Your time is more valuable than any other resource or possession. How you spend your time is the equivalent to how you spend your life. With so many distractions pulling our time into several directions, it's no wonder we can't believe where the time goes. This story will reframe the way you think about time, and hopefully inspire you to live life to the fullest.
Nathan Resnick is a 19 year-old college entrepreneur at the University of San Diego, and he is founder of Yes Man Watches. Yes Man is not some bubble gum and sticks operation being run out of dorm room...well it might be running out of dorm room, but it's reached incredible levels of success. The company has raised over $30K (double their goal amount) on Kickstarter with time still left in their campaign. Yes Man Watches have been featured in TrendHunter, the Washington Post, Gadget Flow, Patch and many other reputable publications. This is the kind of start-up success that entrepreneurs dream about! Let's not forget, Nathan has achieved big league success while managing a full course load. Did I mention he still has time for surfing and a social life? I could go on and on about this incredible story, but instead I'd like to share three lessons we can all learn from Nathan that will inspire us to maximize our time in 2014.
1. Surround yourself with go-getters: Nathan attributes much of his success to those around him. His friends are active and live life to the fullest, and so they keep him going. When most students his age would want to snag a few extra hours of sleep in the morning, Nathan and his friends are up and out early in the morning to get some surfing in before their first class. If you read just about any biography of a successful leader, you will find 9 out of 10 times that they have a habit of waking up early and making the most of the early morning hours. When I asked Nathan about why 'Yes Man' is the brand name, he said that when his friends and him get together and someone proposes a new adventure the typical response is 'Yes Man!' and they are off and going. Yes Man is their version of carpe diem.
Food for thought: Think about your group of friends, your family, and your colleagues. How are they contributing to how you spend your time? Is it positive? Are there people in your circle that have more of a positive influence on your motivation to live life to the fullest? What are steps you can take to surround yourself with go-getters?
2. Utilize technology and productivity hacks to avoid wasting time and to lessen the amount of distractions in your day: Nathan does not manage his time all on his own. He relies on a variety of technologies as well as some 'life hacks' to keep him on track. Each night before he goes to bed, he sets 3 reminders on his phone about things that need to get done the next day. Nathan won't go to bed the next day until at least those three things get done. Social media, while it is a great digital tool, can also be a huge distraction and time suck. To avoid losing lots of time to social media, Nathan uses a Google Chrome extension called Stay Focused that will limit the amount of time he spends on social media. Finally, his mindset towards productivity is one that can help anyone stuck in a procrastination rut. Someone with Nathan's workload simply cannot eek out an eleven page English paper in the ninth hour. So he takes big projects and breaks them up into short-term goals. Using his phone reminder app and his rule of getting three done a day, he might have one of those reminders set to finish the outline of his paper a few weeks in advance of the due date. Then, a week later he may set a reminder to get 2-3 pages done. By breaking the assignment up over time into short-term goals, it makes his workload much more manageable.
Food for thought: Think about some of your habits as it relates to productivity. Are social media sites distracting you? How many things do you try to accomplish in a day? How are you holding yourself accountable to that? Would it help to break big projects down into bite-sized action items?
3. Look at your day like a blank canvas: I often write and speak on the topic of innovation, and one thing I will ask audiences to do is to start with a blank canvas. We tend to get caught up in what something is supposed to look like and so our canvas already has a picture painted on it. This only gives us an ability to make small changes to the overall picture. Nathan looked at his class schedule, and instead of seeing what he had to do, he saw which parts were open in his schedule. He then used those openings, as a blank canvas in which to create his art, which inevitably turned into Yes Man Watches. Nathan will often say, "9-5 is only a third of your day." This outlook inspires us to reframe the way we look at our schedule. Whether it is finding time in the morning to read a few chapters of that novel we've always wanted to read, or find 2 hours in the evenings each day to work on that side project we've always wanted to do.
Food for thought: Take a look at your calendar, and audit how you are spending your time. Perhaps make a wish list of things you want to do or accomplish in the month ahead. How can you use the openings in your schedule to take new adventures or accomplish new things?
I know for me, living in the northeast with all the cold weather and snow we've had, I have struggled with venturing out and maximizing my time. I'm thankful for the opportunity to connect with Nathan, and I hope this post inspires others to maximize their time and live life to the fullest.