Let me ask you a question. Do you know more about the characters in the Games of Thrones TV series than your own personal finance details?. How is your free time being used everyday?
Yes, time is that one constraint that everyone must address. In my abundance view of personal finance, I can always recover financial losses, but I cannot recover lost time- ever. I mitigate this time constraint by simply removing hours of wasted time every day.
I Do Not Watch Television.
With the exception of an occasional family movie night on T.V., I consider watching television a complete waste of time that is simply not recoverable. I include sitcoms, reality shows, news/commentary, politics, sports and anything else showing up on a TV in this same timewasting category.
Siting a statistic from Wikipedia, on average American adults watch five hours and four minutes of television per day. So 21% of the average American day is spent getting "educated" by watching TV. I clearly would not be able to succeed in my career, run my own businesses and portfolio if I was watching five hours and four minutes of television daily.
So by making the personal choice to completely avoid this one timewasting activity I am already at a significant advantage with 21% of my productive time free to learn, run through financial modeling scenarios, view potential rental property purchases, exercise, spend quality time with family, etc.
Yes, 21% percent is stunning by itself, but consider how that five hours of daily wasted time factors into your available awake hours- if you sleep, eat, commute and get ready for nine to ten hours total each day, then you really only have fifteen hours of available time per day. So factoring in actual available time the average American adult can spend 33% of his or her time watching television.
Now if you subtract ten hours of work from the adjusted fifteen hours of available time most people have, this leaves you with only five hours of free time during the weekdays- given that five hours and four minutes is the average television watching time for American adults, it is no wonder why the majority of Americans are in debt living paycheck to paycheck with little or no assets in place to fund their basic expenses.
Awake & Thinking Early Each Day
A second method that allows me to be significantly more productive is that I awake early (5:00 am) every day and read, write notes and think about the meetings I have planned that week. I wake up at this time (no alarm clock needed) with a thought of complete clarity on a subject or task. I also enjoy writing my ideas down, or checking my weekly planned stock trades, etc. I own this highly productive time, and I benefit from it seven days a week.
This key time each morning from 5:00am to 7:30am provides a multiple benefit to me. First, everyone is asleep at this time, so I have this time completely to myself. Second, my mind is more focused early in the morning as opposed to later in the day. Third, if possible I avoid reading any emails until at least 7:00 am.
If you start reading email the second you wake up you miss out on the opportunity to think through the days plan, key meetings and tasks. When you dedicate the early morning to focused tasks you will find that this short but very productive period will yield significantly better outcomes that can help you be more productive during your workday.
The result of this early morning time is that I identify three key work tasks that I want to get done that day. I always write these three tasks down, which put these tasks on my radar to complete by the end of that work day.
This is the pattern that works for me, This morning I wrote and published this article during my early hours of productive time. I understand that this particular pattern of early morning productivity will not fit everyone. However finding your own schedule and patterns to help free up productive time is a worthwhile exercise at any phase in your career and life.
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