In our society and particularly in America, it has become the norm to never have time. You might also find it common to hear friends and colleagues complain about their lack of time, often wishing for more time in the day to complete all of their tasks.
The point is, we’re all complaining about time. But what are we really saying?
Here’s what we really mean when we say we have no time.
The things you claim to “never have time for” are actually things that are not important to you.
It’s not that we don’t have time to organize that photo album, call that old friend from high school, or clean the ceiling fan; but those things are less important and lack relevance to our immediate lives.
Let’s say your car breaks down. I strongly believe you’ll find time to fix it. Not because you actually have the time, but because it’s extremely important and relevant to how you get other things done. It’s a priority and there will be bigger consequences if you don’t solve the problem immediately, so you do it.
Why don’t you have time to go to the gym? Because it’s clearly not important to you, that’s why.
Time is an intangible object that we consistently use to rationalize things we never want or care to do.
“I don’t have the time for this”
“I can’t find the time to do it”
“I’m already too short on time”
“I’ll never be able to fit that into my schedule”
Translation: it’s not that important to me and I have other things that I need to do.
That’s it. Plain and simple.
Now how can we make time?
1. Don’t hold yourself back.
Sometimes there are things we truly value, things we really want to see ourselves doing or making time for in the day; but we still don’t do them.
Writing this blog is a perfect example. Since beginning my new job I have not been writing as consistently as I was prior to. I blamed my lack of time in addition to a lack of motivation.
I was lying to myself.
There were tons of things I wished to write about. But I held myself back by making excuses.
I started this blog with a spare 15 minutes from today’s lunch break. You’d be surprised at how many small spare time pockets you have in your day that if utilized, could yield higher task completion and productivity.
2. Prioritize and DONT get distracted.
If you want to get something done, tell yourself. Set reminders on your phone, put it in your calendar, and even write it on your hand if you have to. Do whatever it takes to keep it fresh on your mind and high on your priority list.
Reminding yourself of the importance a task bears will be helpful in creating a focus on that task. If we have one thing on our minds all day, one thing that we can’t wait to do, we will most likely do it as soon as possible. You have to get excited about the task and have an actual desire to get it completed or else you will get distracted.
How many of us just randomly begin scrolling through our news feeds when we actually should be getting work done?
I know it happens to me all the time and probably to you too.
I’m not going to suggest turning off your phone because no one would do that. But if you truly remind yourself of the importance level and create excitement around completing that task, your distractions will not pose a threat because the satisfaction received will outweigh the temporary pleasure delivered to us by scrolling through our social media outlets.
3. Find out where those spare pockets of time exist.
Some of the most common overlooked areas where we waste valuable time are:
1. Lunch breaks
3. During travel
4. Early mornings
5. Late at night
Lunch breaks are usually dedicated to socializing, but if you look at top performers in any organization they don’t take a full hour or even half hour to eat and then chat with buddies. They eat and then get back to work or use the rest of that time to work on personal tasks.
Weekends. Finally, you don’t have to work and you get some time to relax. Even if you do work on the weekends, you just want to relax when you get home don’t you? Well that’s exactly why you won’t get anything done. Weekends are full of extra time that you can use to get ahead, don’t spend them sleeping away or lounging on the couch, and if you do then you clearly value that relaxation time over completing these tasks that you claim to never have time for.
During travel. Most of the time when you travel, it’s on a road trip or vacation. Well you you are not driving and most certainly if you are flying; bring some work with you. If you’re going to be sitting down for more than 2 hours you might as well make it productive right?
Early mornings. Do. Not. Hit. The. Snooze. Button. It’s a trap. Wake up, go through your morning routine and begin your day. Lounging around or lying in bed contributes nothing to your productivity levels and is a huge hindrance on your ability to execute.
Late at night. There is a clear tradeoff between productivity and sleep. But if you make use of the spare time pockets hidden throughout your day, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice sleep. I go to bed before 10pm every night and still get everything I want done. However, there might be sometimes where you have no choice and need to stay up, in that case you will have to decide what’s most important.