Time Zen

What follows are key excerpts from the book Time Zen, written by StriveList founder Dr. Monroe Mann, published in 2010, and available everywhere. These excerpts should help you greatly in being the most productive as possible through StriveList.

Yes I Do Sleep

"How do you do so much?"

"How are you able to work on so many projects—successfully—at the same time?"

"Are you sure you don’t have more than 24 hours in a day?"

"How do you keep everything organized?"

"Do you sleep?"

Hi, my name is Monroe Mann, and the answer to that last question is, "Yes, I do sleep."" My answer—well, it's always the same: I am really good at time management. Another answer I am quite fond of is: I specialize in ambition.

You see, it seems that we all complain that we don’t have the time—that there just isn’t enough time in each day to do all that we want to do. That our dreams would come true if only we had more time. If only that lame excuse were true.

This is but another instance of us (humans) thinking we are more efficient and organized than we actually are. We are not efficient. And we are not organized. But we sure are great at deluding ourselves into thinking we are!

Why did I write this book? I wrote this book for one simple reason: I want you to see your dreams through to the end. I don’t want you to have dreams; I want you to have living accomplishments—realities in the making.

So then, how do I do so much? Easy: by juggling. I am really good at juggling—juggling projects; juggling responsibilities; juggling time itself. I know how to link one project to another, and seamlessly integrate them together with a third and fourth project, and then, how to synergize them all so perfectly that any time or effort I expend on one project has the intended side effect of pushing all of my other projects along as well.

I am only 32 years old, and yet in that short time, I have served in the military in combat, have published six books, have written and produced numerous films, have lived in Europe and the Middle East, have spoken at various colleges, have run many businesses, have played with my band, have gone back to school to get my MBA and my law degree, and the list goes on.

What really mesmerizes people, though, is that I am able to do—and have done—all of these things simultaneously. For instance, at this very moment, while I run my business Unstoppable Artists part-time, I am also attending business school and law school at Pace University; I am running my own film school program; I am writing two other books; I am finishing up a new screenplay and also raising money for my horror film, “The Quiet”; I am playing music every Sunday at Pete’s Candy Store in Brooklyn; I am even working with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program here in Westchester as a child sponsor.

What’s my point? No, the point is NOT that I am a braggart! (I am merely ‘sharing the vibe’.) My point—and a much better point at that—is that: I can teach you how to accomplish just as much—if not more—by using the same time management and organizational skills that I have developed to forge my own success.

I have created a simple and effective system for successfully juggling hundreds of different projects and deadlines simultaneously… and I now want to share it with you.

Welcome to Time Zen.

(StriveList is based on Dr. Monroe Mann's time management philosophy from his best-selling book, Time Zen. Like what you're reading? You'll love StriveList.)

Why This Book Is Different

This book is different from every other time management book out there for a number of reasons.

First, this book is more of a philosophical treatise. Time management to me is more the result of a psychological shift than a collection of tactics—which is why my book is different from every time management book currently on the market. If you make the few basic psychological shifts I recommend, and follow suit with the related actions, everything else will fall into place.

In addition, no other time management book that I know of has been written by a combat veteran who is also entrenched in show business: I offer a unique perspective on the subject.

Next, I have been told many times that my ‘tough love’ writing style is refreshingly different from any other writers out there. I have a knack for writing like a motivational drill sergeant who doesn’t want excuses, but who also actually cares—the result being readers who get off their butts, take action, and make things happen.

Finally, since this is a book on time management after all, I believe it should be short and to the point. It’s meant to be read in one or two sittings, and then referred back to, and re-read every few months.

I hope you enjoy it.

(StriveList is based on Dr. Monroe Mann's time management philosophy from his best-selling book, Time Zen. Like what you're reading? You'll love StriveList.)

A New Paradigm

The truth of the matter is that most major success in this right-brain, internet-connected, uber-competitive world no longer comes from doing things consecutively. If you do things consecutively, you lose. That is a fact. Slow and steady may have won the race in the past, but today, in order to even get into the race, you have to be the one organizing it too, and doing everything all at the same time.

In other words, in today’s world, it’s the multitasker who wins the race—because often you can’t get into the race unless you put the thing together too. Sure, forty years ago, you could focus on one trade and get a job that would support you for the rest of your life. These days, though, you’re fortunate if you have the same job in the same industry for a few years. The time to become a little bit more diverse in your pursuits has returned. Da Vinci would be proud.

