Monday, 15 August 2016 10:06

How To Find Time To Get Things Done

finding time to get things done

How many times have we said, "If I can find the time to do that..." Or "I wish I had the time..."?

Finding times to get things done that we need to do in order to progress can be difficult, especially if you have family and work obligations that seem to take all your time, but believe me, if there's one thing that you can do to become more productive, reach your goals and get what you need to do done, it's to optimize your life by finding the time.

We all have 24 hours in a day

I don't care if you're Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg, a father of four (like me), or just a single guy living off Ramen, we all have 24 hours in a day to get things done.

My weekdays, historically, has always gone something like this:

7:00AM - Wake up and get ready for work while tripping over the kids that don't seem to sleep in during the summer.
8:00AM - Get to work, grab coffee, sit down and begin working for work's sake.
12:30PM - Go to lunch after sitting through a couple pointless meetings with no takeaways or action items
1:30PM - Come back from lunch and resume shuffling papers, making calls that don't need to be made, wandering around the office looking busy
5:00PM - Wrap things up, head home after a grueling day of trying to look busy and doing nothing at the same time.
6:00PM - Make dinner if wifey hasn't and contenplate why nothing is changing in my life
9:00PM - Read the kids a bed time story, Put them to bed.
12:00AM - Crawl in bed after doing things for my wife, thinking about how I'm going to survive another day tomorrow.

While that's over simplified to say the least, you can probably tell that I get nothing done at work that's meaningful. I run around the office trying to look busy so that the bosses don't complain. During this whole time, I don't do anything to change my life around, work on goals (because in the past, I really didn't have any clear ones), and be more productive for me.

You'll also note that a lot of time is taken up after I get home, with the family. While family time is very important, and spending what little time I have with my kids is imperative, "Family Time" doesn't get you or your family anywhere. Many people make the mistake of thinking that if they spend more time with family, somehow their goals and dreams will be that much more attainable.

Time Management Isn't The Answer

Tim Ferris in the 4 Hour Workweek:

"Just a few words on time management: Forget all about it. In the strictest sense, you shouldn’t be trying to do more in each day, trying to fill every second with a work fidget of some type..." - Chapter 5, The End Of Time Management

It's not enough to just keep yourself busy.

That would be working for work's sake, or if you're at home, having family time because you feel the obligation to. The 4 Hour Workweek advocates eliminating as much of the "busyness" and unnecessary from your life as possible to make room for doing what you love.

Well, it's an inspiring chapter to read, but the reality of the situation sinks in... "I'm stuck at work from 9 to 5 no matter what. I can't work on my own stuff, and I am not in a position to negotiate leaving work either." (as Tim recommends).

The reason that most feel that Tim's ideas are unattainable in their lives is due to a couple things:

  • Tim did not have a family and kids that he had obligations (both in time and financially) to during this time in the book.
  • Tim owned a business, and was very lucky about getting time away from the office to produce results and work on his own stuff

Life at home can't seem to be optimized because your wife and children's expectations of your time will not change just because you're reading an inspiring book.

The Truth Is That Nothing Major Will Change For You Unless You Find The Time To Change It

What if you can't liberate yourself from the work place? What if you can't take time away from the family when you get home to when they go to bed?

Everyone Has 24 Hours In A Day... Everyone.

There isn't a soul on this earth that has 25 hours, nor is there anyone that has 15 hours.

Each and every day, you have 24 hours to use, whether that be used up for meaningless work, family time or playing Pokemon Go, time is the great equalizer of the poor.

 "You Have To Want Success More Than You Want Sleep." -- Eric Thomas, Motivational Speaker

Perhaps Eric Thomas said it best. For those of us where job and income loss would be catastropic for the entire family, we have to create time from parts of our daily life when nothing is expected of us

There are only a few times a day that this happens:

  • The commute to work and back
  • In the bathroom "taking care of business"
  • On Breaks and Lunch
  • Rare times when family is occupied and your participation isn't required
  • At night after everyone else is sleeping

Here's the issue. The first four times are usually short and pretty random when they occur. It will take a lot of thought and planning to utilize these times for your personal advancement.

The last one, however, is completely up to you. My kids sleep about 8 to 9 hours a night. My wife sleeps 7 to 8 hours a night.

Do you See It?

At a minimum, the body only needs two to three hours of sleep to function the next day (provided you're eating healthy and getting excersize). In my house, I have at least four hours a night to get things done that will help me reach my dreams. 

For you, you might have more or less time, but one thing is certain, and has been proven: Successful people defer sleep as much as possible in order to ensure they reach their goals.

Now, just staying up at night, working with out a goal and planning won't help. Just the act of staying up and deferring your sleep isn't going to make you successful.

It's How You Use That Time That Can Make The Difference

Finding the time to get things done is only 10% of the struggle. The other 90% is what you do with the time. 

In the next Lifestyle Design post, we'll be discussing what things you might want to do with your time in order to get the most out of it.