People talk about time a lot. They never seem to have enough. They’re too busy. They’re stressed. And of course, they are quick to tell you, “You have no idea.”
I do have an idea. I’ve felt this. I may have even said that.
But trust me when I say, you will find the time when it matters.
Years ago I was talking to a friend about feeling overwhelmed. I had a lot going on, and I was worried I wasn’t spending enough time with my four kids. She called me out on this and told me to track my time for two weeks.
The point of the exercise was to move me from how I was feeling to looking at what was actually happening.
As it turned out, I was spending more time with my children than I thought. I had been prioritizing them all along. And that’s what we do; we make time for the things that matter.
Yes or No
How we spend time is a choice.
We choose our family. We choose work because it provides income for our family.
No matter what you want to do, the time is there. It’s a matter of saying yes to one thing and no to something else.
When I was actively training for triathlons and marathons, I managed to find time to swim, bike, and run for 15-20 hours every week.
But It worked because I prioritized it. It worked because I said, no to lots of other things. This also happened around the time I was worried I wasn’t making time for my family.
We can find the time.
I’m not saying it’s easy, but it is pretty simple.
Everyone is Busy. You Can Still Find The Time.
Somehow we manage to find the time whenever something important happens.
When a friend is in the hospital, we find time to visit. When neighbors need help, we find time to support them. When a parent calls, we find time to talk. When a new season of House of Cards comes out, we find time to watch every episode.
The real question is never, “where will I find the time?” The question is, “what is important to me?” But we don’t always ask this question.
As you say yes to one thing, you say no to another. And that’s a good thing.
Here are four ways to find time for what’s important.
- Re-write your “To-Do” list every day. – When you write out “rebuild landing page” ten times, you’ll do it, or you’ll decide it’s not all that important and drop it from the list.
- Get specific and assign everything an amount of time – If you decide that rebuilding your landing page is important, figure out how long it will take you. Hint: add ten minutes for every 30 you think it will take. We always underestimate.
- Schedule it – If the page is going to take an hour, put it on your schedule. Don’t try to fit to-do list items around other things. You’ll never get anything important done that way.
- Protect it – Once the clock is running on a project, try to avoid interruptions. Stop checking email. Don’t look at your phone. Don’t check Instagram. Give the project what it needs.
And take the advice my friend gave me. Track your time for two weeks. Write down what you do every day in 20-minute increments.
When you do, you’ll get real data rather than just how you feel. It will show you a few things very quickly. Time is limited. We waste a lot of it. You probably can’t do everything you think you can. BUT….
You will find the time for what matters. We always do.