Of course I know that you can’t really speed up time. Life isn’t some cheesy 80s movie montage where inspirational music blasts as you accomplish incredible feats in a few short minutes.
But did you ever notice that there are people out there who do get a hell of a lot more done than you do? People who have started companies, climbed mountains or completed charitable missions – all while you struggle to find the energy just to make it to the gym a few times a week?
While you might not be able to increase the amount of time you have or make time move slower, you can definitely improve the ways in which you use the time you’ve been given. Check out these tips for a few ways to live life 3x as fast as normal.
Tip #1 – Do more
Yeah, yeah – I know you’re busy. You’ve got a job, a home to maintain and a group of friends to spend time with. Doing more to achieve your goals or improve your life might seem pretty much impossible, but let’s cut the crap for a minute…
Can you really say that you’re pushing yourself to your limits? That you’ve gone all out and explored the wealth of activities and opportunities that are available in the world? You’ve only got one chance to live this life, so do it right by exploring your passions and setting big, hairy, audacious goals for yourself.
Personally, I try to utilize all 24 hours in the day to be sure I’m squeezing as much out of life as possible. Most days, I work from the minute I wake up (with cartoons playing in the background, just like when I was a kid), and don’t stop until 7:00 or 8:00pm. At that point, I hit the gym and grab dinner with my business partner, AJ, so that we can sync up before catching up on more work and finishing out the night drinking wine and watching TV with my wife.
If I’m not at work, I’m at the race track, alternating 30 minutes of driving with 60 minutes of working and repeating the process over a 12-hour period. Really, whatever schedule I’m working, my goal is to keep my days 100% full of either work or fun with no wasted time whatsoever.
Tip #2 – Do less
Of course, if you want to make time for these remarkable pursuits, something’s got to give. Really, a big part of being successful in the activities you’ve chosen to prioritize in your life comes from deciding what to let go of in order to focus more time and effort on your self-defined goals. I think about it as doing less in some areas in order to do more in others.
If you’re stumped on ways to do less in your life, start with the following options:
- Give up TV during the week. Really, you’ll be surprised by how little your daily life changes, even if you aren’t caught up on the latest episodes of Breaking Bad or the Walking Dead.
- Stop dicking around online. On the one hand, I love the internet. It’s intriguing and it gives me a career that I’m passionate about. But on the other hand, I hate to think about how much more I could have accomplished up to this point if I wasn’t constantly fighting the temptation to read funny articles and look at pictures online.
- Say “no” to commitments you don’t care about. Most of us have at least one commitment or project that we accepted when we shouldn’t have. Take this opportunity to cut this time-sucker out of your life once and for all in order to re-focus your time on your main goals.
- Stop sleeping in. Yeah, it’s fine to sleep in occasionally on the weekends, but otherwise, cut it out. Last year, I started waking up at 6:00am and found that doing so gives me four hours of stress-free and email-free time to focus on working out, eating breakfast with my wife and watching cartoons.
- Delegate remedial work. I used to spend hours upon hours of each day doing routine work, but I’ve since learned to train others to complete the tasks that don’t require my personal involvement. As an example, take a look at the process I outlined in my “Getting Shit Done” post, which covers how I work with a team to make my blog post creation process as efficient as possible.
Something that’s always stuck in my mind about the process of setting and reaching goals is that it takes around 10,000 hours to achieve mastery in something.
Want to be a renowned concert pianist? You’re likely looking at 10,000 hours of scales and practice to reach that level. Want to play sports on a professional level? Sure, there are some naturally gifted athletes out there, but for the most part, you’ll find that pro teams are stocked with the kids who spent hour upon hour practicing skills in their back yards.
So, if you’re working towards a major goal of your own, you can’t be afraid of putting in the hard work. If you’re able to put three hours a week towards your life’s priorities, rather than a single hour of effort, you’ll find yourself hitting this critical 10,000 hour/week mark 3x faster than you would otherwise.
In my own life, I’ve seen this principle in effect in the hobbies I’ve chosen to pursue. Two years ago, I put 3-4 hours a week in at the gym and lost 40 pounds. Then, I shifted that 3-4 hours of commitment to kickboxing and then to rock climbing (which was pretty much the only time I didn’t have my phone on me – a big moment for an iPhone addict!).
Now, I’m into racing cars and am dedicating the same 3-4 hours a week to researching techniques, watching training videos and practicing my skills. When you think about it, 3-4 hours a week isn’t really that much time to free up, and by consistently optimizing these periods to focus on hobbies that interest me, I’ve been able to develop proficiency in four separate areas in the same amount of time that other people might waste.
