The Fallacy of Time Management

Sohail Virani2023-09-17

Discovering the balance between ambition and acceptance

Hello readers, Happy Sunday and welcome back to Vitality Digest. In today's installment, we delve into the significance of embracing our boundaries, recognizing the vital role of setting priorities, uncovering a minor adjustment that can significantly enhance both your sleep and your overall quality of life, drawing inspiration from someone who continually raises the standard for surpassing physical limitations and learning a strategy to eliminate that mounting debt.

Let’s get started!

The finitude of life

Image source - Tim Urban (Wait But Why)

This calendar up here represents your life in weeks (give or take). 4680 boxes - the average lifespan of a person, is all we have to make use of. Yet in the hustle of daily life, it's easy to fall into the illusion that time is boundless.

We often behave as if we possess an unlimited supply, postponing our dreams and ambitions indefinitely. This illusion can lead to a sense of complacency, as we defer our deepest desires with the unfounded belief that there will always be a tomorrow.

Adding to that, our society often encourages the creation of endless bucket/to-do lists filled with grand aspirations and lofty goals. While the act of setting goals is admirable, this practice can inadvertently backfire. That’s because to-do lists never end. There will always be another task lingering, ready to show up and disrupt your schedule. Sometimes these tasks go unchecked leaving us with feelings of inadequacy and stress. This can also block out the joy and fulfillment that can be found in simpler, more attainable pleasures.

Most if not all time-management techniques, even the ones discussed in our newsletter don’t seem to prepare us for an infinite to-do list, which is what we usually find in life. While these methods can help you find ways to get tasks done in a productive and efficient manner, the underlying rule is that our mortality limits us from what to actually put in those to-do lists. In other words, what are the things that actually matter and are worth accomplishing?

I recently read a book called 4000 Weeks by Oliver Burkeman that delves deep into this topic of accepting our morality and embracing our finitude.

And here’s a snippet from his book that proposes a solution to this problem.

Once you stop believing that it might somehow be possible to avoid hard choices about time, it gets easier to make better ones. You begin to grasp that when there’s too much to do, and there always will be, the only route to psychological freedom is to let go of the limit-denying fantasy of getting it all done and instead to focus on doing a few things that count.

To make the most of our finite time, we must carefully consider our goals. Setting realistic, meaningful goals aligned with our values and priorities allows us to channel our energy into pursuits that truly matter. It is in this balance between ambition and contentment that we can find a path to a truly fulfilling life.

Ultimately, Burkeman’s book invites us to celebrate life's journey rather than fixate on its destination. A life well-lived is a legacy in itself, and its grandeur shouldn’t be measured in the magnitude of achievements but in the depth of its moments and the authenticity of its experiences.

The rule of 3

Similar to the concept above, The rule of 3 is based on the idea that by limiting your daily to-do list to just three key tasks, you can reduce overwhelm, make better decisions, and increase your productivity.

Here's how it works:

  1. At the beginning of each day or the night before, you choose three tasks that are the most important for you to accomplish. These tasks should align with your goals, priorities, and deadlines.
  2. The Rule of 3 encourages you to concentrate your efforts on these three tasks, giving them your full attention. By limiting your focus, you're more likely to complete these tasks efficiently and effectively.
  3. Unlike long, daunting to-do lists, the Rule of 3 keeps your daily agenda manageable. It reduces cognitive overload, making it easier for you to stay on track and make progress.

The Rule is not only about short-term productivity but can also be applied to long-term goals and projects. By breaking down larger objectives into smaller, manageable tasks, you can make steady progress toward your aspirations.

In essence, it is a minimalist approach to productivity that encourages you to focus on quality over quantity, helping you make the most of your time and energy each day.

Screen-free bedtime

Quality sleep is the cornerstone of physical and mental well-being. It's during those restful hours that our bodies heal and our minds rejuvenate. However, screens, with their blue light emissions, can sabotage our sleep quality.

The science is clear: screens, particularly in the evening, can disrupt our natural sleep-wake cycle. The blue light emitted by screens interferes with melatonin production, the hormone that regulates sleep. So, staring at that smartphone or binge-watching your favourite series before bed might not be as harmless as it seems.

Here’s what we can do about it.

Setting a Digital Curfew: Choose a specific time each night to power down screens. It's like giving your brain a signal that it's time to wind down.

Engaging in Relaxing Activities: Swap screen time for calming activities like reading a book, journaling, or practicing relaxation techniques.

Creating a Comfortable Sleep Environment: Optimize the bedroom for sleep by ensuring it's dark, cool, and inviting.

If cravings for screens persist, consider introducing pre-sleep rituals that you genuinely enjoy to replace screen time.

By disconnecting from screens before sleep, we can take a proactive step toward better sleep quality, reduced stress, and overall improved well-being.

Nick Vujicic

Nick James Vujicic was born with Tetra-amelia syndrome, a recessive disorder that causes the absence of all four limbs.

In Vujicic's autobiography (Life without Limits), he recounted how, following his birth, his mother chose not to visit him or hold him right away. Instead, both his parents left the hospital. His school years were marred by bullying due to his medical condition, and at a certain point, Vujicic made an unsuccessful suicide attempt by trying to drown himself but was ultimately rescued.

Nick Vujicic's story is one that defies expectations and challenges the very definition of what it means to be creative. Despite facing seemingly insurmountable odds, Nick's resilience shone through.

Today, Nick is a globally renowned motivational speaker, captivating audiences with his powerful words and indomitable presence. His ability to connect with people on a profound level is a testament to his creative communication skills.

In addition, Vujicic's refusal to let his disability define his life has enabled him to acquire various skills, such as driving, playing the drums, writing, authoring an autobiography, operating a computer, engaging in tennis, and even surfing.

Nick Vujicic's canvas is not confined by the absence of limbs but expanded by the limitless power of the human heart and mind.

Check out his amazing TED talk below.

Debt Snowball

In a world where debt can often feel like a relentless avalanche, the Snowball Technique is a refreshing beacon of hope.

This technique, made famous by financial expert Dave Ramsey is about paying off your debts in a specific order. It flips conventional wisdom on its head, by focusing on behavioural psychology rather than mathematical logic.

The idea is that by paying off the first small debt, you give yourself a dopamine hit that fuels your determination to keep going and pretty soon eliminate all your debt.

Ready to make your first Snowball?

First, start off by listing your debts from the smallest balance to the largest. This list will be your roadmap.

Next, Continue making minimum payments on all debts while focusing on the smallest one. This ensures you don't fall behind on any obligations.

Identify any extra funds in your budget to put toward the smallest debt. This could be money from side hustles, windfalls, or budget adjustments. As you pay off each debt, apply its entire payment to the next one in line. This creates a snowball effect, where your debt repayment accelerates over time.

That's it for issue #9. If you liked what you read, it would mean the world to me if you shared it with your friends and family.

Stay vital and have a great week.

Yours truly,


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