by Periklis Gkolias

The art of leveraging your time

Photo by Kevin Ku on Unsplash

Oh dear! If I had a dime every time (I just rhymed — twice!) someone, including me, complained about the lack of time, I’d be super rich. ?

We all have 24 hours per day to achieve our goals, complete our personal and professional tasks, spend quality time with our family and friends, take care of our bodies, and so much more.

The thing is that some people make time everyday, and achieve in a year things that others need 5, 10 or even more years to achieve.

I was always fascinated by this “superhuman skill”, so for the past few years I’ve been following the below process:

  • Read about the subject
  • Analyze and apply what I’ve learned in real life
  • Evaluate my results
  • Decide to keep the practice or throw it out

Below are some of my observations and tips I have come up with during this time.

The Pareto principle

Also known as the 80/20 law. This means that 20% of your tasks will yield 80% of your results. And the remaining 80% of the tasks will give you the other 20% of your results.

So starting today, make sure that everything you do during the day gives back the maximum results.

Maximum results according to what, though?

I’m glad you asked.

Well, that depends on you. Each one of us have different goals.

For a web developer, it might be acquiring a skill that will give them the best possible career prospects, or a big raise, or take them one step closer to a big career dream.

For a single parent of five kids, it might be making sure that all their kids are well cared-for and safe.

Read lots of books

If time is money, then reading the right books will impart great knowledge. This will, in turn, help you expand your skillset and abilities.

Additionally, books can help you enter a wind-down-before-sleep phase (so you both learn and relax) as well as help power up the brain engine again in the morning.

This becomes even more helpful if you do it during the so-called “dead hours”, like waiting at the doctor’s office, or while commuting.

Hmm, how about squeezing in a few pages while waiting for your significant other when they are late again? ?

Hey sweetie, I was just reading a book :)

Audiobooks

For more advanced anti-dead time folks. Audiobooks books have all the pros of physical books, and they can also be used when you’re moving around. You can even listen to them while working out doing cardio training in the gym.

This way, you’ll learn even while you accomplish other important tasks.

Exercise during your commute

As you have probably already figured it out, I think daily commutes are a big time liability. But you can compensate for this quite easily. For example, you can cycle to your office.

You will reach the office fast enough (although maybe not as fast as with your car). Additionally, the initial cost of buying a bike is relatively small and quickly pays off. And by the end of the day, you will have done more cardio than most people around you might do in a week. Good deal, huh?

Use great hardware to eliminate unnecessary delays

Do you remember when sending a couple of emails took you 5 minutes each, without taking into account the time spent on typing them? Are you constantly waiting for a production build, and it takes ages because your CI/CD solution runs on your beloved ENIAC and you can’t call it a day until it is successful?

Hello FamilyGuy

Have you ever done the math to see how much time you waste on such things? Quality hardware is a great investment, and having a Scrooge McDuck mentality is not a wise choice, if you care about your time.

I am not saying go out and buy the most expensive gadget or computer you can find. But be willing to spend a few more bucks to achieve higher quality levels.

No hitting snooze

This alone has made a significant positive change in my life, especially to my productivity. Why, you ask? Why is it so bad staying in bed for 20 more minutes?

Well apart for not taking advantage of your time (which is what this article is about), here are a couple of articles (and they are only the tip of the iceberg) about the issue:

If you need to relax, do it NOW

We are not robots, and we are not living only to cross off tasks from our checklist. Thus, you need to listen to your body and take care of it so that is powerful and productive when needed.

If you cannot keep your eyes open, put everything on hold and go to sleep.

If you have forgotten what was the last time you laughed extremely hard, close the freakin’ IDE and go watch a comedy with your significant other.

If you feel the pace of your life is unsustainable, try a ‘No-electronics-Saturday’. You will be surprised how creative our grandparents had to be, for example, in order to spend their free time. And if you employ the Pareto principle, you might realise that you are overcommitting without any actual returns.

Thank you for reading this article. I hope the tips covered above help you generate more time for yourselves and what you think is important. And if so, please give me some love by spreading the word and clapping ? below to show me your appreciation. ?

As always, feel free to contribute to the comments section with your own special tips.

Originally published at perigk.github.io