How do you spend the 31,536,000 seconds you have each year? Not having time is one of the main reasons people give for not improving their life or career. In this video I share some tips that helped me build my career while working full time and mandatory overtime with a wife and children.
“Hey, guys. Sylvester Morgan here with SylvesterMorgan.com. Each one of us is blessed with 31,536,000 seconds per year. There are 24 hours in a day. Each one of us has the same 168 hours per week. How do you spend your time? Do you know what percentage of that time is spent sleeping? How many of those hours are spent working? How many of those hours are spent traveling to and from work? How much of that time do you spend with family and friends and loved ones, or things that are really important to you? How much of that time is taken or consumed on watching TV or movies, or just scrolling through your social media? One of the number one obstacles or reasons that people give for not learning a new skillset or growing in their career is that they don’t have time. “I just don’t have time.” You may be following my channel and thinking, “That would be really nice to learn how to code. That sounds really interesting, but I just don’t have time for it.” In this video, I’m going to share some things that really helped me with time management and hopefully you find these helpful as well.
I understand that we all have really busy lives, but I do understand what it’s like to feel like you don’t have time. When I taught myself software development, my wife and I were married and we had children, and I was working a full-time job and I was on mandatory overtime. I can speak to this just a little bit. The first thing that will be really helpful will be to find out where you currently spend your time. If you’re going to learn how to manage your time better, then you first need to learn how you spend your time. You need to gain awareness of that. I like to do this in Microsoft Excel. I’ve also done it with pen and paper. Do it with whatever method works best for you. Across the left side of the paper, go ahead and write down in 30 minute increments the time from when you wake up to when you go to sleep. The earliest time you wake up during the week and then the latest time that you go to sleep. For me, I wake up at 5:30 AM, so I’ll just start at 5 AM, and then write down one row for 5 AM, a row for 5:30, 6 AM, 6:30, 7 AM, 7:30 and so on, all the way to about 11 PM. OK, so the next thing you do is write columns across the top, one for each day of the week. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. This is going to give you visibility into how you spend that 168 hours per week. Start off filling in the things that change the least frequently from week to week, to those things that do vary from week to week. For me, I would start off each day I can go ahead and fill in wake up at 5:30. Then I can fill in what time I go to sleep each night. The next thing, I have a pretty consistent work schedule, so I can fill in what time I plan on arriving to work and what time I plan on leaving. Then I know my commute is about 50 minutes, so I can put 50 minutes before and after that block of work time. I can also go ahead and fill in a half an hour or an hour for lunch each day at work. Now I can go ahead and fill in other things. For me personally, I spend 2 or 3 hours after work each day after I get home having dinner with my family and then spending time with my wife and children. I’ll set aside at least 30 minutes to do some kind of physical exercise each day, and then set aside some time 4 days out of the week to lift weights. I don’t work on Saturdays, so I can set aside this time to do work around the house and yardwork and spend time with family. For my family, Friday nights or Saturday nights are family night, so I’ll set aside that block of time.
When I first did this, I noticed that I had a lot more time than I thought I did. This exercise is really helpful in pointing that out because a lot of people think that they spend their time so wisely, that they don’t waste any time, when if they do this exercise, they’ll find that they actually do. It’s just like when you keep a budget. I know so many people that think they don’t spend money on anything they don’t need, but when they go and look at their bank statement and then do a budget, they find that they’re spending so much money on fast food and eating out and money here and there and it really adds up. People always ask me, “How do you have time? You have 4 daughters, you have a wife- how do you have time to make YouTube videos, to write your book, to continue learning on PluralSight?” But when I did this exercise, here’s what I found. I found that every evening other than the evenings that we have family night, I have about 2 or 3 hours to make use of. Then I have additional time on the weekend. I found that I actually have anywhere from 10 to 20 hours per week, depending on how busy the week is. This is with a wife and children, without neglecting time with them, without neglecting time with family and friends. And I still have 10 to 20 hours per week. Do you know how much you can accomplish in that time? Something else that I found is that I spend about 8 ½ hours each week commuting- 8 ½ hours driving in the car or sitting on the shuttle. I can choose to use this time listening to the radio, or I can choose this time to listen to an audiobook and learn something new. I’m also spending 30 minutes to an hour each day on lunch, so what am I doing with this time?
So what I hope you’ll see when you do this exercise is that you do really have more time than you think to do things and make the best use of the time. This is for those of you who feel like you’re stuck in a situation. You’re in a job you hate or you need to increase your income or something. You have to get out of a tough situation. Then you can really have a really disciplined schedule to get out of that situation more quickly. If you’re in a situation where you are enjoying your career and you’re just looking to grow a little bit or make a little better use of your time, then you may be thinking that having such a disciplined schedule is a little bit too much. This is not about overworking or being a workaholic. Resting and being refreshed and spending time having fun and spending time with friends and family- these things are very important also. And by going through this exercise, you can actually just take command of the time, how you spend it. You can make sure that you fit those things into your schedule, that you make sure that you do make time for those things that are important.
So I’ll end by sharing a couple of tips that have helped me. One of the biggest time wasters- I don’t even remember what the stats are- but the amount of time that people spend watching TV is something ridiculous. So my wife and I have decided not to have a TV in our home, and this is just so that we can spend our time doing things that mean more to us, that are more important to us. Now we do spend our time during family night, for example, watching something online or finding a movie that we enjoy, but not having a TV has really helped me personally. One other cool tip is if you listen to audio books, if you learn by listening to audio books, or if you do online developer training like PluralSight, there is a feature to watch things at double speed or time and a half or even triple speed. I found that I can pretty much understand things just as easily by watching them at double speed. So for example, if I’m using that 8 hours of commute time to listen to audio books, that actually translates into 16 hours of audiobooks. If you like this video, please click the thumbs up. If you want to receive more content from this channel, please subscribe. I’ll see you guys in the next video.”