Everyone hates to admit it, but you know it’s true. Time is our most essential asset if used efficiently. We all have 24 hours in our schedule. Thus, whatever one may say, we are equal. This is how we use our time which makes all the difference.
Isn’t it fascinating how some people can maximize their productivity levels while others can’t? I’ve always wondered how someone like Elon Musk runs his business, stays sane and functional, and lives a fulfilling life. Then I thought: It’s not like he has time for everything; It’s that he took time out for the things that matter most to him.
The myth is, many people believe they don’t have time to start a side hustle, learn a new skill or language, or read a book. It is easy to fall into this trap. Think about it, you may have said no to either of them before. I have. I do it all the time knowing it’s false. The trick to conquering the “I don’t have time” myth is to be aware of it.
Here are 4 ways to stay on top of your game, catch excuses in your mind, destroy them, and be extra productive.
1. Set 3 Big Goals for the Month
I hate planning. It dominates me. Most of the advice is that you should sketch out your month, week or day in advance. That you should make a detailed plan. It sounds like a chore if you ask me. Being able to manage time well and increase productivity shouldn’t take much work, right?
The best way to go about this is to set 3 big goals at the beginning of each month. When you have a list of 15 goals, just looking at them will crush your campaign. As a result, it will lead to passivity and a decrease in motivation. However, when you write down 3 goals on a piece of paper or a Google document, it’s light, doable, and manageable, and nothing is more empowering than having a do-it-yourself attitude when looking at a list of goals.
2. Eat the Biggest Frog of the Day
It’s in the book “Eat That Frog” by Brian Tracy. In this he refers to the big targets as frogs. When you wake up, you need to identify your hardest, most important task for the day, and get it done first thing in the morning.
Eating a large frog is essential, preferably a task that demands energy and focus. For me, it’s writing a long piece, article or email. When I get out of bed I go straight to my Mac because I know I need to be one step ahead of my day before it drives me away. To work efficiently and get meaningful results you need to set aside an hour or two that is free from distractions.
Again, the more goals you have, the harder it will be to manage time and be more productive. Do it every day and every small step will add up to big achievements.
“Time is a made up thing. To say I don’t have time is to say I don’t want to.” – Lao Tzu
3. Prioritize and Protect Your Time
Like money, it’s important to see where your time goes. This is your first step towards effective time management. Choose an appropriate time to do your most important tasks and keep that time safe from your life. By this I mean never say yes to unexpected actions. Life can easily take away from you.
Also, most people underestimate time. They don’t know whether you are busy or empty, and they will always ask you to hang out and have fun. Use that lack of knowledge to your advantage. It’s better to appear unavailable or active even when you’re not. It makes it easier to say no to things that don’t add anything of value to your life. You have more control over how you want to protect and spend your time.
The worst thing that can happen is when time is controlling you. This is why a person says “I don’t have time”. It simply means that they are trapped in their own delusions, and sadly they have convinced themselves that they cannot change their situation. As a result, they lose hope and live the rest of their lives thinking that there is no solution to their problems due to “lack of time”.
In short, be more aware of how you spend your time, and invest it in important habits that will move the needle, helping you grow personally and professionally.
4. Hell yes or no
The concept is based on a book of the same title: “Hell yes or no: what is worth doing” by Derek Sievers.
When you are asked to do something, the answer should always be yes or no. If you’re not feeling excited about going after a goal, question that decision. Hell nothing should happen between yes and no.
Therefore, we have to be picky about where our time goes. Before taking on new projects, I think long and hard about how much time I’ll need to invest. I ask myself this question:
- What am I going to get out of it once this is done?
- Will it really be worth my time?
- How much time do I need to invest every day and week?
For example, I’ve always wanted to learn how to code. Although it’s boring – an obvious red flag – I knew it was a must for my writing business. Given that I’m not a technical person, I find the coding to be ridiculously time-consuming and unbearable. It will take weeks, if not more, for me to get decent at this, so it won’t be worth my time. Instead, I can use that time to do other exciting things for myself.