And in this new day and age, if you can’t keep up with those of us who know ‘how to juggle’ multiple projects, then tough luck, you’re gonna be left in the dust. Yes, we have entered the age of the time masters, and you would choose well to join us. While time itself moves forward on a single timeline, that doesn’t mean your projects have to move forward on that single timeline. Instead, the idea is to propel many projects forward on a whole bunch of timelines.

In other words (and here’s the basic time philosophy of the book):


You see, while each of us does only have 24 hours in a day, that’s the wrong way to look at time management. The key to successfully doing more, in less time, and with better results, is to stop thinking linearly, and start thinking spacially and synergistically.

Think about it conceptually: we may only have 24 hours in a day, but if we can each learn to juggle three or four balls during every hour (instead of just one), we essentially end up with 96 hours of effectiveness per day. Quite a jump in productivity.

And while the floor space of our lives—like the floor space of our offices—may be limited, if we conceptually understand the idea of ‘juggling’, it should be clear that by juggling your various projects and dreams up off the two dimensional timeline, and into the three dimensional space above and around you, you are going to be able to take on and handle a heck of a lot more projects than you normally could.

Remember the key premise of this book: doing one thing at a time is a recipe for a life that won’t keep up with your dreams. I know we’ve all heard that it’s better to do one thing at a time, and put all of our energy into that one thing until completion, and then move onto the next thing… but that just won’t work if you have great ambition and want to live a greater than average life. Think of all those people who have done amazing things with their lives. For example, Da Vinci, Edison, Thatcher, and even in our own time, Spielberg or Stefani. Do you really think that they’ve done so much with their lives by focusing on just one thing, and then moving to the next in a linear manner? Da Vinci was working on scientific musings at the same time he was drawing, inventing, and theoreticizing. Spielberg was writing screenplays while he was directing them, producing them, and casting them. Edison was failing for the thousandth time on the light bulb while he was working on hundreds of other inventions at the same time. Stefani was recording while designing clothes. And I am writing this book while I am also writing three others, while in law school, while shooting two films, while running my businesses, and while rehearsing my songs to perform at Pete’s Candy Store in Brooklyn. Focusing on only one niche is a foolish gamble. Do you really want to be one of those boring people who only has the ability to speak to one select group of people at a social gathering—seriously, folks, that is so boring.

I know that some studies have concluded that multitasking actually reduces the amount of brain power we are using, citing examples that today’s youth know all about multitasking and processing, but little about focusing and analysis. There may be a lot of truth to that analysis but it leaves out an important point: multitasking and processing by itself may be of little use, but when you combine those qualities with focus and analysis, it’s quite amazing what one can accomplish. And that is what this book is all about.

My point is simply this: you can come up with as many excuses as you like to rationalize what I call ‘your laziness’, but in the end, if you want to make things happen in this life, you have to learn to multitask. And that requires the mastery of your time.

You have to learn to squeeze every valuable second out of every valuable minute in such a way that it encourages the time efficiency you are seeking. In other words, in order to juggle projects, you need to have control over your time; you cannot let time control you.

And not surprisingly, the more efficient you are with time, the more organized your space will become too—they are absolutely related. And the more organized your space, the more quickly you will get things done because everything is well organized. Make sense? Good, because now this is where things may get confusing.

When I say ‘time’, I don’t just mean 60 minutes in every hour. I mean that the more efficient you become, you’ll actually learn how to get 180 minutes out of every hour—through efficiency, delegation, productivity, etc. Said another way, your space is where you are able to apply the time you have. If you are the most amazing time zen master ever… but your life as a whole is a mess, then you’re not going to get very far. Conversely, if your life’s space is clearly organized, but you are not able to manage time very well… again, you’re not going to get very far. In other words, you cannot be good at time management if you are disorganized, and you cannot be organized if you don’t know how to properly manage your time—for what is time management but clearly organized use of your time. That’s what this book is going to show you how to do.

People sometimes call me a ‘jack of all trades’. That is inaccurate. I am not a jack of all trades—I am a master of many trades. I do many things, and I do many things exceedingly well. I encourage you to become the same; I encourage you to become a master of many disciplines. Not only is it possible—it is downright essential. Ladies and gentlemen, your very economic survival depends on it.

(StriveList is based on Dr. Monroe Mann's time management philosophy from his best-selling book, Time Zen. Like what you're reading? You'll love StriveList.)

© 2017 by Dr. Monroe Mann, Esq. Time Zen © 2007 by Monroe Mann