In my last blog post, “What’s Your Excuse?“, I introduced the top three that most of use to avoid doing the things that we really should be doing. I also committed to a deeper dive into each of the three, so let’s tackle the time “rationale” first. Because it’s total bullshit.
Yes, it is true that a day in the life is made up of 24 hours, 1,440 minutes, and 86,400 seconds. How you choose to spend it is another thing entirely.
Time is far more valuable than money, because you can’t make more of it. You can always make more money. You can lose everything you have created in your own material world and rebuild it. Plenty of humans have done it before you and many more will do it again. You can never, ever get back your time. You can’t create more of it. You can’t get back what you’ve already spent. You really and truly must spend it wisely. There are no “do overs” when time is involved. There is no magic wand to wave and no time/space continuum to travel.
You already know this. I’m not telling you anything new and fresh that you couldn’t have figured out on your own. However, I am going to call you out on your bullshit when you say that you don’t have enough of it. There are plenty of ways to enjoy the time that you have if it’s your choice to do so.
Notice that I’ve twice highlighted your choice in the first few sentences of this message that I hope you receive and understand. How you spend your time is your choice. As an adult, it always has been and it always will be true.
Here is where you may say, “It’s not my choice to have this time-sucking commute to my job, but it’s necessary to pay the bills.” Or, “It’s not my choice to attend all of these soul-crushing and pointless meetings that take hours of my day, but they are required.”
My friends, your job is your choice. Where you work, who you work with, the meetings that you attend…all choices. “But I’ll get fired if I miss too many mandatory meetings.” Perhaps. And your choice.
I recall one job that I had not too many years ago where I was quite honestly blown away by the leadership who brought all of their devices into the room to multitask. They typed away at emails and texted on their phones. Hell, some of them even scrolled through Facebook out of pure boredom. They were not engaged in the proceedings. It was blatant and obvious. However, they were physically present, so checking that box. It occurred to me that that was all that was happening .There was a mandatory meeting that recurred at the same time and place on a weekly basis, and this what we got from our time. A group of professional who may have been 10% engaged in an agenda-free meet up. It took me about three rounds of that to ditch my notebook as I realized there were no notes to take. It was more of a way to get out of the disruptive office or cubicle, sit behind closed doors, and hammer away at actually getting shit done.
Here is where you will ask me how many of those mandatory meetings that I ditched. The answer is none of them. Even if I had a remote work day or was home sick, I usually dialed in (even if the experience was shitty). Because of course, I needed the paycheck. And so I get that. I really do. I could also at any point in time have changed my circumstances and found something more fulfilling. Like I’m doing now. My choice.
I’d like to believe that I’ve gotten much better at my own time management in my continued studies as a life coach, yet there is always room for improvement. Allow me to share with you some of the so very simple yet amazing concepts that I’ve learned on this journey.
First and foremost, it’s all about priorities. When someone tells you they are too busy or they don’t have the time, that’s code for ‘I don’t want to spend it on you.’ Period. Don’t be offended by it when you hear there’s no time that can be allocated to your needs or desires. Instead, acknowledge and accept that it really and truly has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them.
When I want to spend time with someone, I find the time. Always. Schedules can be adjusted and kids’ events can be missed. What you make that mean is all on you. I promise your children will not hold it against you for life if you miss a practice, a performance, or a few along the way. You alone are in control of your precious hours and minutes. Find what feeds your soul. If spending a couple of hours with a friend who has traveled a distance to visit with you does this for you, then I highly recommend it. If you must spend every hour of your time attending your child’s various activities, then by all means do that. It’s all about your priorities. Just be honest with yourself and others about it.
Do what creates your soul spark first.
Second and equally as important, is one’s ability to manage the time given. As long as I’m endorsing activities, try this exercise just once:
- Write down fifty things that you want to accomplish before you leave this earth. Everything from big dreams to minor conveniences. Write it all out. Yes, fifty things seem like a LOT, but you’ll find them if you really search within from a place of quiet reflection.
- Plot out a day in your life on a calendar – all 24 hours. Don’t forget to include the time sleeping, eating, bathing, and commuting. Document every single hour that you’ve spent and how you’ve spent it. I like to categorize my calendar by color for kid stuff, business stuff, education, and mindless escapes like Netflix and chill that yield no result whatsoever. Try it just for one day. Be honest with yourself on this one!
- Compare your “day in the life” with your dream list. How much time did you spend on activities that support your dreams? How many hours and minutes?
I guarantee this to be an eye-opening experience and I wish I had known about it sooner.
Currently native to the iPhone and available as an app for alternate devices is a ‘screen time’ tracker. I find myself reviewing this daily. Am I getting better? Definitely. But am I still wasting hours of my time on my phone on a daily basis? You bet.
Because by design, that’s what they are meant to do. Hook you in and keep you engaged with all of the pretty colors and notifications which serve as rewards for your brain. Look! People like my post. They are engaging with me! Someone just sent me a text! I must respond immediately. Seriously. It’s a total time suck. And those of us of a certain age can recall a life without the smart phone. It was so much simpler and more engaging.
Try this if you can: turn off all notifications or set your phone to DND during preset times. See how much easier and simpler your life becomes. If nothing else, become fully aware of how much time you lose to all of the small activities that do not serve you. They add up.
You’ll be shocked at how much time you can create when you remove that excuse from your vocabulary.
Would you like to be coached on this or another area of your life? Book a free consultation with me here.