Time isn’t your enemy, but your perception of it may be

Time isn’t your enemy, but your perception of it may be
July 25, 2017

“Those who make the worst use of their time are the first to complain of its brevity.”Jean De La Bruyere

They’re all around you: The former teammate from another division shows up to a 3 p.m. meeting fit, looking great and energized; the colleague who attended that 401K investment talk who rejiggered their portfolio to great results; the boss who, despite seeming to have a heavier workload than anybody on the floor, reads a book or two about team performance strategies per week. You want to look and feel better. You want an investment portfolio worth bragging about. Heck, you just want some time to read a book!

These are often the moments when you decide that it’s time to make some time for yourself and that you’re going to improve something in your life. You’ve been considering it for months, but more importantly, you deserve it!

Then something happens. Maybe something else demands your attention or you simply begin to doubt your choice. Just like that, your resolve starts to dissipate like the sand in an hourglass. Time becomes the enemy as it slips away. There are so many reasons to leave things the way they are, and what happens if your plans for change blow up in your face? Do you have time to make a mistake? Despite knowing the change you want is a good idea, you’re able to get at least 51% of you to remain paralyzed with inaction. It’s just easier that way, you faux-rationalize.

If any of this rings a bell, you are normal. Changing any aspect of your life can be challenging, especially when the change threatens deep-rooted habits, relationships and emotions. The “status quo” doesn’t like to be jostled about. It’s just so much easier to say, “I don’t have the time!”

How do these highly successful people – who you know have the same overworked spouses, dirty dishes and children’s college to pay for – manage to overcome this inaction? How do they do it while maintaining their sanity? And can “normal” folks like us learn the time management skills to thrive despite our imperfections?

You have more time than you let yourself believe

“Lack of time” is the #1 excuse for abandoning our dreams and settling for a less-than-thriving existence. The perception of lack of time takes the blame for most human failure.

Gay Hendricks, author of Take the Big Leap has been coaching people towards achieving extraordinary levels of abundance for more than 40 years, and in the process, he’s encountered plenty of time-perceived excuses:

“I don’t have time right now”
“It’s not the right time”
“I’d love to do _________ but… there is no time”
“If only there were more hours in the day, I would…________”

For me, continuously unwrapping the package that holds my own excuses is the first step toward getting myself back on track.

Underneath a perceived lack of time lays one simple truth: We can control what we do with the time we have. Regardless of the circumstances, we control the time we have. I can control what I do with my time. Yet, most of us continuously give this power to others.

My client Les, an amazing leader in her field, will often complain (on the brink of a nervous breakdown) when a project takes a lot longer than anticipated. The time crunch interferes with all of her other goals, leaving her uninspired, defeated and frustrated.

Studies have shown 80% of the time, folks like Les will admit to not having a clear idea of the time investment when they took on the project. It’s not that she doesn’t have enough time. It’s that her enthusiasm clouds her judgement of how much time projects will take.

Time perceived obstacles are, for the most part, logistical in nature.

Take stock of the situation

Ask yourself this: What kind of person would I have to become to eliminate my time related excuses and achieve success? What things must I be doing to ensure my success?
If little comes to mind, then think about a person you admire who seems to have their stuff together; a person that rarely complains about lack of time and for whom success comes easy. What skills or personality traits does this person have? What is this person doing or most importantly NOT doing?

Write down your answers. Do this for seven days in a row. No excuses since it will take you less than 5 minutes.

Every time you write these traits down tell yourself this: “I – RIGHT NOW – decide to do these things and to be this kind of person.”

As your attention begins to shift from your time constraints and limitations to the opportunity you have to become your best self, you’re likely to encounter a rush of energy and purpose-centered determination you hadn’t previously tapped, but suspected was in there somewhere.



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