I use a lot of time management techniques and they’re all useful. Time management is a core, foundational skill critical to long-term consistent happiness and an absolute requirement for the Alpha Male 2.0. Without time management skills, you will never be able to get the core areas of your life (business, women, etc.) to optimal levels, nor keep them there if you do.
While all of the time management techniques I use are valuable, some are more powerful than others. Today I’m going to describe one of the most effective and motivational time management techniques I have ever used, and something that I attribute a lot of my success over the past 15 years or so of my life.
This is to constantly be aware of where you are in the year. I will explain.
What is today’s date? Quick! Without looking, what is it?
A decent percentage of you couldn’t answer that question without checking. I think you know the month and the year, but not the date.
Another percentage of you knew exactly what the date was. That’s good, but you don’t attach any significance to it. If you look at today’s date and it shows April 11th, your brain just shrugs. April 11th. Yeah, so what? There’s no significance to that date at all (unless it’s your birthday or some other unusual event).
For me, it’s very different. The date, regardless of what the date is, has massive significance to me and serves as a huge motivator and ass-kicker to get my work done and achieve my goals.
As I’ve mentioned before, I have a constant visual representation of the entire year on my office wall. This shows the entire year with bright orange stickers on every day that has already passed. That means I can, and always do, see, at a glance exactly where I am in the year.
Most people’s brains say, “Yeah, April 11th. Okay, whatever.”
But my brain says, “HOLY SHIT!!! Three months of the year are already over! One-fourth of the year is already GONE! It’s already April! I only have less than nine months to accomplish ALL of my goals and projects for this year! And crap! April is already pretty much HALF WAY OVER! It’s going to be May soon! By the end of the year, I need to get this, and this and this done! OH MY GOD! And I’m getting older by the minute! Soon I’m going to be an entire year older! And I need to get this, and this and this done before age X! I need to get to work! Let’s roll!”
Reading that, it might seem negative. And it is negative in that it’s negative motivation. As Tony Robbins once said 30 years ago and as I have found both for myself and most human beings, negative motivation tends to motivate even better than positive motivation.
If you really want to drive a Mercedes, and I say to you, “Hey man, work hard for the next three weeks, then you can buy a new Mercedes!”, then that will probably motivate you.
But if I say, “Hey man, work hard for the next three weeks, and if you don’t, you’re going to lose all $20,000 from your savings!”, then you’re going to work much harder.
That’s because humans are more motivated by pain rather than pleasure.
Ideally, you should be motivated by both. At the SMIC Program I have many podcasts regarding specific techniques you can use to constantly have positive motivation in your day-to-day life, and they’re important. But negative motivation is also important, and you should do both.
If you have zero negative motivation, you’re likely to get comfortable, which is another word for lazy. I don’t ever want to get lazy. I don’t ever want to lose that edge. So I make sure I have lots of positive and negative motivation to push me forward every day (unless I’m taking a pre-planned day off).
You need to have a constant, daily, visual reminder of where you are in the year. That not only means the current date, but how much time has already passed (and thus unavailable to you), and how little time is now available to you for the rest of the year to get your goals accomplished and your projects done.
My favorite way to do this is to get to my local office supply store once a year and get a laminated all-year calendar on one sheet, then put bright orange stickers on every day that has already passed.
I also will use other colored stickers to denote upcoming events in the year such as critical projects with specific dates attached, travel, static business dates, and key deadlines. To make sure I get that positive motivation in there as well, I also put in fun things like vacations, birthdays, big paydays, and other celebrations that are attached to certain dates.
I make sure to put this calendar in my office where it is very obvious and right in my face. I’ve actually set up my office to where it’s the first thing I see when I walk over to my desk to sit down. I want this thing screaming at me every day. Every day it’s a fantastic wake-up call to get my ass in gear.
Then you need to address the mental aspect of this. As I talk about in The Unchained Man, you need to start viewing time as a dreadfully finite and diminishing resource. I have a massive abundance mentality about literally everything in my life except time. With time, I have a massive scarcity mindset that really helps motivate me.
You need to view yourself as standing alone in the desert. The current year is a bucket of water in your hand that you need to survive, but, there’s a huge hole in the bottom and the water is very quickly draining out. You’ll treasure that water much more with that hole than without it.
This is exactly why no one ever accomplishes their New Year’s resolutions. They’re all excited for the New Year, the only time of the year they’re actually “aware” of where they are in the year, they set a bunch of goals, and by February they’ve forgotten to place any significance on the remainder of the year. It’s just February 3rd now, so what, whatever.
I have said that my favorite day of the entire year is January 2nd. And it is. This day, for me, is more exciting than Christmas and my birthday combined. It’s the first workday after New Years and the only day in the entire year where I have a brand new, unused, fresh year to get my goals accomplished and my projects done. It’s super exciting.
Every day after January 2nd, all the way to December 31st, I watch where I am in the year like a hawk, and this motivates the hell out of me, both positively and negatively.
It’s also useful to know how you break out the year in terms of your goals. I’ve talked about these in other places, but to summarize very quickly:
January through May is Go Time, the best time of the year to work on your business and financial goals since there are very few holidays during this time and the weather (at least in the Northern Hemisphere) is not that great.
January through March is also the best time of year to meet and date new women, for similar reasons. For a breakdown on all the months of the year and how they relate to dating, read this.
The summer months of June through August plus November and December are workable, but more difficult months to get business and women tasks done since everyone is often out of town, taking vacations, hosting visiting family or friends, or enjoying the nicer weather. This does not mean you slack off during those months. I certainly don’t. I’ve made mountains of money and added tons of women to my dating life during these months. I’m just saying these months are not quite the cakewalk the earlier months are.
May, September, and October are “average” or “typical” months with no particular pluses or minuses.
Of course, all of these may vary depending on which country you live in and in which hemisphere you reside, but you get my point.
The bottom line is this:
1. Plan out your year.
2. Get a visual representation of it on your office wall.
3. Mark off the days as you go.
4. Look at this bastard every day and remind yourself that the year is quickly fading.
Make the year both your friend and your enemy. By doing this, you’ll accomplish so much stuff by Christmas that you’ll be shocked at all the amazing stuff you got done that year. This happens to me every year, and it’s a great feeling.