As I rummaged through the desk abandoned by its owner, I that concluded that whoever occupied this “embassy” had left in a hurry. I found a Red Bull in the receptionist’s desk in the antechamber before the main office on the fifth floor. My colleagues found a variety of goodies, such as candy and magazines strewn about.
Whoever left didn’t seem to care about leaving behind such treats, as they were highly valued in that locale. As I finished up with the bottom drawer, I came across a sheaf of papers. Scanning to them quickly to see if I could find a perspective on my own operations from a higher level, I came across something mundane yet quite interesting to me at the time.
It was an itinerary. Not just a simple itinerary, but one where everything was scheduled down to the minute for a four-star general’s visit. While the timing was tight, there were alternate plans put into it to make up for any deviations. What struck me the most was that all the things this general accomplished in 24 hours. This made me think about how I utilize my own time and how I can improve the use of this irrecoverable asset.
This “embassy” I speak of is not for a country that you find on the map. This is a mysterious country called Atropia. It is part of a United States Army exercise. Surprisingly, my superiors thought it would be a better idea to stay out on the training site and live in the concrete, steel, and plywood buildings before redeploying back to home base.
This efficient decision prevented the unit from getting bogged down in garrison games and cleaning. This also gave us free time to venture into the various buildings that we as soldiers were not allowed to go into during the exercise. A lot of things of this “embassy” surprised me. First off they had internet and an environmental control unit, so the office-types lived in comfort and had Facebook.
During this unexpected amount of free time, I had a lot of time to think. I realized that I could also accomplish more in a day if I planned it out properly. The first step I came up with is identifying the things one cannot skip. These include eating, sleeping, and working out. Depending on your life, it can also include grooming, fornicating, and education. Depending on who you are and what you like to accomplish, identifying the non-negotiable for your schedule is key because everything is a trade-off.
While I was considering what always has to occur in a day, I contemplated what happens over the course of a day that wastes time. A big time sink is watching TV. For example, watching an hour of news is pretty much the equivalent of a 5-minute look over of any news aggregating site. Another huge time sink that can be considered controversial, especially here on Return of Kings, is woman. Think about how much time we spend talking, schmoozing, and gaming woman. A cost-benefit analysis for the time should be undertaken. Getting personal things done on the clock at at work job is a good start. Staying up late on a Thursday night finishing a Return of Kings article is a problem.
The General’s Schedule
Why did I find this itinerary so interesting? Not only did it show how much the general accomplished in the day, but it also gave a new perspective on how to allocate time. If you create a timeline for a week, you will be surprised how many tasks you can fit in to a 24-hour day. Reviewing this timeline can see how much time things really take to do and there may be a whole lot more time than what you originally estimated. Also, by putting it on paper you are mission-oriented where before you would be wasting time contemplating your next move.
Here is an example:
0700 wake up
0710 shower and dress
0730 go to work
1100 eat lunch
1120 work out at the gym
1200 go back to work
1630 go shopping for any items you might need on your way home from work
1700 free time starts
2200 go to sleep
This is a very basic itinerary where you have a five-hour block to fill in with anything left over. This can include game, education, or leisure time. How complicated your daily schedule gets is up to you.
Time conflicts require decision. I not going to tell you how to think, but I will say how I think. I put going to the gym over shopping for food or women if I had to make a choice. I would skip lunch long before I gave up sleep time or gym time. I invite you to write down what you do during the day while it happens and then compared to a schedule you draw up later. It might be quite surprising for you to see how much time was overlooked.