I can hear the whine in your voice now. "But you don’t understand, I am so busy doing (insert multiple items here), that I do not have time to (insert the thing you know you should be doing here).”
I know all the excuses because I have made them myself at times. And I have heard the same excuses from coaching and business clients for over 25 years. I even taught time management in corporate America back in the mid 90’s when time management was still popular and the same excuses existed then.
Time Is The Great Equalizer
Everyone starts each day with exactly 24 hours or 1,440 minutes. But everyone you know, including yourself, claims and brags that they are busier and have more to do than everyone else. As if they are the only person in the world that is married, with children, with a job or a business, with household duties, with family, with hobbies, with goals and dreams and not enough minutes in the day to get it all done.
Stop lying to yourself. You do exactly what you want to do every day. And everyone around you does the same thing. People fill their hours with stuff. Some of the stuff is productive. Some of the stuff is not productive. But everyone has 24 hours of stuff during their day.
We can make the case that our so-called busyness has forced us to be less productive, less effective and worst of all, less happy.
Everyone Has More Available Time In Their Life
The limiting belief that a person cannot achieve success or move forward in life or business due to lack of time is typically the number one issue that must be addressed with our coaching clients.
Implement these 7 steps to reset your time challenges and possibly reclaim your life:
1. Stop telling everyone how busy you are - Even if you are the rare winner of the “busiest person in the world” contest, there is no reason to tell everyone. You probably are not as busy as you think and other people really do not want to hear how busy you think you are. And you are probably using up your valuable time trying to convince people how important you are because your time is so limited and critical.
2. Be honest with yourself - Analyze where you spend your time. I can almost guarantee that you have a minimum of 10 hours per week spent doing non-essential items. And if you still disagree, I challenge you to do an incremental time study. Can you tell that I studied Industrial Engineering at Georgia Tech? Every client I have coached is shocked with where their time is actually spent after reviewing the results of a simple time analysis.
3. Relax and enjoy the non-essential time - I am not against down time and do-nothing time. I just get a bit irritated when people talk about being busy or use time as an excuse to fail but still spend time in front of the television every night. Or surf the internet for endless hours at a time. There is not a person that exists that is 100% productive at all times. Thinking about your business issues does not count as productive time when you are out on a date with your wife. Or playing with your children. Relax and enjoy every moment of your day.
4. Control your time - This is a challenge for many people. They allow someone else to control their time. And because they have relinquished control to someone else, they feel trapped and out of control 24/7. If you do not control your time, someone else will. And that includes spouses, children, family, friends, employees and bosses.
5. Learn to say NO - Demands and opportunities come at us all the time. It is easy to say yes to every invite and request. It can be difficult to say no to spouses, children, family and friends. And it may be even more challenging to say no in your business environment. But if you never show respect for the limits of time, then other people (including your spouse and family) will never respect your time and schedule.
6. Remove scheduled items - My guess is that like most people you have multiple items on your daily, weekly and monthly calendar that are discretionary. Don’t get mad at me for pointing that out. And if you have convinced yourself that it is non-negotiable I am OK with that. But as I said earlier, do not complain about being busy and never having enough time. A few examples: multiple daily and weekly children’s activities, adult male sports like softball and basketball leagues, female romance novels, and civic and church activities.
7. Eliminate distractions - As someone that has recently embraced a minimalist mindset, I am amazed at how much life slows down when you have less stuff to maintain and watch over. I have not performed scientific studies, but my guesstimate is that I have recaptured almost 4 weeks per year. That means we have gained almost 1 month per year. I have no doubt that everyone has something that they can eliminate from their life.
You are designed for success and you have all the tools and the talent that you need to achieve your goals. You also have plenty of time to be super successful. Don't run out of time. Use all that you have.
Relax, enjoy, achieve, repeat.