Time is really important — perhaps the only completely non-renewable resource for an individual.
Kai Zau and I are running a group training improving this over the next 4.5 weeks.
The Basic Idea
We all have 24 hours per day. We all spend some of those hours in ways we are greatly happy we spend them, and we waste and feel dumb about how we spend some of those hours.
We want to improve on that. We’ll do two things —
1. Diagnoses of some of where your time is going.
2. Making improvements to where your time is going.
The Four Types of Improvement of Where Time Goes
Diagnosis is pretty simple — we’ll lead the group in measuring or estimating different activities.
Once you have a baseline of where things are going, there’s four things you can do to improve on them.
1. Better Efficiency / Time Reduction: For activities which have a necessary or valuable outcome, but which aren’t necessarily valuable to work on, we can become more efficient. This can be getting better at clearing your email, setting up Amazon Prime or similar to remove errands, getting faster or using better technique on any core aspect of work that needs be done.
2. Minimization / Extinction: For activities which are detrimental and aren’t valuable, we can look to minimize or extinct them. Commuting, waiting in line, neurotic procrastination (surfing the web miserably while procrastinating, etc); these activities don’t add much by themselves. There’s a variety of ways to minimize or extinct these behaviors — for activities with a somewhat legitimate payoff (procrastination as a response to anxiety), find replacement better behaviors or lower the anxiety. Activities like waiting in line can be minimized by planning and scheduling better.
3. Sequencing Time Better: The efficiency and effectiveness of some activities is much higher when done at higher levels of energy or attention, such as doing high-creative work. Other activities can be completed even when tired or not at peak; EX, doing routine paperwork. There’s no real magic to it and we’re not claiming it’s revolutionary, but most people could sequence things a lot better and examine when they do things. A simple example might be using breakfast and showering as your first and second breaks from creative work instead of doing them immediately to start the day before working.
4. Redeploying Time Smartly: Each week has 168 hours in it. If, like most people, you have more than 168 hours of things you’d like to do — perhaps because you’re an entrepreneur and have an infinitely long list of things you’d like to do, or perhaps you’ve gotten behind schedule on something and would like to catch up — it can be possible to feel like you never have enough time and get the “hamster running in wheel” feeling. So it’s important to note when your trajectory and efficiency are improving, and explicitly starting carving out and redeploying time to non-urgent stuff that’s good for your well-being and long-term effectiveness. Again, we’re not saying this is revolutionary; just that most people could stand to do more of it.
A One-Hour-Per-Day Improvement
I expect that some people who sign up for this will already be devastatingly effective, so individual mileage will vary greatly — but the target Kai and I are setting is working to shift one hour per day of your time. We think that’s a very reasonable number for most people.
This will come from a variety of things. If we can reduce your email usage and neurotic procrastination each by 15 minutes per day on average, we’re already halfway there. Replace one or two worthless errands and increase your efficiency on one of your core duties through a little bit better design, planning, or skillful execution, and you’ve reclaimed 7 hours per week.
Individual mileage will vary, but that’s roughly the level of improvement we’ll be targeting over the 4.5 weeks of the program.
This will be online. We’ll kick off with afternoon sessions next weekend with a small group.
We’ll work things out on Saturday and Sunday with some fundamentals —
Saturday 19 March: 4PM Eastern Time (1PM Pacific)
Sunday 20 March: 4PM Eastern Time (1PM Pacific)
If you join, please ensure your Sunday is largely free since we have some exercises for you to do.
We’ll then meet online the next four Wednesdays in the evening at 8PM Eastern (5PM Pacific) —
Wednesday 23 March 8PM EST (5PM Pacific)
Wednesday 30 March 8PM EST (5PM Pacific)
Wednesday 6 April 8PM EST (5PM Pacific)
Wednesday 13 April 8PM EST (5PM Pacific)
We’ve been designing and setting up a private forum for this. Attendees will have access to the forum for all of March, April, May, and June with Sebastian and Kai checking in periodically. We’ve got some different ideas of what might happen with the forum afterwards; for now, know you’ll have access at least 3 months, though the majority of improvements should be identified and actualized while on-program.
What We Want Attendees to Take Away From This
We expect you to get short-term and long-term gains from this. Short-term gains are obvious — by rearranging and improving a number of areas of your efficiency and effectiveness, you free up more time, do more of what you want to do, and less of what you don’t want to be doing.
In the short term, you get the benefits of accountability, having a nice and smart group around you, and the instruction.
In the long term, we’re looking for this to improve your ability to diagnose, measure, and design your life and activities.
Think of it like "personal training for working and hours usage” — when you work with a personal trainer in the gym, you get stronger and get better form immediately, you get some accountability, you get some motivation. Additionally, you ideally come away with improved skill at the weightlifting or physical training techniques you learned which can go forwards with you. You can build on that foundation going forwards; if you happen to backslide, it becomes easier to restart training subsequent times.
We’re not promising miracles here — simply solid, smart, fundamental improvements in both short-term usage and skill improvement.
Q: My biggest most horrible time wasting thing is _____________. Are you going to help me overcome that?
A: Maybe, and maybe not. Oftentimes, it’s harder to learn a skill (measuring time and making efficiency improvements are both skills) in areas that are additionally emotionally charged. We’ll want you to get the fundamentals on something that’s boring and unemotional, to learn the fundamental lessons. We can build on that to reduce things like neurotic procrastination, but that comes after getting the fundamental skill down.
Q: Will this be a total revolutionary miracle?
A: It’d be great if it is. But we’ll be really happy if you make solid fundamental incremental progress in core areas, and have more free time and more skill at this. We’re aiming to help the median ambitious person make an ambitious-but-reasonable 1-hour-per-day average improvement. It’s on you to do the work to get those gains, but we think that’s possible for most people who aren’t already nearly at peak efficiency.
Q: I’m really busy. How committed do I have to be?
A: Please come to both of those first weekend sessions; you can’t miss those. Please plan on attending all of the remaining Wednesday sessions. It’s okay to miss at most one of them for a good reason, if say you have a wedding coming up or something. But who is busy on Wednesday night randomly? Don’t miss sessions. Beyond that, the more work you put in, the more you’ll benefit. But this is far more about awareness and design than about needing to put in raw hours; the point, you’ll recall, is to reduce and reclaim mediocre-to-bad hours in your regular life so you have more time for good to exceptional hours.
Q: I have X really weird crazy thing that’s going to guarantee I fail if I join!
A: Umm, that’s not a question.
Q: I have X really weird crazy thing that’s going to guarantee I fail if I join! Should I still join?
A: No, please don’t.
Q: I have X really weird crazy thing about my life, but I generally achieve things and work through it. Can this still work for me if I work hard and don’t make stupid excuses and do dumb stuff?
Q: What happens at the end of the three months in the forum?
A: We’ll see. We might have a carefully vetted paid community forum or we might transition to using more individualized technology. We’re very interested in what helps people make and adhere to life-enhancing changes. This is a work in progress and we’ll be on top of it. We’re ensuring you’ve got plenty of time and resources to make the requisite changes and get the benefits even in the first 4.5 weeks though; we see the forum/community aspects as more of a bonus.
Q: Will you do this again?
A: Not sure. We’ll see.
I Want to Join. How much is this and what’s next?
After that, mark your calendar for Saturday and Sunday March 19th/20th at 4PM Eastern time, and Wednesdays 23 Mar / 30 Mar / 6 April / 13 April at at 8PM Eastern time.
Rest of instructions will be via email.
Sebastian and Kai
Looks really interesting but I am not sure the times are going to work for me (3am in Japan for the weekend workshops) :)
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