What More Could You Accomplish if You Wasted Less Time?

Photo by Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash
“A man who dares to waste one hour of his time has not discovered the value of his life.”
 — Charles Darwin

Last week, I laid out how I’d want to spend the last day of my life.

While my day was fun, it wasn’t fruitful — at least not in terms of productivity.

Which is why this week I’m flipping to the other extreme and breaking down, step by step, what my day would look like if I could stop wasting time and start working harder.

Once again, I hope you’ll play along at home.

Welcome to “On the Clock,” my video series in which I explore what it’s like living with a death countdown clock — a clock that’s counting down to the (theoretical) end of my life.

If you’re unable to watch the video, its transcript is below…

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TRANSCRIPT:

What If I Personified Every Personal Growth Article I’ve Ever Read?

In the previous video, I described what I’d want my last day on Earth to look like.

It was a day full of fun, of reminiscing and laughing with friends and family in between bites of Chick-fil-a chicken biscuits and double bacon cheeseburgers.

It was glorious.

But it was not…productive. At least not in the traditional sense.

Family, friends, having fun — these are essential to my definition of a rewarding life.

But they’re only part of the equation.

I also have goals to pursue, achievements to attain and dreams to make come true.

And the progress I make in those areas plays just as big a part in shaping the story of my life.

One of my biggest frustrations, and one of the main reasons I started this countdown clock experiment, is that I haven’t been making much progress in those areas.

Too often I’m trying to pass the time instead of trying to make the most of it. And that lack of initiative shows.

For awhile now, I’ve joked that I’m about 10 years behind where I should be. In other words, the job I had at 35 was the job most people had when they were 25.

And truthfully, now that I’ve reached 40, I think the gap might’ve swelled closer to the 12- to 14-year range.

Whatever it is, I’m on the wrong side of the curve. And I’d like to try to get this right.

With that in mind, I thought it’d be helpful for me to outline what my most productive day would look like. And my guiding principle is this:

What would my day look like if I were the personification of every personal growth article I’ve ever read?

A couple things to note before I get started:

I do have a standard, full-time job, but for this exercise, let’s pretend my office is closed for Flag Day or something.

Also, I don’t have kids, and I do have a low-maintenance wife, so my time is generally my own.

My Most Productive Day

Morning

I’d wake up early, around 5 or so, to exercise. Workouts would rotate between cardio, strength training and yoga. I don’t want to lie on my deathbed wishing I’d stretched more.

After taking a cold shower, which a lot of the personal growth experts seem to endorse, I’d drink a healthy shake for breakfast. Something with almond milk, spinach, fruit, that sort of thing.

Then I’d meditate, make my bed and write in my journal.

For the next few hours, I’d create.

I’d brainstorm ideas for new articles. I’d write scripts for this video series. I’d work on the next chapter of the book I’ve been thinking about.

My brain is at its freshest in the morning, so this is when I’d want to do my heavy creative lifting.

Whenever I need a break, there’d be no logging onto Twitter or ESPN. Instead, I’d stretch or take a walk around the block — something with the sole purpose of keeping me as productive as possible.

Afternoon

After a healthy lunch, maybe a salad or something that involved avocados, it’d be more of the same:

More writing, more brainstorming, more creating.

Come mid-afternoon, I’d stop and take 20 minutes to meditate.

Around 3 or 3:30, knowing that the right side of my brain is reaching its limit, I’d shift from writing to editing. Working on something I’ve already created isn’t nearly as demanding as something I’m creating from scratch.

If I had to do any administrative-type work, this would also be the time for that.

Night

For dinner, my wife and I would again eat healthfully — lean protein, multiple vegetables. No starches and no bread. And definitely no dessert.

Also, instead of watching old episodes of “30 Rock” while we eat, we’d talk about our days, just as Kramer explained to Jerry that all married couples do.

The TV wouldn’t come on after dinner, either. Instead, we’d sit on the couch and read.

While my wife could read anything she wanted, I wouldn’t read about anything trivial, like Texas Longhorns football. I’d only read books and articles that would help me grow and learn and become the best version of myself.

And because reading is like my own personal Ambien, I’d get in bed at a super reasonable hour — like, still in the single digits, before 10 o’clock.

But before my head hit the pillow, I’d write in my journal, write out tomorrow’s to-do list and come up with a question for my subconscious to ponder while I slept.

And as I drifted off to sleep, there’d be a sense of accomplishment, a sense that I made every second count.

And what better lullaby could there be than that?

Conclusion

If I could be this focused and this efficient, if I could live every day like this, I know I’d be satisfied.

But would I be happy?

(Find out in the next edition of “On the Clock.”)

Not Getting What You Need Out of Life?

Learn to manage your fears and become a bolder risk-taker, decision-maker and communicator with help from my 5-step strategic video.

Click here right now to get the video!


Originally published at The Mission.