The answer lies in Schopenhauer. Find a large piece of paper and divide it up according to your daily activities. You should end up with some very generic areas (“work”, “chores”, “learning Klingon”), as well as some other peculiarities more unique to your individual circumstance (“masticatory acts”, “world domination”, “studies”). In each section of your page, write down everything you need to do. An example from mine:
- create teleportation device
- gather army (+ unify ninja brethren?)
- improve writing skills and publish a book
- learn Klingon
and so on. As you complete each item, cross it off; as new items are born, add them to the page. This page is now your map, of time. Whenever you feel lost or overwhelmed, consult it and regain your bearing. There’s no compass-point, but you can only go in one direction.
Martyrdom is a short-term play. Some people love to moan about being overworked or under-resourced, and others immediately realise the source of the problem when they listen. Let the map direct your energies. Tell yourself you are wealthy in time, even though asset depreciation is inevitable. Stare down your complaints until they cease to burble and click their heels. Remind them that not everyone has the chance to write 3000-word essays, or have a job which pays them to work overtime. Consider yourself an entrepreneur: “How can I extract the most value from my limited resources?” Your smartphone won’t impart the secrets of enlightenment or scoring hot dates.
Make sacrifices. Those who ignore Maslow’s advice invariably get eaten by big green monsters, volcanoes, or the tax office. Exercise more, (social) network less. Discard your hobbies, or turn them into all-consuming passions exceeding even those of Klingon High Command. Keep an eye on your map and the expression you wake with every morning. Don’t waste time with excess baggage, including your own. Choose where you spend your time, if not with wisdom then at least in hope of more than same-day returns. The best investments grow in interest as their owners mature.