Guest post by Samer.

I was talking with my roommate the other night as I cooked dinner in our cramped apartment, reflecting over the memories and lessons that 2011 conferred upon us. We will soon be parting ways – I to the bachelor’s haven of Uptown Dallas and he to the settled life of marriage – but he had a front row seat to the dizzying experiences of my life the past 12 months, an era known to me as ‘Year of the Woman.’ It’s a fitting name to the period’s focal point, and what a journey it was.

Two years ago, I’d never been on a date nor had my first kiss. Six months passed before I took a girl out for dinner and drinks at the ripe age of 24. A year ago, I had a brief two-month relationship and exactly zero approaches to my credit. I remember enviously watching other guys effortlessly talk to girls, quietly wondering if something was fundamentally wrong with me. I remember wondering how easy they made it look. I remember trading a wrinkled $1 bill for a worn copy of How to Succeed with Women at a library book sale, nervously stuttering to the cashier that “I could use it as a prop in the company talent show.” He rolled his eyes.  I drove straight home and finished it the next day. Its material was comparatively basic, but it opened the door to dating insights my academically-inclined social circle decidedly lacked. Hungry for more, I searched the authors’ names online and stumbled upon entire forums of guys posting about how to pick up girls. The forums gave way to eBooks, interviews with gurus, and finally real-life approaches.

I was pretty bad. My first opener, employed on New Year’s Day: “Hey, can I get your opinion on something? A gay guy at J. Crew dressed me like this. Do you think I should keep it, or is it pretty lame?” I was terrified. I let them carry the conversation. Most of them fell flat. But I would spend the following week reading and planning for the upcoming weekend. I would approach, get a little further, and bury myself in the curriculum until Friday. And so it continued, going out and reading and going out; there was so much to learn! Teasing, touching, and takeaways. Role plays, routines, and rules. Models, mindsets, and memorization. Sound familiar? It was addicting, and I became obsessed. What began as an innocent curiosity mutated into a fixation; I was reading instead of sleeping, text messaging instead of working, posting in forums instead of going to the gym. My success with women surreptitiously became a growing part of my identity. Drunk for the next 11 months on my own laughable ambition to be a Ladies’ Man – as if it were the highest calling one could achieve – my career, family, and faith faded into the background. As long as girls desired me, I was happy. This improvement had come at a heavy cost. My emotional health, based on the external validation of women who hardly knew me, became a house of cards set to topple at the slightest crosswind.

Karma soon caught up. In a span of two weeks, I was dumped by the most attractive girl I’d ever dated and was silently transferred a lower ranking team at work. I was blindsided. Life cracked the smelling salts under my nose, and I came to. I recounted the year’s greatest regret to my roommate: “My life was off course. I needed to get my shit together.” And mid-sentence, in saying it out loud, something hit me. It was no surprise that my performance at work and relationship imploded almost simultaneously. There was an imbalance in the priorities of my life, and both the relationship and the job reacted accordingly. The girl saw she was getting too much attention and grew bored of it and my boss noticed I wasn’t as proactive as I used to be. Something needed to change.

Borne of that painful experience was the year’s most important lesson: plan how you will spend each day and stick to it. I’m convinced the proper allocation of time and effort – into work, social life, or anything that develops you – is the most important decision you can make each day. Left unexamined, you implicitly rely on your emotions and previous habits to guide you. For some, this is not a problem. They have the career and social life they want and are satisfied with the balance of their lives. For people like me, it requires self-regulation and regular correcting. The purpose isn’t to overbook my schedule and burn me out; it’s to remind me to refocus my attention. When I’m at work, I focus on work. If I allocate 7 hours of attention to the workday, that’s not 7 hours of physical presence at the office. Those are 7 productive hours of completing assigned tasks and proactively finding new projects if I finish my duties. I’m not anxious about text messages, reading forums, or staring at my desk. My social life receives similar respect. When I’m with my friends, I’m in the moment having fun. Every day, I schedule a time to relax and mediate or pray to clear my mind.

Think of a leader you admire. As you remember their achievements, try to imagine what their daily process was like. What did they spend most of their time doing? What activities were they mentally engaged in? Although the exact allocation of hours likely differed by person, the order of priorities probably mirrors something like this:

Work/Study -> Personal Development & Health -> Family & Friends -> Dating
There may be times where it makes sense for your social life to take up more time than you spend on personal development. That’s fine. The point is to avoid major shifts and Women should never be first. A few months ago, I would have reasoned, “I spend a lot of time at work, with friends, and going to the gym. Women aren’t the most important thing to me.” But as I confronted the effort and thought subconsciously drifting to my dating life, a different truth emerged.

