Just about everybody will say: “I have no time.” I’m sure you’ve heard that. Just about everybody utters it at some point. What in the world does it mean? First of all, very successful people look at you kind of funny or at least in their minds think of you kind of funny when you keep on saying you don’t have any time. Everybody has the same amount of time.
First of all, you need to find time if you want to be successful, if you want to do something new, if you want to make changes in your life. More important: Change the expression. Don’t say: “I don’t have time.” Find another one. It sounds good, but: “I don’t have any time” is really just a great excuse. Why is it a great excuse? Everybody uses it, so it’s verified. It’s too easy and it’s not a positive outlook on your life or your future.
Before I go on, let me tell you for this episode I’m giving you a lot of summary and some details, but I will have a handout that you can get at www.LifeUnsettled.com/time. It’s a very detailed PDF that will give you a lot of suggestions you can work through and get more time in your life.
First of all, procrastination. Another thing that people don’t realize is many of the things they do that they think is accomplishing things. It’s all the little things that they do during the day, running the errands, basically busy work. Yes, it needs to be done, but it’s not the most important. It is a form of procrastination. It’s just disguised procrastination.
Some important things to keep in mind: Move on, that is don’t dwell on whatever you’re doing. Whatever you’re doing, if you can, set a timer for it. If you have an iPhone, an Android, or something, there’s a clock feature there that has a timer on it. If you think it’s going to take an hour and 50 minutes, two hours, an hour…set the time! Don’t go more than two hours on anything. Even serious, concentrated work, time it and push yourself to get it done to the best of your ability within that timeframe. You might go back and do some other work on it, summarize it, fix it up, etc. That’s almost like another task, so you’ve completed one and you’re going to do another one. You’re going to edit it or you’re going to fix it up, whatever it is.
Another is keep energy up. One of the problems with not having enough time sometimes is that your energy is not good enough, not strong enough, and that very often is that you really do have to take out and dedicate some time for regular exercise. That will keep your energy level up throughout the day. If you turn around, go to exercise or do something say at 3:30-4:00 in the afternoon, you will have that energy. You’ll get rid of the stress and you’ll have that energy into the evening.
Separate your high productive time. When are you most productive during your day? Is it in the morning? That’s what it is for me. Is it in the evening? Whenever it is possible, set that time aside and that’s when you get that harder work done. One of the things that I really concentrate well in the morning. A lot of people think that mornings are not good for them, but it may be better than they realize. One of the reasons is, in the morning you have no things that have interfered with anything yet, there’s no email that you’ve read and other things that you might’ve done that causes you to be thinking a dozen different directions. You just start out, take your shower, take your walk, whatever it is to wake up, water on the face, get your work done before you do your email or before your mind starts drifting off into other places.
On top of that, if the night before you were thinking about the topic or the project you were going to do that morning, during the night your mind continues to work, and it may solve some of your problems, help you organize it, etc. I heard about this when I was going to college, and boy, it worked.
Focus. We always talk about focus, but you have really three areas of focus. One is focus on your long-term goals, your long-term strategy, but also focus on your individual goals, that is you have things you’re going to do or you need to get done now. You need to focus on those without any distractions.
The other thing is, whether it be Sunday night or whatever, you focus on a plan. You basically develop your plan for the week, what you think you’re going to get done, what you can get done, task it into some individual days, and you’ll feel accomplished as you do it. You’ll look back on the week, maybe you won’t get it all done, but you’ll get a lot more done that way. It may be that you just either packed too much in, or you started drifting off in other directions, and procrastinating, not focusing.
Develop the attitude that everything in front of you will be just what you’re concentrating on. If you’re concentrating, you’re doing written work, or recording, or doing whatever – have a little piece of paper and a pencil off to the side. By the way, do that at night, too. Did you ever wake up in the middle of the night and something comes to mind, and you know that if you don’t think about it or don’t keep it in mind that you’re going to forget it in the morning? It keeps you awake, doesn’t it? Besides that, if you have a pencil or paper next to you, jot it down, you can go back. You know you’re not going to forget it, it’s right there on the pad. That really does make a difference. Same thing with when you’re at your desk. Little things that will pop into mind, a different project that all of a sudden you’ve got an idea for, or something you remembered you had to pick up or do – just put it on the paper and now you can forget it. Why? You don’t have to remember it. It’s there.
