When it comes to time management, the top two activities that produced 80% of good results are:

  1. Keeping a work diary.
  2. Identify the top two activities that produce both the positive and negative outcomes.

For keeping a work diary, I prefer an inexpensive notebook that I always bring with me.

Every day, I log everything I’m doing, and if I can, I clock the time start, time end, or just an estimate of hours.

For time wasters, my iPhone tracks how much time I spend on different apps, which helps with tracking.

The diary helps you see how you spend your time and identify opportunities for improvement.

After one too two weeks of data, what to do with your life becomes extremely obvious.

Suppose, I discover that I spend two hours daily on social media and four hours daily on games, and I notice that I’m not collecting my twenty hours a week of client work.

In that case, I don’t need a mentor or YouTube influencer to tell me what to do.

I already know from my logs that the games Summoner’s War, Warcraft Rumble, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube cost me $320 a week or, based on today’s exchange rate, ₱18,144.

Common sense dictates that I need to tone down social media and games for the following weeks.

I then regularly review my work diary to identify the top two activities that produce positive and negative outcomes.

What are the top two things in my list of activities that give me the most positive results? I’d occasionally rephrase that to most profit, satisfaction, fun, etc.

What are the top two things in my list of activities that give me the most negative results? I’d occasionally rephrase that into frustration, wasted money, wasted time, resentment, etc.

For positive activities, the most common recurring items in my diary are:

  1. Writing in my diary.
  2. Getting more than eight hours of sleep.
  3. Take two servings of 5 grams of creatine and 200 miligrams of magnesium daily.
  4. Strength training.
  5. Jiujitsu training.
  6. Sending 100 proposals (if I need more money)
  7. Completing and documenting client work.
  8. Keeping my living, sleeping, and work areas clean.
  9. Connecting with my top 100 contacts.
  10. Spending money at a nice place to plan my life.

For negative activities, the most common are:

1. Games, social media, YouTube, and Netflix during work hours.

This is self-explanatory.

2. Level 3 or 4 participation or commitment to casual activities I do for fun. Let me explain. Activities have different levels of participation. For example:

  • Going to church is level 1.
  • Joining Bible study is level 2.
  • Volunteering or being active in community work is level 3 or higher.

This kind of scaling can be seen in other areas, too. I’ve seen this at the gym, martial arts, work-related seminars, personal development, business, and entrepreneurship communities, both online and offline, offer a hierarchy of activities that will get you to the “next level” of participation. Even your job or business has this element, too. Examples include events, seminars, volunteering, mentoring, inner circles, masterminds, and so on. There’s a white belt up to a black belt level of participation. There’s a newbie to mastery and different hierarchies in many skills. It’s like an infinite-play video game in real life. Now that I think about it, many martial arts consider black belt level as someone who understands the basics of the art and is actually a level one in a lifelong journey. It could take a decade or even twenty years or a lifetime to get you to the top, and the subliminal message and conversation enroll you to drop your other life commitments and give your life to the organization, skill, or pursuit. Getting too involved, beyond what you enjoy, benefit from, or can manage, can stress you out, eat up your schedule, and harm your mental well-being. Finding the right balance in how you spend your time is a constant conversation and argument with yourself. Anything above the minimum effective dose tends to take over your life.

3. Earning Beyond Your Target Income

Many of us believe that more income always equates to a better life. However, delving into income-generating activities beyond your TMI/TDI (target monthly/daily income) can sometimes backfire.

Imagine you’ve set your TMI at ₱76,000. This amount comfortably meets your financial goals, supports your family, allows indulgence in hobbies, and provides a good life. As success grows, it’s common to encounter a barrage of new opportunities. Suddenly, offers to vlog, consult, work overtime, start a side hustle, or expand your business might come flooding in.

These prospects can be alluring, but transitioning from ₱76,000 to a six-figure monthly income—a commonly desired benchmark—might not be as beneficial as it sounds. To break it down, ₱76,000 over 120 hours equates to ₱633 an hour. Many fresh opportunities might dangle the promise of higher overall earnings but might require more time, resulting in a reduced hourly rate. I’ve lived this reality:

  • My 200 YouTube videos bring in just ₱500 a month.
  • Despite dedicating 12-20 hours a week to my 80k follower TikTok page, I earn only ₱50.
  • And while offering services to friends and family seems attractive, the returns can be disappointing. A ₱5,000 an hour offer might sound lucrative, but it often involves hidden commitments, such as a full day’s work or traveling to another city.

