Some people want to “live life to the fullest” and few of those seek information about the best way of doing it. For those people there are tons of articles, blogs, websites and books about this topic. It is very easy to get lost in the sea of information and even single articles can be daunting with long lists of tips and tricks. But what is the #1 thing that we should do to really live life to the fullest?

In order to solve a problem the first thing to do is to define the problem… as simple as that. So why people are not living life to the fullest? This is the first question, the starting point and the #1 secret!

Most of the time, people don’t live life to the fullest because they are not investing their time in the most important things first! and the “first” is actually a key word. Many of us heard the story of the big rocks from Stephen Covey (First Thing First – worth reading!) or similar versions from other people. If this is new to you then worth reading the following paragraph:

[The lecturer said, "Okay, it's time for a quiz." Reaching under the table, he pulled out a wide mouthed gallon jar and set it on the table next to a platter covered with fist sized rocks. "How many of these rocks do you think we can get in the jar?" he asked the audience.

After the students made their guesses, the seminar leader said, "Okay, let's find out." He put one rock in the jar, then another, then another-until no more rocks would fit. Then he asked, "Is the jar full?"

Everybody could see that not one more of the rocks would fit, so they said, "Yes."

"Not so fast," he cautioned. From under the table he lifted out a bucket of gravel, dumped it in the jar, and shook it. The gravel slid into all the little spaces left by the big rocks. Grinning, the seminar leader asked once more, "Is the jar full?"

A little wiser by now, the students responded, "Probably not."

"Good," the teacher said. Then he reached under the table to bring up a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in the jar. While the students watched, the sand filled in the little spaces left by the rocks and gravel. Once more he looked at the class and said, "Now, is the jar full?"

"No," everyone shouted back.

"Good!" said the seminar leader, who then grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it into the jar. He got something like a quart of water into that jar before he said, "Ladies and gentlemen, the jar is now full. Can anybody tell me the lesson you can learn from this? What's my point?"

An eager participant spoke up: "Well, there are gaps in your schedule. And if you really work at it, you can always fit more into your life."

"No," the leader said. "That's not the point. The point is this: if I hadn't put those big rocks in first, I would never have gotten them in."]

 

In other words, our time is limited and if we don’t invest on the most important things first then we would not be able to live life to the fullest. Assuming you already know what are the “big” things for you in that moment, then the question become - how do we ensure we invest on the most important things first?

Simple - assess your day! Have you ever tried to plot your typical day on a 24 hour dial? Depending on your job (or whether you work or not) the typical day might look differently … and doing this exercise will be mind opening!

Every person live life his own way and he/she uses the daily 24 hours in the best way he/she can considering all the different constraints. There is not a stereotype and even the same person might use the day differently depending on the period, life stage and even day of the week. However, one could assume that most of the people would fall under one of the following 6 types during a “normal” working day: 9 to 5 day, workaholic, entrepreneur, unemployed, night job or 2 jobs.

 

In fact, the way people spend the 24 hours mostly depends on the kind of job they have (or not have) and the amount of hours they sleep. Those two occupations generally represent about 2/3 of a day if not more. The remaining 1/3 of the day is spent on commuting, eating, preparing and sometimes spare time to dedicate to hobbies, passions and interests. A clear exception is the day of entrepreneurs – for them, most of the time, there is not a clear cut difference between the many activities and everything is mixed up.

Did you pay attention to your 24 hours day? Try to plot it on a 24 hours dial and see how it looks like. Ask yourself: is this how you want to do for the rest of your life? If not, and you realize you are not giving priority to the big rocks then what can you do to change? Conversely, how do you make sure you keep your current balance?

In order to help you making this assessment we created a simple tool for you to use (we call it “yourtime analyzer”):

1)     fill the #hours and/or #minute you spend in each item or leave black if not applicable (currently filled with example data).

2)     customize (i.e. change text) the "other1", "other 2" and "other 3" items with your specific tasks if you wish.

3)     check the last line (red text) to see whether you are missing or exceeding the 24 hr with your estimate and adjust if needed.

 

 

There is no right or wrong answer … but is this the result you were expecting? If yes, then great keep it up and periodically reflect on how you're doing. Conversely, are you putting your big rocks first, or do gravel, sand and water dominate your life? If the big rocks aren't getting in, what will have to happen so that they do? It might be worth start developing a plan to improve and bring the balance back in your life.

