What is Compound Time and Why Should You Try It?


For many of these types of posts, I would skim through the article, decide whether or not I thought it was beneficial to share, and then share it. However, after skimming through this one, I realized that I was already doing two and a half of the six hacks they recommended. With that knowledge, I wondered how my time spent was comparable to their other recommendations.

I sat down at my dining room table, cup of tea in hand, Kindle propped up, and read the article carefully, taking a few notes in order to be able to express what it was that I liked about the concept of compound time and why I thought it was worthwhile to share.

Beginning to read this article took minutes for me to convince myself that I wzsn’t wasting time and that it was important for my writing as well as my life. That’s the first conflict for most of us in reading an article like this. Take naps? Seriously? I already waste enough of my day staring into space. But what if that staring into space is something that jump starts a project? Or a thought that takes us to a new idea to work on?

We’re constantly being told that daily rituals are good for our creativity as well as getting us motivated to start our day. For the last couple of years, I’ve read what I call “daily books;” books that are meant to be read a page a day, whether they be devotionals and religious, prayerful or secular, they are something short to read to begin the day; to know that the day has begun, and we can go on.

Some of those past books have been:

Through the Years with Jimmy Carter: 366 Daily Meditations from the 39th President

Three Hundred Sixty-Five Happiness Boosters by MJ Ryan

Women of the Bible: A Year Long  Devotional Study by Ann Spangler and Jean E. Syswerda

365 Saints: Your Daily Guide to the Wisdom and Wonder of Their Lives by Woodeene Koenig-Bricker

Currently, I am reading G’Morning G’Night: Pep Talks for Me and You by Lin-Manuel Miranda, illustrated by Jonny Sun. Every morning, I read the G’morning passage, and then before bed, I read the corresponding G’night. There aren’t enough to get through the whole year, but the beauty of this book is that I can restart it. The messages are universal, positive, and uplifting.

What is compound time?

The author, Michael Simmons suggests that it is like compound interest – over time you gain its benefits, and he cites Ben Franklin, Thomas Edison, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, and others as its practitioners. They nap, they walk, they journal, they think.

In reading this article and one of the linked articles (about the 5 hour rule), I came across three basics: reading, reflection, and experimentation, and I was very surprised tol find that I do these three things constantly.

As a writer, words are my thing, and so I write everything down, whether it’s a shopping list, a to-do list, a list of names to use in a story or places, or just about anything, and what I’ve noticed is what Simmons states: writing it down makes it clearer. I can certainly attest to this. I have seen the worth of writing it down just in the last two years. That was when I began my tradition of using a day planner as my blog planner. Franklin Covey tells you that you should not have more than one calendar, and while I can have up to six between my phone, my kitchen, the school calendar, and my planner, I can definitely see the use of having it all in one spot. I use the monthly section for my personal appointments, birthdays, all the things you’d use a calendar for. Then I use the weekly section strictly for planning this website. Sometimes it’s a full-fledged idea, sometimes it’s a title, sometimes it’s a thought to be expanded, and it has honestly been the best thing I’ve done for my writing. It not only keeps me organized, it also lets me see where (and when) I’ve missed deadlines or procrastinated on certain ideas. It has been a win-win for me.

I also like vision boards and mind maps as a way of seeing what’s important at that moment. This is good for a yearly check or even quarterly. Pinterest is a great medium for creating a vision board. I also like the webbing that we use for creative writing.

I don’t have all the answers but this weekend I’m going to re-read over these hacks for compound time and see where I can improve what I’m already doing. I didn’t know what I was already doing had a name.

The best thing you can do, and what I plan to do is to focus on your strengths and passions, and then work the benefits of compound time into your daily life. We look at sitting and thinking as a waste or a detriment, but really, the reading, the focusing, the thinking, the day dreaming is all designed to move us forward, and forward is the only way to go to fulfill what intentions you have planned for 2019 and beyond.

It is well worth reading the original article. You will find it here: Why Successful People Spend 10 Hours Hours a Week on Compound Time by Michael Simmons in The Observer

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