Chasing the allure of a six-figure income might inflate the bank account, but at what cost to personal time and well-being? It’s a lesson I’ve learned the hard way: blindly chasing more can be a trap. My approach now involves being more selective, focusing on quality over quantity.

Once you hit your income target, it’s essential to reflect before diving into the next venture. Aim for a balance that’s both efficient and sustainable. Recognizing and respecting our own physical and mental boundaries is crucial. Following this can help you earn well and at the same time, enjoy the money that you earn.

4. Sleep Deprivation is a Goddamn Time Bomb. I genuinely wish I was exaggerating, but I’m not. I hate using adjectives and adverbs, but here’s the naked truth: 99.9999% of those colossal mess-ups, those decisions that fucked me in the ass, and those moments when I felt the world crashing around me, occurred on days I was robbed of proper sleep. It’s a formula for catastrophic disaster. Conversely, when I’m well-rested, everything seems to align just right. While preparing for a Jiujitsu competition, I walked into the gym with incomplete sleep, sparred with one of the guys who’s my same level, and lost a match. I came to the gym the following week completely rested and clocked in 11 hours the night before, I went through him like a hot knife through butter. I was fucking unstoppable. And going through my journal entries, the benefits of being well rested apply to both physical and mental challenges.

5. Skipping Strength Training Dulls Your Edge.

You might think it’s just about muscles and physical stamina, but hell no. Every time I’ve passed on a workout, it’s like my brain took a hit too. The sharpness, the creativity, the onslaught of good ideas – all that diminishes when I neglect my body.

6. A Cocktail of High-Carb, High-Sugar Meals, No Training, and Zero Sleep?

It’s the express lane to self-sabotage. When you fill your diet with high-carb, high-sugar extenders and low-protein, low-quality meat products, pair it with a sedentary lifestyle, and deprive yourself of sleep, you’re not just courting disaster — you’re straight-up inviting it into your home, asking it to put its dirty shoes up on your coffee table. It’s the ultimate “screw you” to your well-being. Don’t play with this trifecta of doom.

7. Spending too much time with toxic family and friends is a giant obstacle to getting things done.

I understand that cutting people off completely may not be an option for you or your situation. However, limiting meetups to 1, 2, or three hours and then leaving, citing some other commitment, has worked wonders. If you could afford to get your own place, do it sooner.

8. Trying to save money by making poor-quality tools work is an effective way to waste my life.

As shared in a past post, I stayed at ₱10-15k jobs for over a decade, so I often settled for the cheapest tools like Android phones or second-hand gadgets. The downside is many of these devices broke down at the worst possible moment. I’ve lost jobs over my laptop getting a virus or having hardware issues. I’ve also bought more phones and spent time at repair shops when I used Android phones or Windows computers.

9. New tools and shiny software are attractive, but simpler is always better.

Tools like Notion and other fancy to-do lists, though free, hurt your productivity more than using simple stuff like plain text editors. Learn to master simple tools like plain text editors, calendar apps, and Google Docs. A lot of these tools are old but still relevant. Think about it: older tools are still around because they work well. I noticed that the older a tool is, the more I could expect it to be useful longer. Another thing about new and trendy tools is that they’re trends. If you put all your data in a free web service, you don’t own the data. I was previously using an old diary/notes/calendar app from 2011 till 2016. I got busy and was unable to log in for a few months. When I logged in, the company was acquired by another. They changed business models, and all the data was deleted. All my notes and journal entries for five years disappeared. Since then, I have preferred keeping notes, photos, and important data on my hardware and server. I only use “trendy tools” if it’s for client work, and I consider the information disposable. If I use trendy tools, I keep screenshots as proof of work that I could later add to my portfolio or for future client discussions. Otherwise, I keep using simple tools.

10. Using the gaps in my schedule exclusively for survival and profit.

Over time, I realize that doing fun things like Jiujitsu, cycling, cooking, writing for fun, playing with my dogs, and leisure activities enable me to stay consistently productive. A full schedule of serious work and profit-generating activities is a sure way to burnout, depression, and eventually self-destructive thoughts. So, to maintain balance, I protect my training schedule with the same level of discipline I’d protect a client meeting.

Thank you for reading.

Got a question or want to share something? Email me.

Want updates? Join my mailing list. Let's connect.