Tip #3 – Build a solid infrastructure
As a business owner and blogger, I’m no stranger to hard work. Cranking out 6-8 blog posts a week while running a company isn’t easy, but what makes it possible is the infrastructure I’ve built around myself over time. Because I have team members who help me flesh out my ideas and polish my finished articles, I’m able to cut down the amount of time needed to achieve the same results significantly.
Of course, hiring a staff to support your personal goals may not be feasible for you, but infrastructure doesn’t just involve people. Think about the different elements in your life that play a role in the way your day unfolds – some changes are easier to make than others. If your gym clothes aren’t comfortable or accessible, you might not make it to the gym – which can be resolved by buying new clothes or storing them closer to the door. If your computer chair isn’t comfortable, finding a new one might provide the infrastructure needed to ensure greater productivity from your home office.
Or, hell, you could always just hire someone to slap you around if you don’t stay on task!
Tip #4 – Save your money
Living fast requires that you seize opportunities that you may only come across once in a lifetime. If your buddy has a brilliant idea for a startup, joining him at that crucial moment in the company’s formation could turn you into a millionaire. Or, if you come across bargain-basement airfares, taking the leap into long-term travel could provide the momentum needed to make other major changes within your life.
But, guess what? You can’t take advantage of any of these opportunities if you aren’t financially stable. If you’re bogged down in credit card debt, you can’t forgo a few months’ salary to jump into a growing business. And if your bank account has more spider webs than a Walgreens Halloween display, heading out of the country to seek new challenges simply won’t be in the cards.
So if you want to live fast, you’ve got to be careful with your money. Cut out the unnecessary discretionary expenses that provide no long-term benefit (I’m looking at you, Starbucks coffee!) and do everything possible to keep your living costs low. Can you watch Neflix instead of paying for cable? Or can you split the internet bill with your neighbors? Put the cash you free up into savings, and over time, your nest egg will give you the freedom to live faster than you ever thought possible.
Tip #5 – Blow your money
Hope you didn’t think I was done being contradictory yet!
Yes, it’s important to save your money, as having a cushion in the bank will allow you to take advantage of opportunities that allow you to live faster than normal. However, if you never withdraw a single cent from your bank account balance, you aren’t really living at all – let alone living 3x as fast as most people!
So, here’s the deal. Blow some of that money, but blow it on experiences – not goods. Dropping a few grand on an around-the-world plane ticket will give you significantly more memories and experiences than you’ll get by spending the same amount on a new living room set. Or, invest some of your saved funds into learning a new skill or hobby. Ultimately, the amount of life you’ll get out of your purchase will be much greater than spending the same cash on some inanimate object.
My business partner AJ is the perfect example of putting this principle into practice. He jumps out of planes, travels somewhere new every week, and pretty much parties like a rock star – all while working 60-70 hours/week. (One big key to his success is the #workcation – no matter where he is in the world, he’s always committed to doing his best and growing our business).
Tip #6 – Develop skills that are in high demand
Finally, one key part of living fast is moving between different career opportunities in order to experience greater challenges, develop your skills and make more money. The person who pursues step after step of the career ladder ultimately covers more ground in fewer years than the person who stays in the same job for all 40-odd years of his working life.
I started working full-time in 2006, when SEO was really hot. At the time, I had a few years of personal experience in the field, so I started getting 1-2 calls/day from potential employers. Because I saw how big SEO was going to get, I spent all my energy learning as much as I could and jumping around to different positions. As a result, I was able to increase my salary 4.5x over, jump into management and even start a few SEO departments of my own – all within 2-3 years.
But if you want to jump around fast enough to live life at 3x its normal speed, you need to have the skills that people are willing to pay for. Even if you’re the world’s foremost expert on underwater basket weaving, your opportunities are always going to be more limited than someone who’s good at selling, coding or some other high demand skill. Programmers or CRO experts, on the other hand, can move from company to company in various industries, exposing themselves to tons of new experiences and taking advantage of great opportunities along the way.
Obviously, none of the techniques I’ve described here are “easy.” However, if you want to live life 3x as fast, you can’t settle for “easy” – you’ve got to find the drive within yourself that’s needed to push forward and build the life you want to have (not just the one that society thinks you should have). Trust me, it’s a challenge, but eventually, you’ll find that the effort you put into living life at maximum velocity is more than worth it!
So now, I want to hear from you. How do you plan on living your own life at 3x the speed of normal people? Share your thoughts in the comment area below: