I don’t have time…

Aug 2013
Reference: Fastcompany

“I don’t have time”. It’s something we say a lot. But everyone has time; it’s just that some things aren’t a priority so we don’t make time to do them. 

It’s hard to invest time in things that others don’t see any immediate value in, but if they have value to you, doing them makes you feel better, gives you a strong sense of accomplishment, which in turn boosts your confidence and makes you a better performer all round – something in which, incidentally, others do see immediate value.

If you find you are steaming through your life, fire-fighting and chasing one deadline after the other without ever doing the ‘other stuff’ you’d like to do, these tips may help you to regain control.

1. Make a big list of the stuff you want to do: It could include anything, for example: run a marathon, create a photo album, learn how to use a new tool, write a song or a novel, bring in two massive deals for your company, raise money for a charity, take up a new family activity, learn to meditate…properly. 

2. Give yourself a deadline: you could make it the end of the year. Imagine it’s a prospective performance review and write down what you want to have achieved.

3. Start logging your time: Work out where you are spending your time now. Imagine you are a contractor billing your hours. Include everything no matter how mundane: sleeping, travelling, chores, TV, internet searching.

4. Assess your time: Are you spending your time wisely? Where do you need to spend more or less time? What would you really like to change and what do you like about your current schedule?

5. Recognise that you are master of your own time and that each week you can pretty much do exactly what you want to do (within reason). There may be some challenging choices, but recognise that they are choices.

6. Take your dream list and start breaking each goal down into bite-sized chunks that you can build into your day or your week. For example, allocate an hour to: researching how to train for a marathon, the clients you want to sign, a good local meditation teacher; sorting out the photos you want to include from January to June in 2001; having a conversation with the family about what everyone wants to learn together. The key is to make it manageable and achievable.

7. Plan when you’re going to do each of these things and actually block out time in your calendar to do them.

8. Then hold yourself accountable: tell others what you are doing or put it in an app. Just make sure that not doing it will make you uncomfortable.

You can do whatever you want to do. It’s only you holding you back. Do you really not have enough time?