Believe in nothing, no matter who says it, even if I say it, if it does not agree with your own experience and your own common sense ~ Buddha

The alpha and omega of life is this: to run my life and not let it run me. In a perverse twist of karma, I have a deep streak of work ethic. The boot-strapping, Henry Ford, ‘You gotta WORK to get ahead in this life, son” type of work ethic.

This is NOT how I want to run my life. I’m 23. I acknowledge that a great deal of front-end effort is necessary for an entrepreneur. But I don’t believe, as my forefathers did, that this type of exertion is going to be necessary for 40-odd years. If it is, I don’t want to play this game anymore.

I have a hard time believing in effortless prosperity. In fact, the basic premise of that tenet is that if your truly believe in yourself, and you contemplate your own self-worth, the universe will see fit to reward you with wealth and prosperity. Now, I think I value myself very highly (especially when I think in terms of growth potential), but I also don’t think I’d value any success I didn’t have to work for. (I’ve talked about this before).

Sweat equity is a good thing, in my opinion. It means that you’ve been given the opportunity to decide whether or not you really want what you’re working towards.

But enough philosophy.

My ultimate goal, in terms of organization and time management, is to achieve effortless optimization of time and energy allocation. Impossible you say? Only if you don’t want to WORK at it, son. You can achieve anything with enough hard work and gumption!

Seriously, though, I’m like a born-again evangelist. I believe deeply that I can become organized enough that the hell-fire flames that consume those around me can not touch me if I am pure. Do I hear an amen, brother!

Damn, those voices are getting out of hand again.

I have several habits that I use to achieve this state of oneness with the universe.

  1. I write down everything I say, do, think, or promise that has a future job attached to it. I don’t worry about organizing it, I just write it down. This empties the mind.
  2. I have a daily checklist that encompasses all the mundane tasks that need to be done in the day. Starting with, “wash your face”, and ending with, “tidy the living room and kitchen before bed”. The aim is NEVER having to think about what needs to be done, except during the designated “planning” portion of your day (see below)
  3. I identify what NEEDS to be done in a day. Need is very strictly interpreted to mean that there is a specific hard deadline associated with it. I try very hard to never schedule more than two of these in a day. If I have to, it usually means that I’ve been lax in getting things done in an efficient manner.
  4. I list items which I would like to complete in during the day. This is my biggest hurdle. I always want to accomplish far more than I actually can or do, bringing on a generous dusting of guilt. Try to keep this list down to 4 items, and if it helps, estimate the time they will take and schedule them into your day timer. This way, you can accurately gauge whether or not you will ACTUALLY have time to do them.

“Life has meaning only in the struggle. Triumph or defeat is in the hands of the Gods… So let us celebrate the struggle!”

~ Swahili Warrior Song quotes

Comments on: "Zen Time Management" (6)

  1. Interesting as always. I’m organized as well, very tidy and particular, and I’ve been called a type-A personality (not in a flattering way either!) a time or two. And I’ve definitely worked hard enough and in wretched enough conditions to prove my work ethic credentials to anyone. But I definitely have some serious misgivings about the whole bizarre Protestant fetish towards work for work’s sake. (And hey, look! I quoted Alain de Botton in that post! Synchronicity abounds!)

    Speaking of the Protestant work ethic, did you ever read Max Weber’s classic?

    • Type A is an insult? No, no, you must have heard it wrong. I never thought of it as work for work’s sake. You work for money, you work to stretch yourself, you work build character (and I’ve had a lot of “character-building” jobs) but I don’t work to fill my time. Or do I? I basically have no life outside of work. Or do I only have hobbies that make money? Suddenly I’m so confused! Nothing is where I thought it was!

      • Hey, since you’re a Calvin & Hobbes fan, you remember that one strip where Calvin asks his dad what a “control freak” is, and he goes off on a rant about how it’s what lazy slackers call a person who actually cares enough to put in the effort to get things done right, and when he’s done, Calvin asks, “Am I in the presence of their king? Should I kneel?” Dad says if anything ever gets done, you have one of them to thank for it.

        (Your reference to character-building work made me think of Calvin’s dad always saying that to him.)

      • I LOVED that strip. And I agree completely.

        Also, I gotta stop looking in fiction when I look up the books you recommend.

  2. Amen! 😉
    Here’s to list-making; most days it’s the only thing that keeps me sane. Let me know about how things are going with your play, dahling! Hope all’s well! 😀

    • List making. How else would I know how far behind I am? (drinks coffee, even though it’s 7 oclock at night.) Cheers.

      The play was great, although it’s funny how everyone thinks they’re being original by casting a female god.

      Btw, thanks for leaving a link to your blog. I will sit down and read it immediately!

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