Time Management and the Quest for Self-Improvement

By Christopher Simms

In today’s world with all of its distractions and increasingly busy work schedule, it can be hard
for some people to find time to focus on themselves. The average person gets approximately 6
hours of sleep a night, and the busy person even less. So how does one find time for daily
obligations, rest, and self-improvement? I have discovered a few methods that have helped me
over the years that perhaps can help you as well. Being a husband and father of two with a 14
hour work day, it can be hard to find time for myself, however, I’ve discovered that if you are
persistent at finding a way to improve yourself, you will inevitably find a way. As the old adage
goes, “Where there is a will, there is a way.”
 Keep a schedule for training time and family time: I wake up before my family and go to
sleep after my family does. This allows time for meditation, exercise, or even preparing
healthy meals. Try this to see if it works for you. Start with a little time and increase
time gradually if you need to. Be flexible with this, sometimes other chores or tasks may
come up late at night or early in the morning that can take you away your personal time.
Such is life! When this happens, keep a good attitude and continue with your schedule
the next day. Eventually this will become habit.
 Respect your time by not sitting idle: While you are cooking or doing laundry, you can
train, read, or listen to audio books that will help you to expand your mind. You can also
listen to audio books on your daily commute to work. While at work use your lunch
break wisely, it is possible to eat a good meal and still have time to work on your
personal goals, even if you only have a 30 minute lunch break. During slow times at
work I’ve briefly worked out in broom closets. It sounds silly, but it was more training
time I was able to add to my day.

 Be realistic: Understand that you will still need rest, food, and recreation. In Wallace
Wattles, “The Science of Getting Rich”, he writes, “Man cannot live fully in body
without good food, comfortable clothing, and warm shelter; and without freedom from
excessive toil. Rest and recreation are also necessary to his physical life.” There have
been times where I’ve forgotten to eat, or I’ve stayed awake too late to get a good night’s
rest. This eventually led to a loss in time working on my goals, because I either became
ill or overslept due to depriving my body of what it needed. Listen to your body, if you
need rest then be sure to get it. If you are hungry take a break to eat. As for recreation, I

play games with my family. If I want to watch a movie, I either exercise while watching
the movie, or I watch it in segments over the course of days or weeks in order to not
waste an entire two hours of my day.

 Save time where you can/Find time where you can: Does it really take you 30 minutes to
eat a meal? Do you really need 15 minutes for a shower? Try to shave time off of
everyday tasks. Make a game out of it; it can be pretty fun actually.
So you don’t have an hour to workout. What time do you have for a workout? If it’s
only five minutes, use it. That’s five minutes you just used towards making yourself a
different person.

 Recognize those habits and activities that no longer serve you: As an adult you are
entitled to your social life and whatever activities you chose to involve yourself in.
However, be honest with yourself and consider what activities or habits, if any, are
keeping you from self-improvement. Do you really need to go out drinking with friends
every Friday night? You’ve grown and changed, but your core groups of friends have
not. Do you really need to spend as much time with them as you have been? You are
trying to eat healthy, do you need to eat junk food just because it is offered to you, or can
you politely decline.

 Involve your friends and family: If your friends and family are open to your self-
improvement agenda, see if they would like to get involved somehow. You could have a
family reading time where you can read your self-improvement books, and they could
read a book of their choice. You could invite your friends to your gym or martial arts
school for training. I’ve worked out in front of my kids, so they think it’s kind of cool
and “grown up” to work out. I’ve found my son sitting in his room meditating, or
practicing martial arts moves between kicking his soccer ball. Every so often he even
motivates me by saying, “Hey dad! Let’s go train!”

We all have 24 hours in a day; if you make an effort you can find good use for those hours and
still live a full exciting life. And if you somehow get off course, don’t be hard on yourself. Get
on course again and keep moving forward until you reach your goals. You owe it to yourself.
Good Luck!

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