This is an update and re-write of an old article I wrote back on the PUA forums many years ago. It will help you find the time to schedule all of those first meets, first dates, second dates, and so on, while managing the other areas of your life.
As a time management consultant, over the last 10+ years I have been able to run multiple, successful, Alpha 2.0 businesses, spend time with my kids, travel the world, work diligently on my Mission, and maintain a roster of multiple women in my sex life… all at the same time.
Time management is a life essential skill. Without time management skills, the only thing you can hope to accomplish in your life is one of two possibilities:
1. Be decently good in one area and have the rest of your life suck. This describes most men.
2. Be mediocre at lots of different things and be great at nothing. This describes most women and many younger men.
If you want to be good in multiple areas, you must learn and master time management.
In the book The Unchained Man, I lay out two detailed time management systems. Here, I’ll describe some time management basics you can use to apply to your dating life so that your woman life doesn’t suck time and energy away from your other important life areas (Mission, business, fitness, etc).
1. You must have a calendar that you actually refer to and update at least every one to three days. If you don’t have some kind of calendar system, you are hopeless. Get one and start using it, right now. I don’t care how you do it. I don’t care if it’s written in a day planner, or on your computer, or on your phone or whatever. Pick a system that seems compatible with your personally and start using it.
Some people have a calendar but never look at it. They whip it out, put down some appointments, and then don’t look at it for a week. Not gonna fly. If you’re busy like me, you’re probably referring to your calendar probably two or three times a day. If you’re not as busy, you can get away with referring to it once every three days. Longer than three days is not effective.
2. Decide what you are going to eliminate. One of the keys to personal effectiveness is to decide in advance what you are not going to do. What you are not going to be good at. What you are going to give up. This is tough but it must be done. You can’t do it all, and you can’t have it all. To be good at some exciting things, you must choose to eliminate other exciting things from your life. I know it sucks. Suck it up and do it.
To use myself as an example, I make a lot of money, I have a sex life that is, quite literally, equivalent to a male teenager’s wet dream, I’m very healthy, I travel the world, and I have a strong and positive family life. But I have virtually zero social life (outside of work and women). I also have virtually zero regular hobbies (outside of work and women). As I’ve talked about in my book and in other places, since I’m a Myers Briggs INTJ personality type, this setup is all perfectly fine with me, but you see my point. I don’t have it “all.” No one does, and to think otherwise is stupid and delusional.
If I actually tried to have it “all,” I guarantee that one of the following would be true:
1. I would make far less money than I currently make, and I would work longer hours.
2. I would be no where near as good at women and dating skills as I am now.
While trying to do “everything,” I would be mediocre at lots of things, instead of really good at two things (money and women) and pretty good at one thing (being a dad).
As I read posts on blogs and forums from many younger guys, I get the distinct feeling that they are following the path of being “mediocre at lots of things.” This is not, and can’t be, the path to mastery.
3. Decide upon your time categories. Once you’ve eliminated the cool stuff you aren’t going to focus on, you must categorize the ways in which you need to spend your time to reach your objectives in the areas you do want. I’ll give you my categories from my life, but yours are going to be different. As a matter of fact, I live a much fuller life than most men, so your categories will be much less numerous and complicated.
I spend my time in one of 14 ways (in no particular order):
- IW (improvement work, as I describe in The Unchained Man; and I actually have two types of IW; general IW and product development IW)
- Pink Firefly time (daily time I spend with her)
- Family time (sporadic time spent with my kids or parents)
- FB time (limited to mostly wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am sex)
- Client work (any work that is done directly for my consulting clients)
- Writing time (blog articles, books, newsletters, etc.)
- Financial management (bookkeeping, reviewing my budget and sales reports, managing my investments, etc.)
- E&C (responding to email and blog/forum comments)
- SW (standard work, any necessary work that doesn’t fall into the other categories)
- MW (monthly work, a checklist of about 13 items that need to get done every month)
- Non-work projects (projects that need to get done that have nothing to do with work, like setting up a vacation or organizing my garage)
- Relaxation / Recreation (I’m very careful not to do too much of this; I have big goals)
Those are all the areas, and the only areas, in which I should be spending my time. I know that if I’m spending time outside of any of these areas, I am wasting time. For example, notice “Watching TV” isn’t in there anywhere. I haven’t had a TV signal coming into my house for about 15 years. Why? Because watching TV takes time away from my objectives, so I don’t do it. (Today I have a TV signal in my house but it’s Pink Firefly’s; she pays for it; I don’t use it.)
That’s also why there are no categories like “working on the car” or “karate” or “going to concerts” or “hanging out with friends.” I would much rather work on my Mission or have sex than do any of these things. But that’s me.
