring and mundane category. No one makes a leap from A (beginner) to Z (master) in the span of a month, or even a few. You gotta let it simmer. You gotta let it stew. You gotta let it marinate. You have to layer the ingredients.
Tricking Your Brain
All this said, it takes discipline to make shit happen and get the ball rolling.
Your brain is a complicated three pound wrinkled mass filled with tons of potential and also tons of bullshit.
I mentioned earlier that it’s pretty impossible to trick the body. Well, with one exception. You can, with work, trick the brain.
Studies show that tricking the brain into releasing more dopamine by setting and achieving goals. Here’s the best part: they don’t have to be big goals. Progress of any kind satisfies your brain’s sweet, sweet desire to receive that shot of dopamine.
Remember, dopamine is known as the “feel good” neurotransmitter. It’s triggered when you get something you want. An ice cream cone works, but it won’t really get you much in life besides a temporary sugar rush. Achieving a goal is much better, and it’ll last way longer, too.
Here’s another tip: avoid telling people about most of your goals. You run two risks here: if you somehow fall short of what you said, you’ll be known as all talk. You also could prematurely give yourself a sense of completion just by talking about it with others, making you take your foot off the gas pedal.
No bueno buddy. Keep that foot on the gas.
So if you want to become the next Picasso, you’ve got a number of steps in front of you before you make it there. Buy a book about drawing. Buy the supplies necessary to actually paint and draw. Set the time aside to practice.
There is no other shortcut.
Now if you want to become the next master tax accountant when you file your 2017 returns, just get it done already. Sit down, whip out Turbo Tax, shed a few tears, and hit Submit.
There is no other shortcut.
Motion is the ultimate key to movement, which is the ultimate key to success. Without movement, you’re stuck. Remember, nothing changes if nothing changes.
Want to change something? Get moving.