Writer Chris Hardwick reveals the inside story of his feature on the art of organizational self-help. Spoiler: After three methods and six weeks, he’s still a little disorganized.
I read this article in my hardcopy of Wired Magazine (January 2009) last night Diary of a Self-Help Dropout: Flirting With the 4-Hour Workweek by Chris Hardwick – and got a real laugh out of it, as his summary of modern day time management philosophies gelled very closely with my own. He spends time assessing 3 different time management approaches. The context of his reference to “Get off my lawn” was hilarious. However, in reading this, the article got me thinking about time management in general. I’ve been called/accused/labelled over the years as a “Scheduling Nazi”, and variations of (pick one): “Hyper/Extremely/Super/Irrationally Organised”. More accurately put, “Anal Retentive” is as apt a classification as any.
In saying that, since I was a teenager baking bread at 3am at my first job, I have run on the below rule set, which has served me pretty well.
168 hours in a week (7 days x 24 hours)
50 hours I’m asleep (7 nights x ~7 hours each night)
10 hours I’m traveling to/from work (5 days x 2 hours each day)
110 hours left, which occupies:
40 hours at work (5 days x 8 hours each day)
70 left for play, eat, talk, read, interact, look, hear, smell, touch etc.
That is ALOT of time. I don’t care what anyone says, 70 hours to do your own thing is alot, no matter which way you cut it. Luckily I also catch the train, which allows me to read a fair bit, listen to music and on the odd occasion chat to a random somebody (sometimes my dad, sometimes my boss, sometimes a neighbour).
The comfort I take from the above is that I don’t try and make more time. That just ain’t going to happen, much as some other people may try and believe it. So as a consequence, what precious time I have, I try and make every second count – type quicker, read quicker, talk (often too much) quicker and cut to the chase on what is important to me. This extends to interactivity – why hang out with people I don’t think much of? I would much rather work and spend time with people who I respect, enjoy their company, opinion and as I have alluded too earlier “someone who I can have a beer with”.
The approaches which Hardwick assessed were:
- David Allen: Getting Things Done
- Julie Morgenstern: Never Check E-Mail in the Morning
- Timothy Ferriss’: The 4-Hour Workweek
Each is definitely worth a read.