I spent over two hours on the road getting lost only to reach my destination and be told I had to come back in five days.
But before I get into that, you have to understand my philosophy on time.
A lot of people, including members of my team, have often asked me how I spend my day. And it really comes down to my beliefs on time management.
I wake up every morning after 8 full hours of sleep. Sleep is important to me, and I recommend you look at your personal sleep cycle too. Because our bodies and minds have to be rested in order to perform at its highest potential.
Once I’m up, I’ll down a “green shake” which is a combination of broccoli, two chicken breasts and other healthy stuff blended together as a full meal. It waits for me on my work table every morning. Prepared in advance. Yes, I’m a little spoilt. It’s endearing.
The reason why I’m telling you about the green shake is not so you know how much of a health nut I am, but because of the underlying purpose behind drinking my meals.
I’m a slow eater. Always have been. A few months ago I realized how much time I really wasted sitting and eating. So I decided to blend everything together into a soup and drink it.
Gross to some. But incredibly effective. Every green shake I consume gives me back an hour of time I would have otherwise squandered on chewing.
After that I have my daily commute to the toilet where I… do my business. Both figuratively and literally as it happens. I find there’s nothing more time-wasteful as sitting there waiting for number two. So at this time I’ll multitask by going through my inbox and marking priority emails that need my attention.
With dozens of email a day, it’s important for me to filter out noise. There are just not enough hours in a day to read and reply every single one.
Now for the past few years I’ve been going to the gym 6-7 times a week. It’s the one place where I can really center myself and focus. Because of that, I make it a point to reply all the email that I’ve marked as priorities before working out. That way I have a clear mind and can concentrate without that gnawing feeling of unfinished business hanging over my head.
Following the workout I’ll have a protein shake then drive home.
During that 10 minute drive I’ll make my phone calls. Do you see the pattern? I don’t waste a moment. I’m always thinking about how to boost my productivity and get the most out of any mundane everyday situation.
Of course, it’s not without its dangers.
Just the other day I was pulled over by a cop for talking on my cell. I really shouldn’t go into details. So I’m just going to say two things on the matter:
- I forgot my wallet at home
- Thank goodness Chinese New Year just passed, because I had angpows in my car…
Back home. Second protein shake and a shower.
Then I go into the office and work alongside my team until dinner time. At night, I’ll read.
I like compartmentalizing different activities throughout the day. For example, I reserve 3pm as my meeting time. That way if I have to meet with partners or clients, I only need to check my 3pm for the day to see if I’m free.
Now before I became this systematic, I used to work non-stop, late into the early morning and sleep irregular hours. At the time I was happy because I was doing something I loved and enjoyed every moment of it.
But eventually your health is going to take a toll. And I just can’t keep up with that lifestyle anymore.
Now there are two things I avoid at all costs:
1. Watching TV.
2. Facebook. Until recently I never bothered logging into my account. I have nothing against social media, but I don’t need to tell you about the time vortex that is Facebook.
So that’s how I spend my time. As you can see, I make the most out of every minute I have. And I’ll shortcut my way through menial tasks as much as I can so I can focus on things that matter.
And that brings me back to getting lost on the road for over two hours only to be told to come back in five days. It was a massive disruption and pain in the ass to my daily schedule of time optimization.
You see I recently bought a property and had to change the electricity and water bill to my name. Normally I wouldn’t bother doing something like this and would just send a representative to get it done.
However in this case I was told I had to be there in person.
So whatever. I took it as a learning lesson. To know firsthand how this is done. So that I could later explain it to a representative to do it for me.
I had to go to Syabas Gombak to make the name change.
Using Waze, I drove for around 45 minutes and ended up here:
Funny and ridiculously frustrating.
I drove on until Waze ran out of road.
So I looked up the Syabas website, clicked on directions and Google Maps took over:
After over an hour of driving, I ended up here:
I finally found the place and found that because the previous owner had closed the account, I had to open a new one. In order to do that I had to put down a RM100 deposit.
But I could only pay the deposit in five days. And I had to do it in person.
Beyond frustrating. But I always try to get a lesson out of everything that happens, because in every case, if you look hard enough, you’ll find one.
Half my day was gone trying to complete this tiny menial task. Which wasn’t even completed because I had to return in five days’ time to pay the deposit.
Some may say it was a total waste of time.
But I learned the process of changing the name on a water bill. With that knowledge, I can tell someone else how to do it for me.
And because I did it myself, I know exactly how much time and effort goes into it. So I know how much to pay that person to get the job done.
This is the core of successful outsourcing.
Outsourcing is one of the best ways to improve your productivity. Because while you work on something that needs your personal attention, you can be rest assured that someone else is working on other aspects of your business for you.
At the start of my online career, I did everything myself. Graphics, copy writing, content creation, websites and so on. So knew how hard or easy a task was. I knew how much time it would take to complete it.
So when I started hiring contractors, I knew what a realistic time frame would be for the work to be delivered. And I could pay them accordingly.
Very often, people go straight to outsourcing without knowing a thing about what it takes to get the job done. The outcome is that they pay overpriced fees for sub-par work. Then they complain that they got scammed.
Although you should leverage your time through outsourcing, you have to be willing to put in the time to fully understand the scope of the job you’re outsourcing. Only then can you make informed decisions during the hiring process.
People measure productivity on two things:
- Time spent doing something. Yes, you may have spent 3 hours in front of your computer, but 2.5 hours of that time might have been spent watching YouTube videos.
- Results. How many ticks can you add to your checklist?
Time is the only resource you can’t get back. Spend it wisely.