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How to Find Time | Scott H Young

Time is rarely the problem

Time is limited, but, your attention, energy, and enthusiasm are more limited than your time.

Start creating habits. Inertia is a bigger enemy than a lack of time. Start doing the task for a few minutes a day. If you have only 10 minutes, use it. If your time is fragmented, cut your task up and spread it out. You'll be surprised how much materializes.

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How to Find Time | Scott H Young

How to Find Time | Scott H Young

https://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/2019/02/05/how-to-find-time/

scotthyoung.com

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Key Ideas

Not enough time

It feels like there’s never enough time to do all the things you have in mind.

You want to exercise, eat well and be healthy, You want to do great work, learn a language or guitar. But years slips by while it remains just an idea.

Time is rarely the problem

Time is limited, but, your attention, energy, and enthusiasm are more limited than your time.

Start creating habits. Inertia is a bigger enemy than a lack of time. Start doing the task for a few minutes a day. If you have only 10 minutes, use it. If your time is fragmented, cut your task up and spread it out. You'll be surprised how much materializes.

Your list is not a problem

A list of unfulfilled things isn’t a problem to eliminate. It is a challenge. 

  • Prioritize your goals.
  • Do one thing that matters out of all the possibilities.
  • Say no to all the things that don't meet your criteria.
  • Be content with the one thing you did instead of being unhappy with all the things you did not do.

Our fears drive us

We say we have no time, but we really fear getting started or making a mistake.

Face your fears first. If it is important, do it. If it is unpleasant, do it now. You'll find that it was not so scary after all.

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Ways to improve your life
Ways to improve your life

There are a few different ways you can go about setting a goal or creating a new habit.

  • Target the minimum output. You focus on always doing at least a little bit so t...
When to Focus on the Minimum

Minimum targeting works well for establishing long-term habits.

A goal of, for instance, doing fifty push-ups every day might not be ideal for fitness, but doing something is better than doing nothing.

Another reason to focus on the minimum is that it assumes the difficulty is in starting. To start a process can often be the hardest. Then you want to set a lower threshold to make starting as easy as possible.

When to Target the Average

Focusing on the average makes sense when you're hoping to sustain something, even if it is not always a perfectly easy and consistent output.

It works when you are already putting in a bit of effort, but want to improve that effort over the long-term.

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Dwight Eisenhower
“Plans are nothing; planning is everything.”
Dwight Eisenhower
Woody Allen
Woody Allen

“Eighty percent of success is showing up.”

Don’t Resist

When everything is going right, you’re going with the flow. When everything is not going right, you’re trying to go against it.

So instead of feeling frustrated, choose to take it easy. Have that ice cream. Sleep in. Don’t work out.  Eventually, you’ll want to get back to your productive routines.

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Theories of motivation
Theories of motivation
  • Rational motivation, which reflects our preferences. We're motivated by the opportunities we can notice.
  • Biased motivation. We often ignore ob...
Why we miss opportunities

Some theories of motivation claim we're naturally biased. It may happen because we can't consider all the angles. At other times, as the world advance, the usual criteria no longer apply.

There may be only a few exceptional people like Elon Musk because we can't grasp the idea that one person can create wealth or drive progress. We don't notice opportunities and more easily dismiss them.

Motivation: listen or nudge

If you think motivation is mostly rational, pay attention to what motivates you. You might not feel motivated because your current opportunities aren't that good.

If you think motivation is biased and nudging is necessary, create rules, systems, and habits to move you ahead. If you can't motivate yourself for months or years, your project may be at fault.

The Commitment Muscle

Sticking through things longer builds resilience. But sticking through on a bad idea, project or effort can lose you years of your life.

The goal is to increase your ability to susta...

Quitting Points

They are pre-specified periods of time, effort or stress that you decide you’re willing to endure before you step back and re-evaluate.

Pick Your Quitting Point
  • Set shorter lengths of projects: set projects that are short enough that committing to them all the way is easy enough to do or break into chunks th bigger ones.
  • Set re-evaluation points for ongoing habits and goals.
  • Based on impact to other areas of your life. You can choose metrics like: time and how those things impact your life.
Taking action = eventual success
Taking action = eventual success

Inaction is the biggest cause of our failures and our miseries. If we could consistently do the things we know we should do, we would be more successful, and our lives would be better. Yet w...

Explaining inaction

Some possible but weak reasons why action is hard:

  • Talent. But the world is full of brilliant stars that flame out and mediocre minds that build empires.
  • Preferences can explain our failure to try, but don't explain our inner struggles with inaction.
  • Capacity for effort. If your capacity for doing things is lower, it does not explain chronic bursts of activity with inevitable crashes in your goals and projects.
  • Motivation. Some people with the most reason have the hardest time taking action. 
Confidence
Motivation and expectation of success create a feedback loop:
  • Your motivation to complete a task depends on the value of the reward and your expectation of success. 
  • Your expectation of success depends on your motivation.

If your projects tend to fail, your expectations are low, and motivation fades. If your projects tend to succeed, your expectations go up, and motivation stays strong.

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Consistency matters more than frequency

We usually make effort unsustainable. For example:

  • We work out like crazy for a few days (usually at the beginning of the year) and never go back to the gym.
  • We try to med...
Identity-based Habits
To build the identity of the person you want to become, ask yourself what the behavior of a person who has the habit you want to develop is. For example:
  • What is the behavior a person who is in shape? They go to the gym consistently
  • What is the behavior of a prolific writer? They crack open a notebook every day.
Raise Your Level of Intensity Gradually
When something becomes effortless, raise the level of intensity, to the point where you can get there without too much resistance, but it’s still somewhat challenging. To put it more concisely, bend but don’t break.

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Spare capacity and growth
Spare capacity and growth
  • Avoid thinking of spare capacity as the lack of things on your calendar. Since we’re never really doing nothing it’s rare to see people talk about cultivating it directly.
  • The amo...
Factors that determine spare capacity
  • How much effort/time is needed to sustain your current lifestyle.
  • How ambitious you are.
  • Material circumstances. Wealth, unsurprisingly, gives capacity.
  • Work flexibility.
  • Family and relationship obligations.
  • How many things are non-negotiable for you.
Set priorities

Instead of browsing social media, use that time to exercise or do something that actually helps you.

Set your priorities and the time for them. Once scheduled, they will become second nature....

It doesn’t take that long

Once you decide what you want to do, it takes little time to do it. For exercise, fifteen minutes is all it takes to get your heart pumping, and you're done for the day.

Sharing too soon

Even though you want to share with the world that you've gone to the gym or started a diet, don't share your progress until you've done it for three or six months. It will keep you going for longer and make you consistent. 

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There are no productivity hacks
There are no productivity hacks

Habits and work systems can produce the best return on your time.

Getting more work done is about knowing what to do, when to do it, and how to get it done in order to maxi...

Unimportant tasks are really just distractions

Urgent but unimportant tasks = distractions.

Urgent tasks put us into constant “reply mode.” Important work is related to planned tasks that move us closer to our goals.

Interruptions break your flow

Anytime you are pulled away from your tasks, it takes time to readjust to them when you jump back in (sometimes it can take up to 25 minutes).

Interruptions (notifications, loud noises, social media, checking email etc.) harm your concentration.

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Free time is not wasted time

As long as you interpret time management as a tool to connect your desired outcomes and the time available to you, free time may turn out to be much, much more productive than what you were doing b...

Time management thinking improves your other skills
  • You learn to take your time and make calm, measured decisions rather than last minute, panicked choices.
  • You also learn assertiveness as you delegate and say no to commitments, and patience as you manage your goals.