Can’t find the time? You’re not trying hard enough
It is with a shocking regularity that I talk to people who claim to be all about success or wealth that, when questioned about their current project, responded with “There’s not enough hours in the day”. Granted, time is your most valuable resource but there are enough hours in the day.
In fact, there are more than enough hours in the day to get everything done. I must admit that I too once believed that if there wasn’t enough time in one day to get everything done. I would have trouble sleeping because my mind was full of all the things I hadn’t done that day. This would spark a cycle of stress! I wouldn’t sleep well, so I’d be too tired to complete all my tasks as effectively as I wanted too, so my sleep would suffer further, rinse and repeat.
Similarly, I would set nigh-impossible daily goals for myself and when I failed to meet my daily goals, everything else in my life would suffer. On top of all the stress, my confidence took a nose dive. Reading about all the amazing things people were doing with their lives made me feel like a failure.
Using the techniques and mindset outlined in this article I was able to drag myself out of this rut, and not only create more success in my life, but actually be more productive than I could ever imagine.
Work your way up
As previously mentioned, my daily goals were so difficult to hit that I would often feel like a failure when I didn’t hit them. How was it that Warren Buffet could spend 80 per cent of his day reading, when I could only manage an hour? How was it that all these amazing CEOs I was reading about could get up at 4am, when I could barely get up at 8? And how on earth could Tai Lopez read a book a day, when I could only read a chapter?
The problem was that I was comparing apples and oranges. The was no way that I could do the things that these guys did, because I’m not them! These guys are masters at what they do, they’ve spent years building up their skills and abilities that allow them to live their lives in the way that they do.
My daily goals were insane! If you’re working a “regular” 9 to 5, there is no way that you’ll be able to spend 80 per cent of your day reading. Unless you’ve trained your mind to quickly absorb information, and dedicated a chunk of time to learning how to speed read, there’s no way that you’ll read a book a day. Instead what you need to do is set your overall goal outside your boundaries, and your daily goal inside what you already know how to do.
Instead of trying to read a whole book in one day, set your daily goal to read 10 pages. After a week of that, see how well you’ve managed to cope, and up your daily goal to 20 pages, and so on. In the same way Warren Buffet build his business and his work responsibilities around him spending his time learning, look at your work responsibilities and think about how they can be automated, or outsourced. Find ways to systemise each aspect of your current role, and then use the time saved to improve yourself. I guarantee that your boss will love how much time you’ve spent making the workflow process more efficient, and they’ll love the results that they get from a smarter, more informed employee.
Don’t beat yourself up when you don’t hit your targets
This is something that has taken me a long time to learn. You can’t always expect everything to go according to plan. Part of being a successful person is learning how to adapt to situations and go with the flow. Reaching for success, by its very definition, means that you’re pushing yourself to do things that part of you thinks you can’t do. It’s not an easy process, and there will be days where it feels like everything is working against you.
Something will happen at work which means that you can’t read a chapter of your book, then the train will break down which means you miss your squash game with your friend, and on top of all that; your partner forgot to buy the ingredients for dinner! This is just Life happening. There’s always tomorrow.
On the other side of the coin, reward yourself for the little victories. For example, if you manage to read four books in a month, treat yourself to a trip to the cinema or a bottle of wine that costs more than you usually spend. Create positive feedback loops in your mind for when you complete little goals, and your brain will strive for you to complete more.
Finding more time
Now, I’m sure you’re biting at the bit to hit whatever target you’ve set for yourself. Here are five techniques that I use on a day-to-day basis to maximise time and productivity:
- Listen to more audiobooks: When you’re at the gym, commuting, or making dinner, put on an audiobook. We’re so used to mindlessly listening to music or the radio, it’s like we forgot that we could learn with our ears.
- Always walk somewhere for lunch: Eating lunch at your desk may make you seem more productive, but the physical exercise of walking increases alertness and blood flow to your brain. This means that you’ll work faster and smarter, completing tasks quicker and to a higher standard.
- Do a lot of a little: Consistently spending a small amount of time working toward a goal is far more effective than infrequently spending a lot of time on something. It’s about forming a habit, and integrating your chosen project into your life. For example, when I first started Five Years to Financial Freedom, I would write 500 words an hour and then have to stop to do other things. After a year of writing for an hour each day, I can now write 1,000 words an hour.
- Choose the environment for the task: Repetitive, simple tasks should be lumped together and need to be done somewhere that you can focus on it. Creative tasks are more effectively done in busier environments, for example the background chatter of a coffee shop has been shown to improve creative thought.
- Always optimise: If there is a task that takes a lot of time and doesn’t offer much reward, there’s a better way of doing it. Spend some time figuring that out, and you’ll have a lot more time to do what you want.