Time is a created thing. To say 'I don't have time,' is like saying, 'I don't want to'.
Lao Tzu, Ancient Chinese philosopher and writer
One of the services I provide, in my professional capacity, is a workshop entitled “Unlock Your Potential”. During the course of one of the sessions, participants are asked to set themselves a goal and to consider how they might achieve it. They are also asked to think of any obstacles they may encounter in the pursuit of that goal and what they might do to overcome them. One of the most common answers to this question is that they might not have the time required to complete their goal or, in fact, even get started. As with all things, if we truly want to accomplish something, we have to find ways to face the challenges they may incur and solutions for overcoming them.
When thinking about this blog, I remembered a quote I had seen some time ago that gave me pause for thought. It was written by H. Jackson Brown Jr., an American author, best known for his inspirational book, Life's Little Instruction Book and its sequel Life's Little Instruction Book: Volume 2 both of which made it to the New York Times best seller list. It reads: “Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein”.
On theEntrepreneur website, software engineer, author, blogger and founder of WanderlustWorker.com, R.L. Adams wrote an article entitled 15 Time Management Tips for Achieving Your Goals. I have selected 5 of them to share with you here:
Schedule email response times.
Turn off your email throughout the day. When your email is pouring in, it's easy to get distracted. Schedule time to read and respond to emails. If there's something urgent, someone will call or text you. But when you have your email open, those distractions interrupt your thought flow and it's harder to get back on track.
Eliminate bad habits.
One of the biggest time-wasters we have are our bad habits. Whether it's Netflix binge-watching, excessively surfing social media, playing games, going out frequently to drink with friends, or so on, those bad habits take away the precious little time that we do have. Use your time wisely by eliminating your bad habits if you're serious about achieving big goals in life.
Take frequent breaks when working.
One study suggests that you should work for 52 minutes and break for 17. You might not have the luxury to do that. But you should take frequent breaks. If you're an entrepreneur working for yourself, this is crucial. It's easy to run on fumes and not even know it. Keep your mental, emotional and physical states at peak levels by breaking frequently.
Make to-do lists in the evening for the next day.
Every single evening before bed, make a list for the next day. Look at your goals and see what you can do to help move you closer. This doesn't happen overnight. It takes time. But by making to-do lists, you're effectively setting goals for the day. Daily goals are easier to achieve while helping to move us towards the longer and bigger goals. But that happens by creating to-do lists.
Turn off social media app alerts.
Incessant social media app alerts aren't helping you with your time. It's definitely hurting you. Turn them off. You don't need alerts every moment or to know everything happening with your friends. It's not important. What's most important is to have some peace of mind and be better able to focus on the task at hand.
Adams also addresses the issue of finding balance between your professional and personal lives:
“One of the biggest problems that most entrepreneurs have isn't just in how they can get enough done in such a demanding market, but also how they maintain some semblance of balance without feeling too overworked. This isn't just about achieving and going after goals around the clock. This is also about quality of life.
Balance is key. If you lack balance in your life, you're going to feel stressed out. Even if you're able to effectively juggle your responsibilities, without proper balance you're going to eventually reach your breaking point. So, it's important to not only follow a system that will help you get things done, but also one where you prioritize personal and family time.
Don't forget to do things like take a walk in the park or just sit and listen to your favorite music with headphones on, or paint a picture, go on a date night and so on. That's more important than you can think. And when you do that, you achieve some semblance of balance. Life is short. So don't ignore those things while you reach for your bigger goals”.
As inferred in the quote by H. Jackson Brown Jr, Adams, also, is of the opinion that :
“No matter who you are, your age, income, gender, race or religion, you have the same amount of time as the next person.”
If you find a way to manage your time effectively, there will be all the hours you need to achieve your goal. Don’t let the idea that you won’t have enough time prevent you from taking the first step. If time becomes an issue, find strategies to help you make time or manage, more efficiently, the time you have.
It would be a great pity to abandon a dream because you see time as a constraint. Many people have achieved great things without having any more hours in their day than you or I. Don’t be afraid to seek support in managing day-to-day responsibilities. If you share your goals, you will usually find people who are willing and able to help you achieve them.
About the Author
Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNN, BBC, CBC, The Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.
In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com and see what he can do for you in the long run.