How to live on 24 hours a day

The last few months have been very challenging ones for me, as I’ve been experimenting with new goals and daily habits, attempting to make the most of the time that I’ve been given. I’ve made some progress, and I’ve also managed to avoid burnout, which is an ever-present danger when attempting large changes in relatively short periods of time. Despite my progress in overall efficiency of my time, I’m always looking for new ways to improve, particularly in the area of effectiveness. The difference between efficiency and effectiveness is the difference between working harder and working smarter (not that we have to choose between one or the other, mind you. The most accomplished and formidable people I know work both harder and smarter).

As part of this quest for greater effectiveness in time management, someone recommended a little booklet to me called How to Live on 24 Hours a Day, by Arnold Bennett. Bennett was an English novelist, and this little booklet was written about 100 years ago. The title would have you believe it’s about time management, and it is, partly. But it’s also about living deliberately, and about why you should manage your time in the first place. It’s a very quick read, no more than an hour or so, but the principles in the book are incredibly valuable. Even though it was written more than a century ago, the questions and issues he tackles are timeless. Other than a few places where the wording feels old-fashioned, I don’t think most people could even tell that it’s that old.

After reading the book, I have a few new tools in my arsenal of time management, but more importantly, I have a new perspective on why it’s important, and some of the common pitfalls to watch out for when trying to live deliberately. The last few pages of the book were particularly helpful to me, because he discusses several warning signs for taking on too many things, or becoming more focused on rushing through things than the things themselves.

If you feel frustrated with the passing time in your life and that you can’t seem to get enough done in the time you have, I highly recommend this little book.