Turn off all interruptions you possibly can. You’re doing your concentrated work, or serious work, or anything you’re doing during that time, turn off the notifications, turn of things that you don’t need on your computer. You don’t need to get email, you don’t need to hear the “ding, ding, ding,” just keep on going and concentrating on what you are doing, and get rid of all of the distractions, including phone calls. There shouldn’t be anything so important that you don’t have the ability to put it aside for an hour or two. Even if you’re a busy executive, you have times you have meetings that you can’t be disturbed. Same thing can be the place for your meeting with yourself.
Phone calls, these end up being very important that you have to take and plan for. One of the things I do is I have software that’s on the web, ScheduleOnce is what I use. There are a bunch of others out there. Somebody wants to get together or chat with me, I can send them a link and they can sign up for a different kind of segment. It could be a 35-minute segment or it could be a 15-minute segment, and I would give them a link for the appropriate segment for what we’re going to talk about. That puts it down on my calendar, and they’ll be calling me at a time that is convenient that I can fit it in.
On top of that with the phone, you’re making calls out to somebody else. One of the major suggestions is to leave messages. I would say leave messages strategically. If you’re calling somebody that you have a fair reliability that they’ll call back, you leave a message. If it’s somebody you’re trying to catch, that old trick you’re trying to get through to an executive someplace and you know that their assistant is going to leave at 5:00 and you’re calling them at 5:15, you don’t want to leave a message, you want to get through to them. In those cases, you might just hang up. Or you’ve called the person three times and they haven’t called you back, well, you better not leave a message because you’re now becoming a pain in the butt. In the same sense of making your calls strategically, don’t let calls drag on.
These are all ideas and general ideas on how you can save some time here and there, and pigeonhole things so that they’re much more compressed and better. But there is a lot of ways that you can literally find more time in your day. Get rid of procrastination. That’s where I have the PDF that I have for you. It’s free. Just Grab my guide to making time your advantage. www.LifeUnsettled.com/time, would love to get your feedback on it. Also, if you think other things should be added to it, we can help one another.
A couple of other really big ones: to-do lists. Yes, you have your to-do lists. One of the things I do is on my iPhone, you can probably do it with Android as well, in the reminders you can actually set something up so that it keys up locationally. What this means is let’s say I’m going to the grocery store, or I’m going to Costco, or I’m going to Home Depot, I put the things I want to do and get there in that list. I set the location for the place I’m going, Home Depot, whatever. Now what happens is when I pull up I have the list. At first you might think: “Yeah, but I can just keep a list on a piece of paper.” That’s true. However, what if you’re not headed out to go to Home Depot? What if you’re someplace else, and all of a sudden you say: “Gee, I’m coming back from the dentist, I’m going to pass by Home Depot,” and your list is at home? The same thing with your grocery store. Your list is at home. Your list is never at home when it’s right there on your phone in the reminders. You set the location so that as you drive up, it pops up.
I do this for home. I’m flying someplace, I’m going someplace else, and I keep on putting: “I got to do this when I get home, I got to do this when I get home,” I put them all there. I start driving into the driveway, as I pull up into the driveway, the thing pops up and I have my list of things that need to be done now. If I had a list someplace in my luggage, whatever, I might not be able to find it. On top of that, when you’re coming home from something you’re really tired and you might not really think of your list. This is why that pop-up reminder works so well.
What happens is you’re probably reducing the number of errands you have to run around doing. Also, you’re going to a certain area or a certain place, you can have like what I do is I’m passing a certain bridge to go of one of four places, and it pops up a whole bunch of things that I have to do in three or four other stores. So I don’t have to worry about: “I’m going to this grocery store to pick up something that I know they have, or I’m going to Costco to pick up this thing.” Like today, going to get my haircut. I’m going to get my haircut, and there’s two or three other places down there that I usually need to get something. It’s a 40-minute round trip. Why waste the 40 minutes? Plus I might not get convenient parking. That’s where I find time.
There are just so many ways that you can become more efficient without really having a lot of stress. You’re not trying to allocate every minute in a schedule, not at all. As a matter of fact, in the PDF you’ll see I’ll tell you to make sure you schedule some free time and make sure you have free time, because it gives you flexibility and it reduces stress. At the same time: Make sure that you do things more efficiently. Why? Not because you’re running some sort of game or some sort of contest, but rather because your life ends up being able to get more things done. Then when somebody says: “Do you have any time?” you might just have it.
Thank you very much. Again, Grab my guide to making time your advantage. www.LifeUnsettled.com/time and let me know. Thank you.