The gift of 24 hours

03 July, 2018
6 min to read

The gift of 24 hours

Do you know someone who says that he/she has enough time? Enough time for work, for family, for personal projects, for rest. I hope that you do know such people or maybe you’re the one. But in my case I constantly see how me personally and people I know are complaining that there is not enough time to do this or that.

We’re all given a gift of time. Everyone of us receives the gift of 24 hours each morning. There is no way to increase this number. The only thing we can do is to spend it more productively.

I’m sure that you’ve read and practiced a lot of productivity related techniques. This article for sure won’t be a magic pill for everyone. Please treat it as humble pieces of advice that I’ve tested and that helped me personally and that might hopefully will be useful for you.

In this article I want to share with you several tips that helped me personally to do more every day during this constant 24-hours time frame. For me these tips are like seeds that you’re sowing into the soil of your life. As you might guess everything you sow will produce fruits.

The “fruits” I’ve reaped so far

I have a regular job that requires up to 8 hours per day. There is only 2–3 free hours left for personal projects. The important thing here is that all of mentioned below have been done during those free several hours per day. So here are some “fruits” that I’ve “reaped” so far after “sowing” the principles mentioned below in this article:

  1. I’ve created JavaScript Algorithms and Data Structures repository — the 25k+ stars project was the most trending repository of the week on GitHub (as for May 25th), and the most trending repository of the month (as for June 15th) with the peak of 5000 stars per day. This project contains JavaScript examples of classic data-structures and algorithms for learning purpose.
  2. I’ve launched AllBible Project — online Bible study web-service. The project that lives by itself for 8 years already without any advertisement, and it still serves for 5k+ users every day and that had users from 180 countries already.
  3. I’ve created Angular Library Seed — project that helped people to create their own Angular 2 libraries.
  4. I’ve launched Aggregatus — the service that helps you to aggregate data from many web-sites into one searchable, sortable and filterable collections. This project isn’t finished yet and has a lot of things to do so far. But the biggest gain I’ve got from it is precious experience.

First of all, I can’t and I won’t call these items successful. The reason for that is simple — you and only you must decide what success means to you. Your definition of success will be the right one for you. Not for others. Work in outsource company? Work in product company? Work in Google? Work in small but perspective start-up? Create your own start-up? Spend more time with family? Be happy with what you’ve got? It is completely up to you.

Thus, if nothing from above has attracted your attention or has fit to your definitions of success then please just skip this article and don’t read further. Really. Don’t waste your time and do something that will bring you closer to your success goals instead.

The “seeds” I sowed so far

Try to define what success means to you. Say NO to things that out of your definitions.

Continuing the previous section it seems really important to decide what do you want to get from your life? What is success to you? What your definition of success? Try to define it. This will help you to prioritize your life. And be responsible for your definition of success now and in 20, 30, 40+ years from now. After you’ll have your definitions of success it would be much easier to say NO to certain time consumers. Thus, to become more focused on the things that really matters to you. For instance your family might be really important to you. If relationship in your family is a part of your life success then you might probably need to say NO to heat another team-building with team-mates.

Find out your passion

This one is yet another that is hard for me to describe.

You need to have something inside of you that will be like an engine that will make you do “things” continuously.

I like what Joyce Meyer said once. She said something like: “The things that you do every day will make you a winner. Not the things that you do occasionally”. This is so true as for me. You need to have something inside of you that will make you do “things” (do coding?) on weekends, at 5 AM, or during lunch. Something you’re ready to work on even without being paid for it.

Think about it. Do you have something you just do continuously? Without somebody asking you or forcing you to do it. Whether it is cooking or coding or writing. Anything.

Do something continuously and not occasionally

This is tightly connected to the previous one. Set you mind to do something regularly and not occasionally. For example: “Five days of the week I’ll get up early at 6 am, and I’ll learn Python during next month”. The passion from the previous topic will help you to do so.

Make “land-marks”

Do something to fix/memorize/mark your achievements. Make them visible for you and others. If you’ve learnt something — write an article about it. Share your knowledge with others. If you’ve created some project — release it so that it would become accessible. If you’ve optimized your terminal settings — upload them to GitHub, make them open-source. The main idea here is when you’ve achieved something (small or big) just fix it somehow and make it visible.

First of all, this may serve others. It will also give you a feeling that you’re not wasting your time, but you’re actually achieved something and this something is measurable.

Write articles

This one again is connected to previous topic. The main idea here is that when you try to write an article about your product or about something you’ve learnt this will make your unstructured thoughts in your head to become strictly structured, prioritized and concise. You’ll be surprised how hard is to structure the thoughts from your head on the paper. Afterwards, you’ll be surprised that after writing an article the topic you’ve wrote about will be much clearer for you.

Learn/try something new

Subscribe to your niche groups in social media (Twitter, Facebook) or to your niche tags in blogs like Medium. The goal here is to stay in touch with new technologies and trends. It is not about reading tons of information every day. It may even harm you and steal your precious time. But rather to do it time from time. Just not to stay in the past.

After you’ve noticed something new and better don’t be afraid to try it. Try React instead of Angular (or vice-versa), try Lumen instead of Silex (or vice-versa), try Python instead of PHP (or vice-versa)…

80% rule

Don’t try to make it perfect. Make it 80% done and move on. If you’re going to release something don’t get it done up until 100%. It may cost you a lot of your precious time.

Try to get up early

This one might be personal. But at least you may try it. I found out that brain works much faster and clearer during the morning hours (starting from 5 or 6AM) than during the evening. For me personally, I’ve noticed that I’m doing the same tasks in the morning almost twice faster than in the evening. Probably because the morning time is quite and free from distractions, and your brain is fresh and not overloaded by daily routines.

Surround yourself with people that are better than you

This will give you an opportunity to grow. Every day. By just looking at what people do and how do they do it. Accept their criticism. It may not be comfortable to be surrounded by better people because you will always feel like you’re stupid. But again, this is the process of growth. Once you become a best one in your team you’ll probably notice that your growth is slowed down.

Surround yourself with people that motivates you

It may be your wife, your friend or your boss. Doesn’t matter. But surround yourself with the people who will challenge you to go out from your comfort zone and do something new, hard or unknown. The people who will support you in your deeds.

A sort of a closure :)

There are for sure a lot of other principles and “seeds” you may sow that haven’t been mentioned here. But these several ones made a lot of changes in my life. I hope that some of it will also do the same in yours.

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