How to prioritize your time for lifelong happiness and immediate success?

The time prioritization system I am about to share with you could seriously change your life.

When you are done reading, the only thing you will regret is that you did not know about this system earlier.

So, before we start, let me ask you a simple question:

How often do you end up procrastinating instead of doing whatever you planned to do?

  • Instagram instead of finalizing the report due tomorrow?
  • Netflix instead of preparing for a presentation?
  • Porn instead of sex?
  • I think we both know your answers, and they speak for themselves to why you need this system.

    Time value of money applied to the value of your life

    Have you ever heard the phrase”time value of money” before? Time value of money is the concept that money available today is worth more than an identical sum in the future due to its ability to earn interest. The sooner you have cash available, the better, since you will be able to start earning interest.

    The way I think about time value of money applied on the value of your life instead of money is something I call the “time value of your life“. You cannot put your time in the bank and earn interest on it. Time has to be utilized straight away. It just cannot be banked, stored or recovered. In this context, the time value of your life means that doing something to achieve happiness and success right now is more worth than postponing it to later.

    How many times have you not heard people say: “I will do it later, when I have more time…”?

    I will let you in on a little secret. There ain’t no “more time” later. You will never have as much time as you have right here, right now. Later you will be older and have less time. You might even be dead. Really. I hate to break it to you, but that happens sometimes. So, the lesson is this: 1) Wasting time is the worst thing you can do and 2) no moment is ever going to be as valuable as right now. And now. And now. And now. Get it?

    While most (stupid) people let their time pass by unnoticed, unwittingly consuming the scarcest and most valuable resource they have, some smart people try to manage time because they know unless it is managed, nothing else can be managed either.

    Time is the scarcest resource and unless it is managed nothing else can be managed.

    Peter Drucker

    Only, the problem is: A lot of time management efforts fail within the first weeks or even days of implementation.

    The Maslow’s Pythagorean Time Management (MPTM) tool will lower your risk of failure and it can help you become more happy and successful than you ever imagined.

    Sound fair enough?

    Maslow’s Pythagorean Time Management (MPTM)

    Photo by Dmitri Popov

    Yes, you are right – the system is inspired by combining Maslow’s pyramid of needs (which is a triangle of sorts) with that Pythagoras stuff on calculating the hypotenuse of right triangles from math class. The system focuses on how you should prioritize your personal time and it should act as a foundation for your future self-development and time management efforts.

    Let’s cut to the chase:

    I strongly believe that in addition to sleep (6 hours) and a daily income generating activities such as work (8 hours), you should only include 3 other core time slots in your life, totaling to 10 hours per day (24 hours per day minus 6 hours of sleep and 8 hours of work).

    I call these three slots: “life-blocks”. The three life-blocks represent the core of your existence and should be split into (feel free to alter the life-blocks at your own risk):

    a) Self-realization (e.g. career, start-up, money, politics, hobby, etc.)
    b) Love and belonging (e.g. family, friends, lover, community, etc.)
    c) Health (e.g. food, water, warmth, rest, safety, security, etc.)

    Other time management systems would ask you to prioritize the your available hours (typically 24) and subjectively assigning them across a schedule. Most people would rank a) high, b) medium and c) low. However, a sustainable system should be the complete opposite.

    Going back to the Maslow’s pyramid of needs, c) Health is expressing the basic physiological and safety needs at the bottom of Maslow’s pyramid. Therefore, c) as a life-block should be dedicated a larger amount of time than a) self-realization representing self-actualization and esteem at the very top of the pyramid, and b) love and belonging in the middle. You have to prioritize c) to make things sustainable. Note that the 6 hours dedicated to sleep and 8 hours to income generating activities are basic needs which also fall within the basic physiological and safety needs in Maslow’s pyramid, making up a solid foundation on which the three life-blocks are built.

    The MPTM model:

    The Pythagoras theorem states that the square of the hypotenuse c) (the side opposite the right angle) is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides. Simply said, c) will be longer than both a) and b) individually:

    a2 + b2 = c2, and to calculate the hypthenuse: c = √ a2+ b2 

    This is relevant because the time allocated to c) Health in the MPTM model represent the Hypothenuse and is derived as a factor of how much you value a) Self-realization and b) Love and belonging.