As mentioned before every person has his/her own definition of “live life to the fullest” and his/her own definition of balanced life. The infographic by podio is an excellent example to show how differently some of the world’s most original artists, writers and musicians structured and fulfilled their day (24 hour infographic).

Again, this is about investing the bulk of your time on your biggest rock first!

 

In this context we find very useful watches with 24 hour dial. They are exactly like any common (12 hour) watch with the only difference that in this kind of watches there is one hand that completes a full rotation in 24 hours instead of 12 hours. Most of the 24 hour watches have two hands to indicate the hours: one is based on the standard 12 hours cycle while the second one completes the rotation in 24 hours. Some, instead, have only one hand to indicate the hours and this is the 24 hour hand.

The 24 hour watches are sometimes used to show two different time zones (e.g. GMT watches), to avoid confusion in the reading (e.g. military watches), to sync with a particular lifestyle or just to meet specific people preferences.

The hand that indicates the hours takes one entire day to complete a full cycle in the dial and depending on the brand people might find 2x12 hours or 1x24 hours indication marks. Also, some brands indicate midday at the top and midnight at the bottom while others show exactly the opposite. The first Todd & Marlon Collection (#YOURTIME) uses 2x12 hour marks with midday indicated at the top via an applied silver sun icon and midnight at the bottom as indicated by an applied moon silver icon. Hence, on the left hand side there are the morning hours (1-12) and on the right hand side the afternoon hours (1-12) - both clearly indicated by the main numbering system.

In the 24 hours watches the minute and seconds read in the same way as in the classical watches – though some 24 hour watches have no indication for minutes and seconds (e.g. slow-watches, Botta Design). In #YOURTIME watches both minutes and seconds are indicated with hands pointing to a secondary numbering system (red numbers). Interesting to note that the main numbering system which relates to the 24 hours can also be used to read minutes and seconds if one consider that each mark relates to 2.5 mins/secs.

 

We hope this and maybe a 24 hour dial watch can help you live life to the fullest!

 

BONUS Advice - If you are interested on our top 3 tips to save time and help living life to the fullest continue reading:

 

Do It Once

“One’s objective should be to get it right, get it quick, get it out, and get it over... your problem won’t improve with age.” – Warren Buffett

Whether related to business or personal life a good decision making process is instrumental to be more effective in time management. Good managers are the ones who can make decisions - limbo due to the lack of decision making generally means waste of time and resources in general. Good leaders are the ones who can make the right decision at the right time and stick to it – even the kind of decision taken can lead to waste of time and resources if that decision is not right or if it is not made at the right time and especially if the decision keeps changing. Obviously smart people can change mind but change generally comes with a new set of data or information, change in landscape/dynamic or because of any other kind of change in other related matters. Same is valid for one of the most time consuming tasks – e-mails – go through them only once: act, archive, delete… but do it only once. Rule #1 make the right decisions at the right time and stick to them (unless something is changing/new info are available).

 

Right Thing At Right Time

“I try to do the right thing at the right time. They may just be little things, but usually they make the difference between winning and losing.” – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

We tend to execute things as they come (First In First Out) or in function of priority/urgency matrix. We believe that certain tasks need to be accomplished during specific timeframes which depend also on the specific personality. It might take ages to someone writing a report after lunch if this is the busiest time of the day for meetings/requests – on the other hand that person could write it quickly early in the morning when no one is in the office. Or it might not be productive to seek for an approval by a person early in the morning when that person is not in the proper mindset at that time. Our day is divided into 6 parts (morning commute, early hours in the office - no one there! “official” working hours, evening commute, family time, night work) and we do accomplish specific and different tasks at each part of the day. Being able to have the entire day at a glance can dramatically help on this point – hence the reason why we love 24H watches. Rule #2 find your perfect task/timeframe match.

 

Be Disciplined

“Self-respect is the fruit of discipline; the sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself.” – Abraham Joshua Heschel

If you don’t discipline yourself then others will discipline you. There is always something to do and there is always someone asking you to do more… which is great. However, set your goal – define what you want to achieve during the day (and in your life!) and put clear start/stop in your agenda for each part of the day so to get the opportunity to achieve your goal. Make it loud and clear and stand for it. Learn how to say “NO”. Obviously there will be exceptional days and you need to be flexible but those should be the exception and not the rule. Rule #3 stand for #yourtime.

 

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