Now again, you’re not me, so if you consider hanging out with friends very important to you, that’s fine. Then by all means, have a “Friends” category. This just means you must eliminate something else. See how these things all wrap together?
The advantage in having categories is twofold: A) It tells you where to spend your time, and B) it defines for you exactly what “wasting time” means to you. Both of these are valuable.
4. Schedule your key categories in your calendar at least once every three days or so, using the E3D system in my book. Also schedule any appointments in there. You don’t need to schedule every category, because some will happen automatically and/or via a habit.
Think before you schedule these things, because once you put it down, you are making an appointment with yourself, and you’re going to keep that appointment no matter what. Treat it as if it’s an appointment with your boss. (Because it is.) If you put down something you’re not sure you’re going to “make,” then put it down for a different time.
Be sure to leave gaps in your schedule. Don’t schedule your categories wall-to-wall from 6am to 11pm. You need gaps to deal with emergences, unexpected occurrences, things taking longer than you planned, and so on.
5. Schedule your dating. If you’re in dating mode right now, you’ll need a category called “women” or “dating” or “pick-up” or whatever you feel is most applicable. I have always said that any guy who wants to get good at online dating or daygame needs to schedule in those things at least three times per week. Put them in your schedule, and keep those appointments with yourself.
6. Follow your schedule. Make sure you refer to it often. Learn to make your schedule your master, not your whims or the whims of other people. This is one of the hardest habits to learn in life, but one of the most important. (And you’ll never be 100% perfect with it. That’s okay.)
7. What if “shit comes up?” It will. If what “comes up” is in one of your categories, that’s fine, take the time and address it, or whip out your schedule and schedule a time to deal with it later.
If things are coming up routinely that are outside of your categories, that means your life is out of control. You need to man-up, and get control back. Do whatever you need to do, but do not let things regularly “come up” that are not in your categories! Non-category items that “come up” are only acceptable if they happen infrequently (like a doctor’s appointment). If they’re happening all the damn time, you’ve got big life problems that you need to deal with.
8. Never waste time unless it’s pre-planned. Even the most disciplined, productive, successful people waste a little time now and then. It’s normal and human. But successful people waste time when they plan it in advance, on their terms.
I’ll use myself as an example again. For me, watching TV is a massive waste of time. It accomplishes nothing I want in life. So I don’t do it. But, I’m human, so I do allow myself to waste a little time now and then. There are times, when all my work is done, during one of my gaps in my schedule, I’ll hop on the internet and stream an episode of the old Dr. Who show from the 70s or 80s, or watch a quick scene or two from an Avengers movie. I’m wasting time, but I’m not wasting very much, and I’m doing so on my terms.
See how this is different then just coming home from work, plopping on the couch, and watching sitcom reruns or binge watching Walking Dead for four hours straight like most Americans do?
I’ve also talked about how sometimes I’ll play a video game, set a one-hour timer, play, save my game and stop playing when the timer goes off, then get back to work. Again, I’m not letting my time-wasting or recreational time suck blood from my goals, Mission, and long-term happiness.
And before I see this in the comments, if your knee-jerk response to this is that you “could never do that,” that you somehow “must” play your stupid video game for more than an hour because you lack a basic, adult level of self-control, then have fun being mediocre for the rest of your fucking life. I’m glad I’m not you.
9. Say NO. Whenever anyone asks you to do something in your work, in your family life, in your personal life, and certainly in your woman life, say NO. Be an asshole and say no. Everyone is constantly trying to give you shit to do. But it’s not your shit, it’s their shit. You don’t need more shit. You have enough shit. People who say yes to everything never accomplish a damn thing in life. One of the biggest time management skills is the ability to learn to say no.
This applies double to the women in your relationship life. Women are constantly trying to betaize you and turn you into a pussy or a slave. Be a fucking man and say NO. Even if they get mad, say no. Even if they leave you (good!!!), say no.
10. Batch your tasks. All similar tasks should be done at the same time. This has direct application to dating.
When I’m in full dating mode (and it’s been a long time since this was the case; I don’t need to “date” very much anymore since I have such a nice, steady roster of women), I can easily be working on 15-20 or more women at a time. I have women I need to message, some I need to call, some I need to text, some I need to send Facebook messages to, and so on. So I will go into all of my dating sites, apps, and social media all at once, message all the women I need to message, then I’ll pick up my phone and send six texts right there to all the women I need to text, and so on.
I’m doing all of this during my scheduled “woman” time. I’m not doing this just because a woman has just texted or left a voicemail that says “OMG, call me right now!” NO. Sorry Darling, you’re waiting until I can batch you with other phone calls to other women.
That’s it! Don’t let an active dating life interfere with your other life areas, particularly your Mission!