Tired? Feeling you have little to no energy to do what you would like to do? Before you answer, “I don’t have time”, ask yourself this question.
What are you choosing to spend time on instead?
You are always spending your time on something, and it’s your choice on what that something is. Your busyness, often comes down to inefficient time use of lack of clarity about your priorities and your actual schedule.
- You want to start working out but decide instead to watch the latest episode of your favorite T.V program.
- You want to build an effective sales team that delivers results, but claim you have no time to spend coaching them.
Instead of believing you don’t have time, think of it in terms of what are your priorities. Then, if it really is that important, find a way to make some time.
Time is a choice and how you use it is really up to you.
Where do you start? By knowing first what you want to accomplish and then which actions applied consistently will get you there.
In your career, take a few moments to project towards the end of the year. Jot down 2-3 successes you would like to achieve. Imagine you are being given an award for outstanding achievement in an area. What award do you want to achieve?
Now, what are your biggest obstacles to achieving these accomplishments?
What steps or actions can you take today that will not only help you overcome these obstacles but help you achieve that award at the end of the year?
These are your priorities. Don’t trade time invested in doing these actions with time in doing actions that do not support your BIG goals.
Think back to the sales leader example. If one of your goals is that your division hits their sales quota, you need to make time to coach your teams. You no longer can think that you are too busy as a leader to have those important developmental conversations.
Keep your priorities in mind throughout the year. Write them down and make them visible.
Laura Vanderkam, bestselling author of, “What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast”, gave a great Ted talk on how to gain control of your free time. In it, she gives an important analogy of how time is a choice.
Here is a small excerpt of the talk:
“I recently did a time diary project looking at 1,001 days in the lives of extremely busy women. They had demanding jobs, sometimes their own businesses, kids to care for, maybe parents to care for, community commitments — busy, busy people. I had them keep track of their time for a week so I could add up how much they worked and slept, and I interviewed them about their strategies, for my book.
One of the women whose time log I studied goes out on a Wednesday night for something. She comes home to find that her water heater has broken, and there is now water all over her basement. If you’ve ever had anything like this happen to you, you know it is a hugely damaging, frightening, sopping mess. So she’s dealing with the immediate aftermath that night, next day she’s got plumbers coming in, day after that, professional cleaning crew dealing with the ruined carpet. All this is being recorded on her time log. Winds up taking seven hours of her week. Seven hours. That’s like finding an extra hour in the day.
But I’m sure if you had asked her at the start of the week, “Could you find seven hours to train for a triathlon?” “Could you find seven hours to mentor seven worthy people?” I’m sure she would’ve said what most of us would’ve said, which is, “No — can’t you see how busy I am?” Yet when she had to find seven hours because there is water all over her basement, she found seven hours. And what this shows us is that time is highly elastic. We cannot make more time, but time will stretch to accommodate what we choose to put into it.
And so the key to time management is treating our priorities as the equivalent of that broken water heater. “
To hear the rest of Laura’s Ted talk, watch the video below.