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CZ on Time Management


Today, I was asked: “how do you have time to read so many books?” So, here it is.

I believe time management is mostly about saying “no.” What you don’t do is more important than what you do.

I don't do meet-n-greets, intro/discovery meetings, etc. These take a lot of time and are usually super inefficient. I ruthlessly say no, to the point of being rude. I send people this article. It may be impolite, but it saves me time.

I like brevity. It frees up time for something else. If something can be summarized, it should be.

I keep most of my meetings to 15 mins or less, even in person. Again, I just tell them I only have 15 min at the start.

I don’t join meetings if I’m not needed. I don’t just listen in. I ask for a summary I can read in 30 seconds.

I don’t chit chat, work or personal, online or IRL. I always ask, “what do you want me to do?” If there is no action involved, I end or ignore the convo. I don’t chat for fun.

I exit chat groups that I no longer need to speak in, both at work and personally. It’s just one less thing I need to click on. One less notification, one less pop-up.

I don’t socialize much, either. I am not a “hub,” I don’t keep in touch with many people. I have a tiny network. I make sure there are a few “hubs” (super networkers) in my network. I rely on them to reach out to people when I need to.

I do hang out with a small number of friends socially, but probably much less than most people do.

I don’t do shopping. I hate it. I buy most things online, in bulk. 10 of the same pants, shirts, socks, etc. Mostly one of the first 5 items in the search results or whatever the AI recommends so that I don’t have to think.

I don’t cook (talent problem). I order 1 of the first 3 things I see on the menu. I don’t spend more than 10 seconds on ordering. I much prefer quick meals over “French dinners”. Sorry France, not a taste thing, just a time thing. I always ask the French chefs to serve “all dishes” at once, and try to ignore the offended looks on their faces.

I don’t organize my room, desk, or suitcase. It’s always a mess.

I don't read news, unless someone sends me a link. Even then, I just scan it in 10 seconds. I am a fast reader.

I don't watch sports, unless we have some sponsorship, like CR7 or Argentina in the World Cup, which I actually only watched the last game on TV. What a match, though! I know what I have to give up to make up for time.

I don't watch TV. I used to watch a lot of movies, but nowadays, I find most movies boring. Maybe I am getting too old.

I don't do TikTok, videos feeds, etc. For my bad back, I follow a few “osteopath/chiropractor/exercise” types on Instagram so I get motivation to do some simple exercises every day.

I do spend quite a bit of time on Twitter and write some blogs.

I don't listen to music. I also hate loud music at restaurants or meeting venues. I always ask them to turn it down. I like quiet places.

Basically, I am a really really boring guy.

I listen to books. I listen to books when I am showering, brushing my teeth, and of course, on the toilet. I listen to books when I am in a car, going through airports, etc. I listen to books for an hour or so before bed each day (this alone easily gets to 1 book a week). The biggest chunk though, is in airplanes. If I am up for it, I will try to write a blog post or something. When I am tired, I just listen to books. I can go through 2-3 books in one long flight. And I fly a lot. 600 hours in the air last year.

I listen at 2.5x speed most of the time (you get used to it after a while). Most books average to about 4 hrs of listening time. 

How do I choose books? Some are friends’ recommendations. Some are AI recommendations based on books I like.

Of the books I don’t like, I stop listening as soon as I have that feeling. I don’t finish most of the books I buy.

Of the books I like, I listen to them multiple times and also buy the Kindle version to read. 

Time is the most limited resource. And knowledge is the most powerful multiplier. Don’t trade time for anything else.

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