The ultimate promise of technology was that we’d be able to reclaim our time. Economist John Maynard Keynes even suggested that we’d only need to work about 15 hours per week and as a result, we’d be able to spend more time on things like creativity, innovation, and problem-solving, even leisure. I don’t know what your week looks like, but it certainly didn’t happen for me. Damn it. Most of us are buried in email, glued to our screens, and drowning in notifications without really getting any more work done.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that as artificial intelligence proliferates, technology might finally live up to its initial promise and truly free us from the drudgery of yesterday. I know: I’m biased. But I’m a believer, and for a very specific reason.
Over time I’ve developed a set of habits that taken together go beyond productivity, and I think they could be helpful to you too. These solutions, though, aren’t just technological. I actually suggest we change the way we think about time.
Properly deployed, technology can help us live as Time Lords. These pioneers recognize time is 99% perception and aggressively use technology to unlock their full human potential. Too much? I don’t think so!
Becoming a Time Lord isn’t for everyone. It means embracing a new way to perceive time. Is that slightly geeky? Absolutely! 🙂
Here’s what Time Lords believe.
Find time everywhere
Time is the very fabric of the universe. It moderates everything we do. If you look for it, you’ll find time everywhere. Each moment has the potential to be used effectively, or wasted, so be mindful of your time, all the time.
Your time is yours
You own your time and it’s precious. Time Lords don’t let anyone or anything impose upon their time. That includes rogue apps: Any technology that steals time is not worth your attention. Time Lords optimize their use of technology so that it always serves them and never bogs them down. They actively decide what endeavors are worthwhile.
Measure your time
The only way to take control of your time is to understand it. Time awareness is the most vital step to becoming a Time Lord, and it requires quantifying how you spend your time. Once you decide how to use your time, track it. How are you using it? Where is it going?
Time is hidden in plain sight. As you audit how you spend your time, you’ll start to find moments ripe for optimization, that can give you extra seconds and minutes back. Reallocate that newfound time to more meaningful work.
Time is too important to waste. Time Lords create routines that allow them to better focus on the things that truly push their work forward. Routines are like non-machine automation: they lighten cognitive load so brain cycles can be reallocated to higher level tasks.
Automate what you can
Of course, machine automation is important, too, because time is best spent on the unique activities that only you can do. Anything else sucks up time that could be better spent elsewhere, so automate everything you can and slay those time vampires.
Slow time down
Time is relative. You experience it differently based on a variety of factors. Time Lords make the most of their time by slowing it down. They plan well, avoid surprises, and stay in control so they never have to rush and flounder. “Slower” time is a natural result of following the tenets of the Time Lords.
Humans are not machines. We need time to think and reflect. Time Lords know that spending every waking moment working leads to diminishing returns, so they balance their work time with ample moments for contemplation and relaxation, and strive to use their minds to the fullest extent. Allocate some of the time you’ve saved to invest in yourself and it will pay dividends later.
This post originally appeared on Linkedin.