You have no time.
You work all day, 5 days a week. You come home to a house full of incomplete chores and family members who have been waiting all day to tell you about their day.
Dinner isn’t going to make itself. You change out of your work clothes and head straight for the kitchen. After, you’re left with a sink full of dishes.
Your kids haven’t done their homework yet. The living room is a mess. You haven’t had a chance to sit down since you got home.
By the time you’re done scurrying around the house, you’re beat!
You long for your bed and switch on your favorite TV show for a well-deserved break.
You really do have no time.
You search ‘how to create more time’, and they tell you to utilize the five minutes you have standing in line at Starbucks—as if that helps.
How are you supposed to achieve your goals with five minutes a day?
That fact is…
Today’s lifestyle devours all your time. It’s almost impossible to make time for yourself.
Are you doomed to slave away the rest of your life? Will you always await that someday when you’ll have more time to work on what you love (AKA retirement)?
Or is there a way to create time for yourself—your goals, ambitions, and hobbies—today?
You Have Time, You Just Need to Find It
“Time flies, but you’re the pilot.”
I know it seems like you have no time. One look at your schedule and you’re sure you don’t have a minute to spare.
The first step to gaining more time is finding out where your time goes.
I have a detailed post about time-tracking, so I won’t get into that here.
Once you’ve discovered where your time goes, you can set out to making the most out of it.
It’s About What Matters
“Instead of saying “I don’t have time” try saying “it’s not a priority,” and see how that feels.” Laura Vanderkam
You find time for what you care about.
You wouldn’t miss your best friend’s wedding for the world. You don’t care if your kid’s soccer game is in the middle of the week—you’ll be there.
The assignment your boss gave you this morning will be done by tomorrow—no problem.
But what about the project you left half-finished?
You don’t have the time now, but maybe you could work on it during your vacation, right?
You know why you didn’t finish?
Because it’s not a priority.
If it were, you’d make time for it.
I understand that you want to work on your project. You really do. It is a priority, you argue.
But your actions don’t say that.
We make time for what matters to us.
Here’s the problem:
You don’t take your wishes as seriously as you do other’s. If you tell your co-worker you’ll have the papers ready by 4:00 pm, they are ready by 4:00 pm. But if you tell yourself you will research your side hustle options tonight, night comes and you think, “I’ll do it later”.
I call your bluff.
Take your aspirations seriously—or you’ll never reach them.
Give the commitments you make to yourself the same importance as those you make to others. Act as if your goals were assigned to you by someone else. If you don’t take yourself seriously, no one else will.
No Is A Powerful Word
“If you don’t build your dream, someone else will hire you to help build theirs.”
I’m sure you’ve heard this quote thousands of times. Let’s understand what it really means.
Working in someone else’s company isn’t what this saying is about. You can work for someone else to achieve your dream, for instance, to become a top executive in your field.
Yet, if you don’t have a dream or don’t work toward it, people will start pulling you in to build theirs.
Here are some examples:
- Working overtime so your manager can get a promotion.
- Saying yes to every single favor people ask of you—whether it’s convenient to you or not.
- Picking up after everyone else in your house instead of using your time for your goals.
It’s as if everyone else is demanding your time and you have no control over it.
Here’s the deal:
Care about your time and how it’s spent because no one else will.
Many times, the problem is we are afraid of saying no. We falsely believe that if we said no to giving away our time, we are selfish.
If you say no, you respect your time. You won’t look like a jerk if you say, “I won’t be able to”.
I’ve recently read a book called The Assertiveness Workbook. It’s a practical guide on how to be assertive and refrain from falling victim to others’ persistence.
Direction Is Essential
“You’ve got to think about big things while you’re doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction.” – Alvin Toffler
Here are two ways time can get wasted:
- You spend it on tasks that don’t bring value.
- You don’t know what to do with it.
Productivity is all about spending your time on what matters. It’s not about doing more.
(Want to know what productivity really is and what it can do for you? Read this.)
You can work day and night for weeks on end and still have nothing to show for it because the work you did wasn’t productive.
Life is short. Why waste it on things that don’t matter?
You spend hours answering emails that could have easily been a two-minute conversation with your colleague down the hall. You scroll through social media knowing you’ll feel bad about it later. You listen to the gossip about the new employee, wasting time.
You will feel more achieved and satisfied if you spend those collective hours on your goals.
Imagine what you could have to show for those 2 hours if you invested them instead.
You avoid doing work because it’s tiring and hard. Instead, you find a passive activity to pass the time. You play Candy Crush, surf the internet, or try to find something to watch on Netflix.
Here’s the catch:
Even though getting started is dreadful, work is rewarding. You will regret wasting time, but you will never regret working toward your ambitions.
Most of the work you do is futile. It’s busy work that brings you no value. Cut the fluff out of your schedule and focus your time on fruitful endeavors. Use the 80/20 rule and save valuable time.
A lot of the time you have isn’t used properly. Instead of passing time with activities that bring you no joy and no results, invest your time on what matters.
Think of when you have some extra time throughout the day—maybe it’s before bed when you flip through your phone apps or in the morning as you scroll through your news feed. Now, consider how much value those activities offer and what you could switch them with.
The second way time is thrown away is by not knowing what to do with it.
When I was studying for the US Medical Licensing Exam, my entire day was consumed by watching lectures, studying, and doing flashcards.
I noticed that all I was doing was studying and thought, “I should do something else to avoid burning out.”
I shifted my schedule around. I woke up earlier, so I could finish studying earlier.
I made the time.
Then I ran into a problem…
I had time, but nothing to do with it!
I would spend an hour walking around the house pointlessly before realizing that I was wasting time and going back to my study room.
Skyrocket Your Productivity in 15 Days
Tired of having so much to do, but never enough time to get it done?
The Productivity Challenge is just what you’ve been looking for.
During this 15-day challenge, you’ll reform your life to be you more productive, get more done, and achieve your goals.
Before you start making time, decide on what you plan on doing with it.
You probably already have an idea of what you want to do. Convert that idea into tangible actions, so you don’t end up staring at a wall thinking, “well now what?”.
Instead of ‘landscape front yard’, make it ‘turn soil, plant flowers, and mow the lawn’.
You Shouldn’t Be Doing That
Those who make the worst use of their time are the first to complain of its brevity. Jean De La Bruyere
You’ve made your own free time a priority. You set boundaries for other people’s usage of your time. Finally, you decided to use the time you do have more wisely.
All those undertakings gave you back the time you already had. Now, it’s time to make more.
Look at your schedule and compare it to the data on your time tracker.
What activities are stealing most of your time? Is that work necessary? What tasks can be eliminated?
After you’ve crossed out everything you can from your schedule, it’s time to give some of the remaining tasks to other people.
Yep, it’s time to delegate.
I know you can’t afford a personal assistant to do your work (Goals!). You don’t have to, though.
At work, we often fall into the trap of believing that no one will be able to do tasks as well as we can. We end up overloading ourselves with work that someone else could and should do.
Find the tasks that can be given to someone else and share your workload with them.
You can do this in your home, too. If you are the one doing most of the housework, delegate it. Give your family members some of the work. You have important tasks to spend your time on, so it’s totally justified.
You Have Time. You Just Need to Find It
You have time. You have 24 hours a day just like everybody else. Those people who make their dreams come true are the ones who invested the time they had.
Be considerate of where your time is going. Make your free time a priority and spend it on what matters. Determine what you will and will not put your time in.
Take back control over your time and stop letting it slip through your fingers.
Your time is your life. So, spend your life wisely. You only have one.
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