Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Don't Have Enough Time, You're Lying to Yourself.

It's a common complaint amongst people, "I don't have enough time to do x". What these people don't realize is they have plenty of time to do what they really find important or fun.

Some may say "this is preposterous, I have a family, a full time job, friends, errands, chores, and so on and so forth." I say, so what! I'm guessing if someone offered a once in a lifetime opportunity you always dreamed of you'd find time for it. You can find time because your time is based on your priorities. I'll explain how to regain your time so you can do what you want to do. Interested, read on.

Living on 24 hours a day
Time is the ultimate democracy. Unlike money everyone has the same amount of time to spend whether you are a king or a pauper you get 24 hours. But like money people don't necessarily spend their time as they should. BTW - this is the basic premise of the book, "How to Live on Twenty-Four Hours a Day" by Arnold Bennett. I highly recommend the book best part it's out of copyright and free as an audio book at Librivox and as an ebook at Project Gutenberg. (Apparently Project Gutenberg has the audio book now as well.)

All to often people get into mindset they have to do x,y and z, and end up not having the time to do the things they find important. When you choose to do one thing over another you are saying to the world that you consider it more important than the other. Everyone knows this, but we often get blinded or confused into doing things that aren't as important.

How to Prioritize Your Time

Here are a few questions to ask yourself to discover if something is really important:
  1. What's the worst thing that could happen if I don't do this. Chances are you are doing a lot of unnecessary stuff. We tend to fill up our time to stave off boredom, maybe we could better.
  2. In 50 years will this have made a difference?
  3. What are my true priorities? This may take some time to sort out, be true to yourself. Maybe print your priorities on a credit card sized piece of paper to keep with you as a reminder when a decision of time comes up.
  4. Think about the 80/20 rule, 80% of your results come from 20% of your actions. If you just did the 20% you'd be able to do the 80% very well and have a time more time and a lot less stress. Go for the biggest bang for your buck.
Following is a list of books I highly recommend to get a better grasp on what's really important to you, because really if it's unimportant why do it! Here are the books in no particular order:

Personal Examples of Time Saved

  1. Watching the News, overall waste of time unless you are wanting to get upset/fearful about something or learn the latest celebrity gossip. If the new is important enough you will know about it without ever watching the news, try it for a week or two and you'll never go back to a regular news watcher.
  2. Complaining about stuff that you can't change and the person you are complaining to can't change. It's natural for people to vent there frustrations but complaining over and over to someone that can't change the circumstances just wastes time and energy.
  3. Learning to say no. It is very important to be able to say no. If you are always doing what's important to others you'll never be able to do what's important to you.


The point of all of this is to enjoy the little time here on earth we have. You are not going to be perfect, you are going to waste time every now and then and that's OK and can be healthy. Whatever you do find out what your true priorities are be true to them.