The Time Delusion: Why You Always Have Enough Time
“I just don’t have enough time” is probably one of the most common excuses people use to avoid starting anything.
But this simply is untrue.
You have as many hours in the day as Beyoncé.
What do you do to make the most of your day?
Do you plan your weeks ahead and or do you wake up and take each day as it comes?
If you’re like the majority of people, your answer is sadly the latter.
If you want to make the most of your day, you can’t afford to not have a solid plan of action in place.
Achieving your goals is all about defining exactly what you want and breaking it down into daily, weekly and monthly chunks.
And then stick to them no matter what.
The route to your success is in your routine
Your routine involves creating specific plans for taking action every, single, day.
If you are starting a side hustle, a business or you’re managing a team, then learning how to manage your time means less stress and better focus.
Here’s how to do it well:
1. Plan your week ahead
The best way to stop other people’s priorities to control your life is to create your own.
You don’t want to jump into the workday with no clear idea about what needs to get done.
That’s where you get distracted by someone else’s demands, emails, social media, calls …
A planned weekly schedule is better than a daily one because not everything is done each day.
A week tends to incorporate most finished activities better.
Once you know what you have to do, you’ll have a more accurate idea of the time available to do what you want to do.
2. Prioritise things that make you money
The best way to use your time more wisely as an aspiring entrepreneur is to split your to-do list into w columns:
a) Things that make you money
b) Things that don’t
… and then only do the side that directly makes you money and delegate the rest to subject matter experts via sites like Fiverr, Freelancer (great for ad hoc jobs) or onlinejobs.ph (excellent offshore support from the Philippines on a part-time or full-time basis).
Alternatively, you can split your to-do list into 4 columns:
• Important and urgent tasks – Do right away
• Important but not urgent tasks – Decide when to do them
• Urgent but not important – Decide when to do them
• Not urgent and not important – Do them later
If you’re still unsure about how to manage your time, setting clear goals, prioritising and delegating, you can enrol on a time management course. I find structured and supported courses effective because it’s hard to change your default mindset by yourself. And time management is about changing your mindset first.
3. Delegation is a sign of intelligence
Delegation is a sign of intelligence, not weakness.
Find reliable and competent people and share some of the responsibilities.
Take a look at your task list. Is there anything that someone else can do better than you?
If so, consider delegating that task so you’re free to work on other things.
4. Create a daily schedule with dedicated time for focused work
Start by scheduling non-negotiable time for “focused work” throughout the week.
Your daily schedule tells you what your intentions are and holds you accountable to them.
To-do lists are helpful, but only if they have a timeframe attached to them.
Timeframes help you to a) schedule b) prioritise c) set realistic deadlines.
Your schedule could look like something like this:
- Monday – Research and write the finished article – 8h
- Tuesday – Prepare and send two emails (one for networking, one for partnerships) – 6h
- Wednesday – Promote the article on social media – 6h
- Thursday – Finish logo design – 5h
- Friday –Pitch your business to the potential client– 4h
- Saturday – Spend time with my dog
- Sunday – Go to the countryside
5. Do only one thing at a time
As you see from my schedule above, I mainly have one task for a day.
The power of choosing one task is that it naturally guides your behaviour by forcing you to organise your life around that responsibility.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t complete other tasks during the day, but your priority task is the one non-negotiable thing that must get done.
All thinking is directional – in my view, that’s what thoughts are for, for directing the flow of energy.
Successful people focus on one task until they’re caught up, then move to the next.
In the meantime, whatever they aren’t focusing on is closed. No email notifications no Facebook popups and no answering calls.
6. Multitasking is not possible
For years I’ve been telling anyone who’ll listen that multi-tasking is nonsense.
I have never been good at it and now I know why.
Neuroscientific research shows that multitasking, i.e. trying to do two concentrated things at the same time, simply can’t be done, because our brain doesn’t work that way.
Don’t believe me?
Try doing two concentrated activities at once, like walking and texting at the same time, you quickly notice how your walking slows down or you stop completely in order to concentrate properly on your texting.
Multitasking tires our brain because it forces it to switch back and forth very quickly from one task to another.
And you pay a mental price each time you interrupt one task and jump to another. In psychology terms, this mental price is called the switching cost.
Switching cost makes your work less effective because you end up making more mistakes and you take more time to complete a task.
Multitasking has also severe consequences on your mental and physical well-being.
7. The power of Yes and No
‘Yes’ and ‘No’ are powerful words.
You can’t use one without using the other.
Every time you say ‘No’ to one thing, you’re saying ‘Yes’ to another.
So be very selective in what you agree to do.
Part of declining to do things is focusing on your goals, which are already pre-set in your weekly schedule 😉
Once you know exactly what you have time to do, turning down things that don’t fit into your priorities gets easier.
Over to you …
Are you ready to say no to being busy and say yes to being committed to your craft?
What do you want to master?