Writing #19: Time, Balance and the Investments for Results

I asked my brother @jonathanandsyllables if I could feature him on my blog for writing assignment #19. I gave free rein in terms of topic and he cranked this out in, like, 15 minutes. Ridiculous!!

I read this over and was like “Dude, you need to write more, this is dope!”. But he’s mostly art driven so check out his artwork on his Tumblr page, his work is AH-mazing

In the meantime, here’s his post. Feel free to comment below!

Time, Balance and the Investments for Results

by Jonathan M.

What you put the most into gives you the most bountiful return. But how much is too much? How to find a good balance?


Often, we tend to romanticize excessiveness. Someone who spent 20 hours working and four hours sleeping daily is hailed as a “hard worker” or a “visionary.” At the expense of his/her health you say? What dedication!

Eh… Not really.

I remember in university, one of my dear friends and I were hanging out in one of the computer labs on campus.

“It really irks me,” she said, half-laughing, “How people are like, ‘Oh, I only slept 5 hours last night’ and then another person will pipe in with ‘Oh yeah? Well, I only slept for TWO HOURS last night.’ It’s like, dude we get it, you’re both incredibly unhealthy. Take care of yourselves better.”

It doesn’t matter how much you abuse your body in search of quick turnovers and rad results. Your are human, and you can only take so much of it before you crumple under the undue stress. It may work for a while, but eventually you may put you health, both mental and physical in jeopardy, and potentially be out of commission, unable to do work because you wouldn’t cut yourself a break.

But how do we find the TIME? How can we succeed, but also not have to work crazy hours and take time for family, friends and hobbies and the things that make us happy? Living a stressed, holiday-free lifestyle is by no means sustainable, but what other choice is there??! I can hear your screams through hoarse lungs.

I see your point. Here are some tips that I have gained from several sources, observing people and making a duck-ton of mistakes. They are by no means infallible, but they’ve helped me to optimize my time to avoid late hours working on things whenever possible and accomplish side projects and things without having to borrow to heavily from my sweet, salacious sleep schedule.

Let’s go!!

Learn when you work best.

Are you a night owl? An early-bird? A versatile creature of both day and night which preys neither on coffee nor black tea? Depending on how you work best, figure out what times you work best at and strive to function then.

Block out time you can regularly commit to.

If you can carve out that 4AM to 5 AM block to write and edit your novel, go ham fam! If it’s 8 pm to 9:30 on a Saturday night to make edits to the arthouse film-noir you shot last Tuesday, that’s awesome too. Just be consistent. If you miss a day, forgive yourself, but try to hop back on the wagon and power on forward!

Learn the value of an hour.

The key is focus and optimizing your time. If you’ve been “working” for 1 hour, but 35 minutes of that hour is occupied browsing WordPress or Tumblr or Twitter, that is not going to be a productive hour. If that’s a set of hours, and you have a deadline, you end up spilling into overtime. The later you work, the harder it is to function.

Try playing some music or a podcast to try to keep your mind from wandering and minimize internet browsing as you work. I would suggest avoiding visual media, cuz you need your eyes for what you’re working on.

Minimise distractions.

This ties into my previous point.

When you are distracted, and come back to working on something, you have to spend a considerable amount of time getting back into the groove of working on the project you were working on. That’s valuable time lost. That includes the “Oh-crap-what-was-I-just-typing” feeling you feel after “Alt-Tab” ing back from seeing what Sean Connery dropped in that 48 hour HBO special you had playing in the background. Avoid moments like this by….

Planning rewards for yourself upon completion of your task.

This is important because everybody likes rewards, and as mentioned before, “multi-tasking” is often unfeasible when only one of the multi-tasks is an actual task. So plot out something to the effect of “once I finish this one chapter of reading, I will allot myself an hour of Solitaire.” It’s like a cashback reward, but instead of cash it’s fun stuff.

Be wary, as sometimes you may be tempted to hastily rush through work, just so you can watch an hour of that favorite show or play a run of Solitaire (It’s a fun game, don’t hate me…). However, you have to have a high quality standard and stick to it. That’s what makes completion so satisfying.

Love what you do!

If you don’t love what you do, then you’re gonna want to be doing literally anything but what you do. So, try to work with what you love. If you don’t inherently love what you do, but have to do it anyways, try to find aspects that appeal to what you enjoy in life. Not everything is the easiest to enjoy, but definitely try to put the effort in. Again, everything is a potential learning experience and can lead to greater opportunities in the future.

Learn to say No.

This one is hard as a poorly baked loaf of bread. Or a brick. Or a particularly puzzling sudoku puzzle…

Saying no is not just turning down projects that you don’t have time for, although that is certainly an aspect of it. Sometimes it’s saying no to an outing with friends or going out to eat with people so you can have a little more time to finish up that project and have time to relax or hang out later.

Ultimately it comes down to…

Treating time like money. Budget it wisely.

Time like money, for us, is finite. You only have so much of it.

Be wise in your use of it. Don’t spend it all in one place. Spend a good of it on/with people you love or at least really enjoy. Invest it into avenues with quantifiable returns. Save some of it for specific things. The parallels are endless.


Hopefully this was helpful. The main take-away is that quality always matters more than quantity. Take care and love yourself and the life you have. I foresee you doing great things!


You've lent me your ears... now borrow mine:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: