How to Find Time to Do the Things That Matter

Do you wish you had more time to do the things that matter? Here's how to find it.

Are you thinking of starting a side business or working on some other big project this year, but feeling stressed out because you’re not sure how you’ll be able to fit it in?

If so, you’ve probably uttered these six words: “If only I had more time”.

But the truth is, you’re lamenting the wrong thing. You already have all the time you’re ever going to have.

It’s a matter of how you use that time. Every day.

Do some analysis

It pays to do a little bit of self-reflection before you begin to change how you use your time. So first, do a little analysis. Be honest with yourself and answer these questions:

  • What are you really doing with your time? (Those “few minutes” you spend checking Facebook and email typically add up to a whole lot more than a few minutes.)

  • When do you feel most tired? (Use that time of day to do the tasks that don’t matter much in the big scheme of things)

  • When are you able to be most productive? (It may not be when you think it is, so try out different times throughout the day and evening — including getting up earlier than normal and staying up later than normal to see how you do then)

  • Do you really want to reach your goal, or are you using busyness/lack of time as an excuse? (To test this, imagine you never accomplish your goal. Will you regret it? I know there are some things I’ve been too busy to do procrastinating on that I’d be mad if I never got done.)

Once you’ve given this some thought (and that shouldn’t take long), it’s time to change how you think about the things you truly want to accomplish.

Switch your thinking and habits

To use time to your advantage and get the things done that are important to you, you’ve got to switch your thinking. (And a few habits.)

The next time you catch yourself about to say that you “don’t have time”, try re-framing that statement to something more accurate instead.

If you’re talking about something you really don’t want to do (dusting the house, for example) say something like “Yes, the house is in need of dusting, but right now it’s more important for me to do ______.” Then go do the thing that’s more important.

If you’re talking about something you do want to do (like your goal!) be honest with yourself instead. Re-frame the statement to “but I’m going to make time in my schedule right now” — and then do so. Block out time in your calendar, cancel something less important, delegate, or whatever it takes. Then (you guessed it) go do the thing that’s more important.

What you’re doing matters, so treat it that way. Remember, reaching a big goal is about making the little steps along the way a priority. This’ll give you time to do exactly that.