    By ranking a) and b) on a scale from 1-10, the MPTM matrix below use the Pythagoras theorem to estimate how you should allocate your 10 available hours to each life-block on a normal week-day:

    a) Self-realization score
    (1-10)
    12345678910
    b) Love/belonging
    score (1-10)
    Number of hours you should set aside for each block every day:
    a) Self-realization / b) Love and belonging / c) Health
    13 / 3 / 44 / 2 / 44 / 1 / 44 / 1 / 55 / 1 / 55 / 1 / 55 / 1 / 55 / 1 / 55 / 1 / 55 / 0 / 5
    22 / 4 / 43 / 3 / 43 / 2 / 44 / 2 / 44 / 2 / 44 / 2 / 44 / 2 / 44 / 1 / 54 / 1 / 55 / 1 / 5
    31 / 4 / 42 / 3 / 43 / 3 / 43 / 3 / 44 / 2 / 44 / 2 / 44 / 2 / 44 / 2 / 44 / 1 / 44 / 1 / 4
    41 / 4 / 52 / 4 / 43 / 3 / 43 / 3 / 43 / 3 / 43 / 2 / 44 / 2 / 44 / 2 / 44 / 2 / 44 / 2 / 4
    51 / 5 / 52 / 4 / 42 / 4 / 43 / 3 / 43 / 4 / 43 / 3 / 43 / 2 / 44 / 2 / 44 / 2 / 44 / 2 / 4
    61 / 5 / 51 / 4 / 42 / 4 / 42 / 3 / 43 / 3 / 43 / 3 / 43 / 3 / 43 / 3 / 43 / 2 / 44 / 2 / 4
    71 / 5 / 51 / 4 / 42 / 4 / 42 / 4 / 42 / 3 / 43 / 3 / 43 / 3 / 43 / 3 / 43 / 3 / 43 / 2 / 4
    81 / 5 / 51 / 4 / 52 / 4 / 42 / 4 / 42 / 4 / 43 / 3 / 43 / 3 / 43 / 3 / 43 / 3 / 43 / 3 / 4
    91 / 5 / 51 / 4 / 51 / 4 / 42 / 4 / 42 / 4 / 42 / 3 / 43 / 3 / 43 / 3 / 43 / 3 / 43 / 3 / 4
    100 / 5 / 51 / 5 / 51 / 4 / 42 / 4 / 42 / 4 / 42 / 4 / 42 / 3 / 43 / 3 / 43 / 3 / 43 / 3 / 4

    I have personally ranked a) at 7 and b) at 10. Consequently the MPTM model indicate that I should use 2 hours on Self-realization, 3 hours on Love/belonging and 4 hours on Health every day. This is in addition to a minimum of 6 hours sleep and 8 hours of work. My life-blocks then would look something like this:

    a) Self-realization2 hours
    b) Love and belonging3 hours
    c) Health4 hours
    Sleep6 hours
    Income generation8 hours
    Total23-24 hours

    If you start out by dedicating your personal 10 hours a day according to the MPTM model, you will control your own time and limit procrastination. All you have to worry about is that the activities you are doing every day fall within each of the three life-blocks and try to allocate time according to your MPTM result. I promise, by limiting the micro management of time, you will get more done and feel more relaxed.

    Below I have started a non-exhaustive list of activities that fall within each of the life-blocks. Doing any of these activities for the duration of your MPTM life-block allocation should feel like a win:

    a) Self-realizationb) Love and belongingc) Health
    Read a self-development bookSpend time with your familyGet additional sleep
    (2 additional hours is recommended)
    Work over-timeParty with your colleaguesLift weights
    (as little as 20min per day can yield a bunch of health-related benefits)
    Commute to and
    from work
    Play with your kidsGo for a hike in nature
    (being in nature improve both health and happiness)
    Write a blog postBinge watch of Game of Thrones with a friendCook a healthy dinner
    (good for weight loss, and help lower the risk for lifestyle-related diseases)
    Learn a new skillHave sexMeditate
    (can boost productivity, self-control, and happiness)
    Take on a special project at workHelp someone more unfortunate than yourselfGardening
    (has been proved to bring health benefits)
    Start a businessVisit the extended familyGo for a sauna
    (can ease your pain, reduce stress, improve cardiovascular health and skin problems)
    Etc.Etc.Etc.

    When I implemented the MPTM model as an integral part of my daily life, time started moving slower. Now, it is like my time has been captured in an uniquely designed hourglass rather than pouring across the sands of time to be lost forever.

    References and resources:

    Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs by Saul McLeod

    Pythagorean theorem by Wikipedia

    Why lack of sleep is bad for your health by NHS

    The Top 10 Benefits of Regular Exercise by Arlene Semeco, MS, RD

    What are the benefits of eating healthy? by Cathleen Crichton-Stuart

    20 Scientific Reasons to Start Meditating Today by Emma M. Seppälä Ph.D.

    Gardening is beneficial for health: A meta-analysis by Soga et. al.

    Sauna: Health benefits, risks, and precautions by MaryAnn de Pietro

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