Business Lifestyle Design
Ultimate Time Transparency: An Experiment In Time Management
November 24, 2014
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I stumble out of bed to turn off the phone alarm. It reads 11:00 AM. Shitttttt!

Such has been the scene for about a month now. The times change (sometimes, I’m up at 9:30 or 10 AM…other times, not until noon), but the results are always the same. I wake up later than I want to, rush to begin work at home or to get out of my current Brooklyn apartment and head for the city so I can work there, skip working out, feel guilty all day long for not waking up early and starting my day with a “morning success ritual” (a mix of healthy eating, reading, some sort of journaling or goal-reviewing, exercise, and – for some – meditation and gratitude expression), lose my most productive hours of the day (I’m generally a morning person), need caffeine to get started, let my diet loosen, and stay up later than necessary to try and make up for a late start, which only makes it harder to wake up early the next morning.

What a mess.

You would think this wouldn’t be an issue, right? I mean, I’ve mentioned the importance of starting each day on the right foot in many of my articles (like this one, that one, #3 of this post, #1 of another post…I could go on), and I feel incredible on days when I’m up early, work out, and begin working by 8 AM while others are just beginning their days. You would think it would be easy to hold myself accountable. However, it has not been.

Here’s where things change.

Recently I attended the latest Thiel Foundation Summit, co-hosted by Tony Hsieh and the Downtown Project. After the conference, one of the Thiel Foundation Summit community members posted a link to Tony Hsieh’s pubic Email/Meeting/To Do List and Log, and immediately debate and fascination within our community ensued. Here was a near-billionaire (or billionaire…not sure) sharing his personal schedule consisting of little sleep, lots of email, marathon training, head-dizzying travel plans, and never-ending obligations. While some folks in the group certainly questioned his designed lifestyle, freedom, and ability to do things like have fun, build personal relationships and/or a family, no one could deny his work ethic, and everyone shared the same intrigue about this CEO’s eye-opening transparency.

Why did Tony do this, and what if we did the same?

Turns out, Tony explained his reasoning for sharing his schedule (TL;DR – To save time by sharing priorities and asking others to adjust requests of his time accordingly). Makes sense. And as far as what would happen if we replicated his practice?

Last week, myself and about 25-30 people from the Thiel Foundation and 2 Billion Under 20 communities decided we would make this week an experiment in time management. All of us would share our schedules publicly, cheer each other on, and see what happens.

WII-FM? (“What’s in it for me?”…or…everyone’s favorite radio station)

I’m using this week of ultimate time transparency as a way to re-instill positive time management and health habits, finally implement productivity hacks I’ve known about for a long time but haven’t utilized, and crowdsource ideas and strategies for managing my time even better in the future. By being held accountable in sharing my schedule, I suddenly feel obligated to wake up early, not check email or Facebook hundreds of times each day (imagine how much typing I’d have to do in my public Evernote log if I actually wrote down all the times I checked email and Facebook as I did last week and all weeks prior…We’d all go crazy!!!), and better utilize my days in order to take small, hourly steps towards accomplishing goals I’ve set out to achieve in this world.

Today is Day One of this group time management experiment, and this morning I successfully woke up at 5:30 AM, ate a healthy breakfast, read a few pages of The Elegant Universe, a challenging psychics book that certainly warmed my brain up to the day [here’s an extra life hack…order that book and try reading it in bed at night when you’re attempting to go to sleep early. If you are not ready for it, that thing will give you a headache quickly and make you fall asleep faster than the speed of light (and bonus points to those who get my cheesy joke)], worked out, began restructuring my major goals, and am now working on the most important things for the day.

This is certainly better than the scene I described earlier.

Who knows how the next few days will go. I’m determined to stay true to myself and be honest in my logging, and hopefully the extra accountability of having the public view my wake-up times, prioritization, and overall habits will make me accomplish my goals more quickly. The good news is that similar accountability measures helped me lose 30 pounds earlier this year in a Gap Year Experiment health-related “experiment”, so I’m optimistic I’ll get similar results from myself and accompanying “test subjects” in this week’s experiment.

How can you help, and how can I help you?

Here’s my public Evernote log again where I will be sharing my daily meetings, to do’s, actions, and commentary during this week’s experiment.

If you have any time management hacks I need to be aware of, or want to call me out on something that you see, send me a note! If you want an example of how to structure your days during a gap year, for better productivity, or simply because you’ve been asking to see how I spend my days, take a look at my logs and implement some of the strategies I’m using, activities I’m undertaking, and time breakdowns for your own benefit. If you want to get on my calendar so I can help you in some way or so we can collaborate on something, send me a note and share why it needs to be a priority this week and/or what you need the most help with, and we will find a way to help out and/or speak about ways to help one another. If you’re bored, just keep hitting “refresh” and watch my life unfold on your computer screen.

…Actually, don’t do that last one. That’s just creepy.

Anyways, we are all undergoing this time management experiment to figure out ways for all of us to become more productive with our time, hack our lives to match our goals and desires, and simply be more awesome. I certainly can’t wait to hear from all of you and get your suggestions, and ultimately share with you the top time management tools, tips, and tricks we find out from a week of experimentation and ultimate time transparency!


About author

Jared Kleinert

Chief Test Subject at The Gap Year Experiment

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