Once that proper balance is struck, however, it feeds on itself to produce a more attractive lifestyle. When an attractive girl comes into your life, she’ll notice you focused and dedicated at work. Instead of LOOKING busy, you’ll BECOME busy. As you dedicate time to personal development, you can start picking up hobbies. You can learn how to shoot a gun, fix a car, sky dive, try a new sport, hit the batting cages, or go volunteering. As you become more interesting and active, your time becomes more valuable to you. With so much to do, you probably won’t tolerate flakes. You’ll naturally develop healthy boundaries and eliminate the source of neediness instead of learning tactics to hide it. Others’ approval will lose its power over you. And it all starts with allocating your time. It feeds the choices you make, and the choices you make shape the quality of your life.

When I check on my progress, I pull out a blank sheet of paper and fill out two sections:

On an ideal workday, I would invest:

____ hours focused on in work, school, or studying
____ hours focused on in personal development 
(e.g. reading, writing, working out, spiritual activities, etc.)
____ hours focused on building relationships
____ hours focused on yesterday on getting better with girls
____ hours focused on yesterday relaxing

Yesterday I estimate I invested:

____ hours focused on work, school, or studying
____ hours focused on personal development 
(e.g. reading, writing, working out, spiritual activities, etc.)
____ hours focused on building relationships
____ hours focused on getting better with girls
____ hours focused on relaxing

If you did this exercise, what would your results look like? Would you be surprised at the differences? As most of us aspire to achieve greatly in our careers, I look forward to sharing more about success in the workplace and hearing your experiences. Thanks for staying engaged.

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8 Responses to The Proper Allocation

  1. Seele says:

    I’m a software engineer at Google in Zurich. I have moved recently to Zurich, so I am pretty much alone here. I am learning German, working out at the gym three times a week (doing Starting Strength program). Hardly any time or honestly energy is left for me to go out. I miss times in my home country, where I could party a few days a week or go out for day game, but I have no idea how to have at least a part of this life here. When I go out, I don’t feel comfortable in new environment and I don’t really have enough time to work on this the same way I did before (this took me a lot of practice). Do you have any advice for me? I think my whole life is set up properly – good job I am very passionate about, working out regularly, which I found out I love. But now it seems there is very little place for anything else..

    • Tom says:

      if your problem is simply after work plus working out plus learning German you have no time for a social life then the answer’s simple; learn German by going out 😉

      Get a Swiss friend from work and ask if he’d mind introducing you to some Swiss friends and make a promise to speak no English out of work. It sounds impossible but usually if you look happy speaking Tarzandeutsch people don’t mind, just try and immerse yourself and chill. Though sometimes you’ll have to be stubborn about it, just be nice but refuse to answer in English. This plus TV in German and you’ll pick up the language surprisingly quickly while picking up girls at the same time 😛

      Even if you’re more the methodical type, I’d recommend learning German through immersion in Zürich because their dialect is pretty strong, and the German you’ll learn from most courses (Hochdeutsch) is pretty different.

      Anyway good luck mate! (:

    • Tom says:

      Oh and to get you started all you need is:

      Grüezi – Hello
      Was heisst ____? – What does ____ mean?
      Wie sagt man ___ auf Deutsch? – How do you say ___ in German?

      Armed with these phrases and some drunkenly improvised extravagant sign language you’ll be away 😛

  2. Adam says:

    Great post, a lot of what you say rings oh-so-painfully-true for me this year as well.
    I’ve realized the need for balance and I can (for once) feel excited for the year to come. 2012, you shall be my bitch.

  3. Chaos says:

    Great, great post.

  4. Shawn says:

    Wow, this gave me a fresh perspective on everything. Thanks man!

  5. Neal says:

    Wow, excellent post brotha. I recently went through the same kick in the teeth in 2011 and am in the same spot you are. I came to the same conclusion you did: I have a diet plan, workout schedule, X amount of hours in the library after attending classes, etc. I’d suggest the 50th Law by Robert Greene/50 Cent. While some of it is about getting manipulative, all of it is about overcoming fear and getting what you want in life. I read it and its help me break through some major barriers.

    Cheers.

  6. Dominik says:

    Just a quick thank you – I read this post and it inspired me to write a plan for a work day. It turned out to be one of the best things I could have done. I had always written the idea of sticking to a plan for each day off as too pedantic and unnerving but now I love it.

    It gives me trust, that I can achieve what I want, just because I see the numbers of how much time I spend on this every week. I’m MUCH more relaxed. I haven’t gone to bed with a bad conscience (like “Shit, I didn’t do anything today”) for quite some time.

    So again, thanks for the inspiration =)
    D

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