I took a seminar in college on Sleep, Dreaming, and Consciousness. When the professor told people about his research they would often ask him to analyze their dreams. That wasn’t really what he did but he listened anyways. Then he told each of them the same thing: “That dream means you feel like you don’t have enough time.” Without exception they would enthusiastically agree. Like any good fortune teller he was describing the human condition to which we all relate.

We never have enough time. So we need to make the most of what we have.

Consider the next week of your life. How would you like to spend your time? Write down all the things you’d like to do and assign them rough percentages of how much of your time they should take. Account for your obligations first. With your remaining time try to give more weight to things that give you energy. Focus on tasks that play to your personal strengths.

Now audit where you have actually been spending your time without judgement. Resist the temptation to explain the difference between your ideal and actual allocation. I have been doing this exercise every few months for a decade. I haven’t once found that my actual allocation matches my target. So I make corrections to my schedule.

As a bonus changing your schedule will show your priorities to those around you. People pay attention to how you spend your time. Invest your time in the wrong things and it will compound as others do the same. Invest your time judiciously and you’ll get a tailwind instead.

I use this exact same technique when managing any portfolio of scarce resources. Local decision making creates entropy that needs to be periodically corrected. Is my team focused on the right things? Am I putting my capital where it is having the biggest impact? The solutions to all these questions is to visualize your goal and then audit your reality.