If Only I Had More Time…
Short on time? Welcome to the 21st century, where a 5 second wait for a web page to load seems like forever, and “busy” is the watchword of the day.
Unfortunately, being constantly on the go can mean that goals creep along at a glacial pace — or worse yet, get pushed to the wayside in favor of things that feel urgent but are not really all that important in the long run. So how do you combat the lack of time and get to what matters? It can be done.
Secret #1: Quit battling the clock
If you truly want to start that side business, write those morning pages, or reach whatever goal is nearest and dearest to your heart, wishing for more time in the day isn’t the answer. Facing up to a few realities is.
We’ve all got the same amount of time each day. 24 hours. That’s it. You can’t battle the clock and win. Yes, some of us have more stuff going on in our lives than others. We have kids, jobs, volunteer work, pets, family members to care for, household responsibilities — and sometimes all of the above at once. (Plus it’s nice to sleep now and again too.)
But we’ve all got two things in common: those 24 hours, and the things we want to accomplish that are really important to us. So admit that you can’t do it all. That isn’t giving up before you start. It’s being smart.
Secret #2: Prioritize
You knew this was coming, right? You’ve got to prioritize. Since you can’t do everything (not even superheroes can), you have to figure out what you want most. Here are questions that can help:
- What would you regret not doing, if you were to die today?
- What do you often wish you had time for?
- What’s your number #1 goal right now?
Answer those, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what you’d do “if only you had more time”. Put those puppies at the top of your list, because now is all any of us have for sure.
I know, you’ve got other stuff you need to do too. And maybe some of your goals are pretty huge — like climbing Mount Everest or even just getting 15 minutes of quiet time to yourself at the end of the day. Put them on your list anyway. At the top, because you said they’re things you want most.
Secret #3: Do something every day that matters
This is the important part. Lists don’t matter if the things you cross off on them are always stuff like “Check email” or “Make dinner”. You have to do something every day that matters.
So maybe you can’t climb Mount Everest today. But you can do a 5-minute Google search about it to find 3 web sites that might help you figure out what’s involved. And then tomorrow you could make a list based on what you find, and then you could break down the smallest steps another day. And then work on the first one.
Because climbing a mountain — and reaching every other big goal — is all about the steps along the way. You’ve got to take them, one by one, and each one brings you closer. Until one day, you’re at the top.
So make sure your daily list has something that’s important to you on it. And then do that thing (or teeny little part of that thing), first, whenever possible. No matter how busy you are, you can get up five minutes earlier. Or lock yourself in the bathroom with a notepad, or whatever it takes. You can.
Listen to yourself
Finally, listen to yourself. When you hear yourself saying, “Oh, I don’t have time for that” remember that what you’re really saying is “Oh, that’s not a priority for me right now.” And that could be just fine. Some things aren’t a priority.
Just make sure you’re saying that about the right things. Don’t let guilt or exhaustion prevent you from living your dreams. Baby step those dreams into reality instead.