The Problem is not Insufficient Time

It is not unusual if you struggle to find time for the things that are importañt to you. The problem is not insufficient time. The problem is creating time.

Not as in increasing the amount of time. Rather it is the setting aside of time to to do that which is worthwhile.

If you don’t set aside time, sunrise will become sunset, sunset will give way to sunrise, and months later you are yet to make real progress with your important goals.

Tick, tick says the clock
What you have to do, do quick.

Nothing just happens. You must create the time. Some out there who are getting things done – solving problems and achieving their dreams, are everyday people. They have 24 hours in a day, just like you and me.

Here are 10 quotes to inspire you to set aside time, out of your daily ‘inadequate’ 24 hours to get things done.

“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.”

— Harvey MacKay

What’s the thing you don ‘t own but can lose, irrecoverably. Time. I absolutely agree with Harvey Mackay, a successful businessman and multiple-times bestselling author. With time, it is a case of use as you go. You can’t store it or hoard it. Use it before it ticks away, never to be recovered.

“Time = life; therefore, waste your time and waste your life, or master your time and master your life.”

— Alan Lakein

Yes, the quality of your life is determined by how well you employ your time.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that Alan Lakein is known for what is now known as the Lakein’s question, ‘What is the best use of my time right now?
This adds to my short list of favourite questions to ask.

“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.”

— Zig Ziglar

Now that you know the problem, it is half solved. Go get direction for your life.

“Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time’, is to say, ‘I don’t want to.”

— Lao Tzu

I can’t agree more. You always have time for that which you really want to do.

“The future is really busy. That time you think you are going to have…well, it will only exist if you create it.”

— John Meese

How is time created? Set priorities, and execute in order of importance. You will find you have time for your important things.

“’Someday’ is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you.”

— Tim Ferriss

So right. Like a mirage, ‘someday’ seems to be just there, then it is not. It keeps teasing until you are out of time.

“Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week.”

— Spanish Proverb

That is why ‘now’ is the right time to get things done. Whatever you have been putting off, get on with it. Act now!

“Whether it’s the best of times or the worst of times, it’s the only time we’ve got.”

— Art Buchwald

Even the worst of times can be redeemed. History is full of examples of people who turned the worst of times into their finest hour – Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, William Wilberforce, Winston Churchill etc.

“’We must use time as a tool, not as a couch.”

— John F. Kennedy

With the former you get things done – that’s what tools are for; they help get work done. For the latter, the best you get is needless rest – rest isn’t needed for doing nothing.

“’The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.”

— Michael Altshuler

Let the fact that time flies be a motivation for you to make the most of ‘now’. As you fly time, ensure that at touchdown you are a better you

All I am trying to say is time is yours, only to use. If you don’t it will tick away.

Which of the quotes did you find most inspiring? Add any inspiring ‘Time’ quote you know, in the comments.

Image courtesy Phillip Flores on Unsplash

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3 Steps to Create Time to Get Things Done

To do anything worthwhile, the chief struggle people face is insufficient time. That’s not true. Actually the chief struggle is creating time. Not as in increasing the amount of time, rather it is the setting aside of time to to do that which is worthwhile.

The year is almost spent. It is likely that you are not on track to achieving most of what you set out to on January 1. Sunrise became sunset, sunset became sunrise, and eleven months later you are no farther from where you took off. It is not that you are clueless about how to get things done. The struggle really is more about creating or setting out time to get things done.

I have learnt, the hard way, that I must create time for anything I deem worthwhile. Nothing just happens. You must create the time. Some out there are getting things done – solving problems and achieving their dreams. They are everyday people. They have 24 hours a day, just like you and me.

Nothing just happens. You must create the time.

How To Create Time

To create time,

  • Set priorities. All the things that demand your time cannot be equally important. Identify the high value and low value activities. Without identified priorities there is no clarity on what is most important. What will you allot time to and maintain focus on?
  • Allot time. Keith Webb said, “What gets scheduled gets done.” I agree. If it is important carve out time for it. And if for any reason I don’t get an important task done, I set aside more time to keep at it till it gets done. When priorities are identified but aren’t scheduled achievement will hard and elusive.
  • Focus. Stick to the one thing (or few things) that are top priority, or critical to the achievement of your goals. Things get done when you follow through. It is impossible to focus on or stick to unclear and unscheduled priorities.

These steps form a three-stage relay – set priorities, allot time and focus. One leads to the other in that order.

Let’s say want to set priorities for your evening, the time after dinner before you retire for the day. During this time you could watch TV, listen to music, be on social media, read a book. To create time for a high value activity that relates to personal development, you could:

  • Set a priority by choosing to read a book, and decide on the book before the reading time.
  • Allot 45 minutes for this, to start reading at 8:00PM
  • Follow through by picking and reading the book.

Setting and sticking to priorities takes discipline, but gradually the habit will be formed.

Brian Tracy in his book, No Excuses, captured it well when he wrote, “The essence of time management is for you to discipline yourself to set clear priorities—and then stick to those priorities.”

Remember, nothing just happens. You must create the time.

How do you create time for the things that are important to you? Please share in the comments.

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How To (Not) Show Up

Life is made up of commitments. Our schedules are marked with them, our days are filled with them. Every person, every day shows up for them. Every day you show up for something, whether it is self imposed or thrusted on you.

The importance of showing up is evident in this Woody Allen statement, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” I cannot tell the exact extent to which showing up determines success, but I know that success is impossible without showing up.

There is more to Allen’s statement than meets the eye mind. A literal interpretation will only water it down, and miss the wisdom that is not immediately apparent.

Showing up is not just about being present. It is being present with intention, with a goal. A goal to add value to another or yourself. For instance, showing up for a student should be not attendance, but learning. Like an author A.D. Aliwat said, ‘Attendance means nothing, bodies are not minds.’ For a father, it isn’t just being at home, but bonding with the kids. Because, according to Tim Russert, the late American television journalist, ‘The most precious things a father can provide are time, attention, and love.’ For work, showing up isn’t just sitting through a meeting, but engaging with others meaningfully. Emily Axelrod, said, ‘No matter what role you play in a meeting, how you show up in that role is critical to the meeting’s success.’

You get rewarded for making a contribution, not for just showing up. That is why Frank Sonnenberg, one of America’s top 100 thought leaders asserts, ‘Recognize and reward people for excellence, not for just showing up.’

So you could show up, but

  • Late
  • In the wrong place
  • Shabby and sloppy
  • Unexcited (with a not-feeling-like-it mood)
  • Uninvited
  • Unfit
  • Unprepared and clueless etc

If you want a ‘how to’ for showing up foolish, the list above will work perfectly. However, there is no way showing up this way leads to success. Except in Utopia.

On the other hand, showing up:

  • Punctual
  • At the right place
  • Smart and organised
  • Motivated (even if you don’t feel like it)
  • Invited
  • Capable
  • Prepared and informed

Sets you up for success.

Whatever it is you have decided to do, keep at it. Keep showing up, in spite of circumstances and feelings. You will see will be worth it, in time. The task may be insignificant, the person involved may seem unimportant, the cause may not seem worthwhile. Still show up.

It may not come naturally, yet make a habit of showing up. More often than not, it is a struggle for me to keep showing up on this blog with a post every week. I strive to keep at it, in spite of failures, because I know it is worth the effort.

But remember, just showing up, is showing up foolish. Always show up with intention, and a goal to add value, to others and/or yourself.

You make the most of any day when you show up for your commitments, whether you feel like it or not.