My new secret for having more time

I don’t know about you, but when I reflect on my life I find it impossibly full. Family. Work. Friends. Reading. Learning. Thinking. Writing. Project. DIY. Exercise. Chores. Shopping. Meditation. Fun. Relaxing. I only just remembered fun and relaxation and I’m sure I’m missing other major items from this list.

Not the same as life

Not the same as life

And that’s a problem. When, not if, new things are forcibly wedged in then other stuff always gets squeezed or squeezed out. And life is not like carbon. Putting it under pressure does not create diamonds. I know from painful past experience that relationships don’t harden but disintegrate when placed under excess pressure, and for that matter nothing else gets better either. Which is why I’m excited by an almost magical solution to the problem of an over-full life, one that has emerged accidentally in 2014Q4 from a long running and almost pathologically frenetic attempt to organise, plan and goal set my life.

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Goal setting that works

Making New Year’s resolutions work is legendarily difficult. For me at least they had always been gestated on the spur of a desperate moment, often through a haze of alcohol.

On the other hand, just using a daily todo list was a disaster in slow motion. The problem? I was always really busy, but I never did anything important.

Now it has taken me a while to find a solution, and it might not work for you, but on the off chance it does, here it is. Caveat: It wasn’t what I was expecting.

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The best financial decision I ever made

When Katie and I started going out, and for a long time afterwards, we lived apart. At first that just made sense (you don’t move in with someone three days after meeting them) and later it was a necessity, while I was working in London and she was finishing her doctorate in Oxford. Overall, long distance and living apart is rubbish, but it did mean that we managed to avoid all the thorny financial decisions that being in a relationship normally brings for much longer than you’d expect.

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The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

Tying together the latest neurology, psychology and neurology research, Charles Duhigg’s book The Power of Habit presents a compelling description of habits: how we get them, how we change them and their wider appearance in companies and entire societies. With the framework he builds it becomes possible to understand why I can’t resist sugar and why Rosa Parks (and no one else) truly set the Civil Rights movement in motion. What’s more, it becomes possible to change my sugar addiction and understand how BigRetailChain is pulling my psychological levers to make me buy more. Well written, interesting and enjoyable, I strongly recommend this book. Continue reading

Living an organised life in the clouds, part 5: References and Ticklers

There are two big parts to organising my life: using my time well, and not losing key information that I need to know. So far I’ve described how I organise my time using Fixed Blocks, Anytime Tasks and Projects. In this post I’m going to try and sum up the laundry list of techniques I have for tracking of all the info in my life. I’ll also mention what I do to capture inspiration and track my money (not the same thing) so apologies in advance for the length of this post!

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Living an organised life in the cloud, part 3: Anytime Tasks

This is part 3 of a series of posts, describing how I organise my life and everything in it. Rather than an ad hoc scattering of random ideas hodge-podged together, I had time recently to engineer a system that really works. My life is now much less stressful, much more productive, and much more fun! This makes me a very happy man, and in this post I describe how I organise the Anytime Tasks component of my life.

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