Moving Forward then Looking Backward

 

“You should call me beautiful,” Lindsay said with a smile, “you always used to call me that.”

“Yeah,” I replied, “back when I was in high school and I had zero responsibilities other than keeping my grades in the safe zone, writing you love notes, and lifting weights.” I shifted my gaze to the floor. “Now all I seem to focus on is making as much money as possible.”

Then I made a statement that she did not necessarily agree with, but I believe is true for most guys who are like me:

In high school we do nothing but look forward to what is next and how to get there.

In our adult life, once we have aged 10-12 years from graduating high school, we try to determine how to create the time we had in high school while maintaining the income we and our families have come to expect and need.

In high school I was hardly making any money. I always hustled at something, but the money was never in massive payouts. In high school I had a lot of time.

I was rich in time.

Fast forward 12 years since graduating and I hustle just as hard, make a lot more money, but have little to no time. Now I am rich in money, but poor in time.

Time is what we all want (ok, maybe not all of us, but a majority of us). A longer life, a longer day, a longer time having coffee chatting with someone special to us, more time to read that good book, etc.

More time.

And now, in our adult lives, the only way to create more time is to first create more money.

More money, if created wisely (i.e. in a way that is creating passive and residual income streams) will afford us the opportunity to spend our time the way we want to spend our time.

For me, this means looking backwards.

In high school, in my late teens, I feel and believe that I had hit the sweet spot in my personality, character, and being. Sure, there were some aspects that were off, and they were corrected, but, for the most part, my late teen years are years I long for.

Why?

Time.

I had time to create. To think. To read. To love. To write.

It was also a time of simplicity. A time where the K.I.S.S. principle was in full effect for me (Keep It Simple Stupid). And that KISS principle allowed my mind and body to be in a place of extreme vigor, to which I desperately want to return.

And that brings me to the simple and silly exchange I had with my wife at the top of this post.

I do need to call her beautiful more often (that’s what I called her in high school instead of using her name) and I certainly don’t need to wait until I have created more money to do so.

But the line of thinking, of stopping to think why I don’t call her beautiful more often, brought me full circle to what I have been working so hard to do for the past year and completely validated the time (and money) I am spending now so that I can have more time (and money) in the near future.

To be frank, I am trying to think of a take away for you, as the reader.

I don’t want to be one of those writers that only writes to self-examine, but I do think that there may be times when that is just as valuable as a more direct approach to writing directly to you.

Because at the end of the day, I write because I need to write. And I hope, that through my writing, you will find something of value that you can take away and use to make your life better, funnier, happier, or all of the above.

Question and Answer (in the comments)

Maybe I’ll just ask a question, and let the words above make the point, whether directly or indirectly. What is something you want more of in your life? And as a follow-up, what daily actions are you taking to achieve that?

Click the like button below if you enjoyed this, leave a comment if this inspired any thoughts, and certainly share if you think this would be enjoyed by someone you know.

But, most importantly, have an awesome day!

Making Small Changes that will Bring Big Results (Eventually)

An Update on Schedules and Time Management

A week or so ago we discussed sleep and how annoyingly important it is. In that post I shared this thought with you:

…I am inclined to take another look at my schedule. Move things around (again) and figure out how I can still do what I need to do, but finish the day at 10. Realistically I should finish the day at 9:30 so I can be asleep by 10. Just thinking out loud here.

Sleeping for Efficiency – Aaron Aiken

I have readjusted my schedule and gave it a test run last week, successfully for the most-part. Here’s what I did and then I’ll explain a little more of the thought process.

My typical weekly calendar showing 11:30pm as "bed time"
My typical weekly calendar showing 11:30pm as “bed time”

My previous schedule had me working on my now part-time business from approximately 8pm-10pm, writing here from 10pm-11pm, and reading from 11pm-11:30pm. What would inevitably happen is I’d work on work from 8pm-1am. This happened due to a mix of terrible task management, mismanagement of expectations, and working at the wrong end of the day.

In addition to the terrible working hours, this schedule had me getting, on average, 6 hours of sleep each night. Do that for too many weeks without a break and your body will begin to fight you. Like it or not, you are human, and your body is a sophisticated “machine” that requires a certain amount of rest in order to function in the manner it was created to function (at maximum efficiency). Not allowing my body to get what it needed for rest was something I had to be honest about and meet head on.

So I changed my schedule this past week. Now, instead of working from 8pm-10pm, I work from 6am-8am. In bed by 8:30 without any screens on (thanks to reader Kyle Quinlan for mentioning this idea in the comments of Sleeping for Efficiency) and hopefully reading a book until 9pm, at which point I turn all of the lights off and set out to sleep. Alarm goes off at 5am and guess what? I scored 8 hours of sleep, and beginning at 6am will have two hours set aside to work on work.

My new schedule - Working on Work before Work in the Morning
The red blocks is the work that used to be accomplished in the evenings.

The great thing about moving this scheduled work to the morning is that I cannot work over that time by much without altering the entire day, and possibly week. 15 minutes at the most, that’s how much extra I can safely work. Working in the evening allowed me to say to myself, “I can stay up another hour and still get 6 hours of sleep.” I can’t do that on the new schedule. If I work an hour longer at home it means I have to work an hour longer at the office, which means I’ll get home an hour later, and the domino effect of this one decision carries on and on and on.

I Learned a Few Things About Myself

Mornings

First, when I’m home for the day in the evening I need to be finished working. Evening time is family time, relax time, rejuvenate time. I thought I was a night owl, and a morning person, but now I’m more inclined to say that I’m just a morning person (if I get 8 hours of sleep 😉 ).

Quality of Life

Second, even with this adjusted schedule working an extra 8-10 hours on work Monday through Friday is not something I want to do longterm. I need to continue doing it now to follow through on promises I made last Fall, but once those obligations have been met I plan to reevaluate quality of life compared to the money I’m being paid. Just being honest here.

Ideally I’d like to cut out custom website work entirely and focus solely on maintenance contracts. If I do this I can feasibly work an extra 4-6 hours Monday through Friday and not feel stressed or burdened by the extra work.

Just Be Honest

Finally, I learned that we are all different and need to be honest with ourselves about that. I need 8 hours of sleep. I wish I didn’t, but I do and will not sacrifice that time. Sleep sets the course for my day. I work better in the morning and not during the evening.

I am tired of constantly having to work work work. I’ve been doing this for far too long and the reward has not been great enough to continue. Due to this, I’ve learned that any other ventures I pursue outside of my full-time work need to require little to zero input from me on a day to day basis in order to operate and generate income. I’m not sure what that is exactly, but I am at least armed with the knowledge which will help me make informed and better decisions in the future.

I’ll close this by saying this is just the beginning of a new chapter for me. I have plenty more to share regarding this topic and will do so later. For now, I encourage you to take an honest look at your day to day schedule. Examine your quality of life. Are you happy with your schedule? Is your quality of life such that you are content? Answer those honestly and make small changes. Don’t change careers or quit your job. Work within your existing life and make the small changes that will help make larger improvements now and in the future.