I Wasted My Time, You Shouldn’t.
Really, don’t waste it.
I have been managing my time seriously since my senior year at college. It was one of my best decisions in life.
For the most part of my teenager years, I let life events set my agenda. As if I were floating in the middle of the storm, I was taken by waves to places I didn't wish to go. If I was lucky, I liked the place, but seriously, 90% of those places were simply a waste of time. I had little-to-no control over my own life.
Keeping my grades up and studying to get into a good college were already hard enough. I also needed to spend time hanging out with my friends and family. I needed to practice my guitar and have a social life.
All of those years I was just “reacting” to things coming into my life. I didn’t have spare time to spend with myself and I finished only a few books during my entire high school years. The only real achievement I got was getting into a good college and that was it.
I wasted a lot of time on things that I don’t want to do. That is one of the main reasons I have accomplished so little.
After a lot of trial and error and reading lots of productivity books, I have summarized and adapted them into my own set of advice that I think is pretty helpful.
You've got the right to say “No”
It’s not that people will hate you.
It is really hard for me to say no to someone asking for help. I used to accept every request from friends, whether it was helping with their studying, projects, or just things they said they needed my help with. Spending all of my effort and time for other people is not a bad thing, right?
Wrong, it is a bad thing to say yes to everything coming your way. Like it or not, you will waste your time on other people's tasks. You will have to use the time you were going to spend on yourself on others, which is not good in the long run.
You have all the right to say no if you’re not comfortable with their request. Being kind is great, the world needs more kindness, but if it starts to become your burden, just stop taking responsibility for other people and leave some room for yourself. You will have a lot more time, trust me.
But carefully think of every step along the way.
Do not be afraid of setting big goals. One of the reasons why people achieve so little is that they set a safe, small, easy goal. What will you get from those kind of goals?
My reason for setting huge goals is that even if you fail, you still get significant results out of your progress. You put more effort into it because you know it is big. You have more chances to achieve results.
Aim for the sky because if you miss, you will still be among the stars.
I have been learning the Ruby on Rails framework for almost half a year by setting high goals. I had zero knowledge and now I’m a Rails developer for a great software company.
Instead of just setting my goal to learn Rails, I set my goal as getting a highly-paid job as a Rails developer. I thought I would learn Rails much faster, more efficiently, and also get paid while doing it.
Because of that mindset, I was not only able to learn the framework, I also got myself my current job. I didn’t just try to learn Rails. Instead, I tried to be a developer. What a developer does is create a product for his customer, so I started by finding a chance to build an actual product.
Luckily, the startup company I applied for asked me to build a web application with Rails. I used my prior experience with other frameworks to literally hack my way through my first Rails app.
I did everything I could: copying other people’s code, finding a specific tutorial for some of the functionalities — I even used logic from other languages that Ruby had better solutions for. It was crappy but it worked. I’ve built my first product.
Because of that first product I built, I got to work part-time with my senior who is working on a Rails project for the government sector at his company. It was a pretty big project from which I actually learned the best practices of how to create a “good” Rails app. After this project, I applied to one of the coolest tech companies in town and they hired me.
If my goal had been to just learn Rails, I would still be reading some tutorial off the internet and I would be nowhere near where I am today. It would have taken a lot more time and I could have missed my chance of applying at my desired company.
Don’t plan too much
You’ll just end up doing nothing
Planning is an essential part in making a great decision and achieving more results in less time. In college, I worked with different kinds of people. People from engineering school tend to plan for everything and I really mean every freaking thing possible. They won’t let even the smallest detail slip and might even spend a couple of hours on finding a fix for that small issue.
I love working meticulously. However, sometimes you just need to go with what you’ve got and hope for the best. You can’t just plan for every scenario. My current mindset on planning is not to go into much detail.
I just set my goal, break it down, and set which step I have to take. Plan for the worst and just go with it. I don’t waste my time thinking of how many ways my plan could fail.
Sometimes you just need to go for it. No one will wait for you to finish your plan. Time wasted in planning could make you miss your opportunity or your plan might become obsolete because you’re taking too long.
It’s better to take the opportunity in front of you rather than come up with a plan on what you’re going to do with it, only to find out that you just let it slip by.
“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” ― Allen Saunders
Thank you for reading
My name is Tino Thamjarat. I'm a Technical Lead at BASE and Software Engineer at Oozou. I love discussing everything: business ideas, philosophy, physics, religion, tech, gaming, you name it. I also play League of Legends and a little bit of music once in a while. If you need a website, want to give some advice/comments, or just need some guy to talk to, feel free to contact me on my Twitter
Content from my original blog on Medium