Warren Buffett is an investor. He is also worth over $70 billion and is the second richest man in the world. In regards to convincing you that he is worth learning from, I don’t surmise I need any more evidence than this (if I do, you better be the richest man in the world. And we both know you’re not).
What’s his time management secret?
Okay, he is successful. Cool.
We emulate. And to emulate, we must first understand. So, pay attention.
The Fundamentals of Time Management
If we melt success down to its most basic elements, what do we have?
2. How X person spends that time
Well, we could count the number of years Warren Buffett has been alive and dissect that – eighty-six – but that wouldn’t be very efficient. Interesting, maybe, but not efficient.
Instead, let’s break it down to the most applicable, practical, and day-today level: how does he spend each day?
Titan Time Management
It depends. Somedays, the only thing on his calendar is a haircut; other days he is meeting with his board at Berkshire Hathaway; and other days he might be reading. But one constant throughout his schedule, according to his partner, Charlie Munger (a billionaire in his own right), is that he has a lot of free time.
“There’re two things that Warren and I have done and Rick Guerin has done, too, to a considerable extent. One is that we spend a lot of time thinking. Our schedules are not that crowded. We look like academics more than we look like businessmen.
Our system has been to sift life for a few opportunities and seize a few of them. We don’t mind long periods in which nothing happens. Warren is exactly the same way. Warren’s sitting on top of an empire now. You look at his schedule sometime and there’s a haircut.
Tuesday, haircut day.
That’s what created [one of the] world’s most successful business records in history. He has a lot of time to think.”
These two titans both seem to subscribe to the idea that hustling, in the sense of motivational videos and Instagram posts, is not necessarily effective. Do you need to work hard? Yes. Do you need to scrap everything but your dream to truly achieve it? Probably.
Bosses Aren’t Always Busy
But do you need to be “busy” for every hour of the day? Do you need to wake up at 4 a.m. to go “grind” at the gym, then eat a quick meal at 5 a.m. before you go do a bunch of cold calls and sit through some business meetings, and fill up every moment of your time?
Maybe you do. Sometimes you probably have to. There’s only 24 hours in a day, right?
But is that time being used to its maximum efficiency? Does maximum efficiency always mean you have to do be doing something? This workhorse mentality might look good on Instagram, and it does work (Gary Vaynerchuck is a fantastic example), but let’s counter with another strategy that Buffett and Munger value.
The Efficiency of Doing Nothing
How could doing nothing be productive or effective in the long-term? Well, they’re billionaires. They probably know how to spend their time wisely.
But let’s evade the appeal to authority for a moment and think for ourselves.
When you sit in silence, you problem solve. You have no distractions. It’s you and your thoughts.
This is quite literally what meditation (i.e., the original yoga) is. According to the 6th century B.C. Sanskrit grammarian, Pāṇini, yoga derives from either of two verbs: to concentrate or to yoke. Both apply here.
By freeing your mind of distraction, you can concentrate and yoke thoughts in your mind. Crack them open, toss them around, and see how they react under the heat of concentration.
Some of my best ideas have come from meditation, walking, or staring at the ceiling.
The second-best avenue is looking for new ideas in the art of others – reading books and watching movies and television. As a writer, these are very important avenues for me. Of course, those can easily turn into recreation time, rather than yoking-ideas-into-doper-ideas time, especially if you’re likely to binge watch an entire season in the name of “inspiration.”
The sound of silence
Silence, on the other hand, is always honest. We spend most of our lives running from it, filling the void with sounds, sights, and feelings, but it always there, ready to empty those deep thoughts you’ve been hiding from for very, very long. And the most fruitful, but also the scariest of these thoughts, is realizing that you are on the wrong path.
You can hustle and grind all you want, but when an honest moment of silence drops onto you the recognition that you do not love what you do anymore, or that it will not bring you where you ultimately want to be, you may be left an empty shell. Which is the greatest gift you can be given. Because now, you can search for the correct path. The one that will bring you to the profession, business, relationship, or lifestyle that you genuinely desire. And it was the silence that gave it to you.
This silence might also grant you many other insights. A new idea for your book; a simple way to cut costs in your business; the realisation that you need to spend more time with friends and family. The possibilities are innumerable. But to do that, you need to unburden yourself of distractions. And sometimes, that’s hard. We are addicted to being busy, to filling ourselves with information, even if it is useless.
FocusMe Is Your Titan Time Manager
That’s why there are products like FocusMe. Someone else’s business ingenuity and business acumen recognized that there is a serious need for a tool that will help people discipline themselves. Help force themselves to break their addiction to Facebook, to aimlessly surfing the web, or playing video games. Whatever website or application you find yourself incessantly drawn back to, FocusMe helps you stay away to better spend your time. Get started now!
And time you cannot buy. You can only spend it.
Perhaps spend it on some silence.
We mold clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside
that makes the vessel useful.
Tao Te Ching, 11.