Occasionally I’ll get an email when someone unsubscribes from my email list. This is normal and I usually read the email because the unsubscriber is able to write a note on why they unsubscribed, which is useful for me to improve the way I manage my email list.
However, the most recent unsubscriber noted that the reason they unsubscribed was this:
I find this very interesting. Usually, people unsubscribe because they like having a clean email inbox. This person, however, claims that it’s because they ‘don’t have enough time’. This ‘not enough time’ fallacy is so common and it’s a huge reason people never make progress.
Why? I think, deep down, they are just not ready to change themselves yet. They are so caught up in the life they’ve created through their decisions and habits that they think they don’t have enough time. The truth is, everyone has the same 24 hours. BUT, those who commit to something make it a priority, so they MAKE time.
Although that person probably won’t read this, here’s 5 reasons why people probably have more time to invest in themselves than they think.
You may not be quite sure where you’re going or what you want to do with your life. It’s not that you don’t value your time, it’s just that you haven’t found something that is valuable enough to invest your time in. So you continue what you’ve always done, which may be prioritizing the wrong things.
You see, most people don’t see time as an asset. In fact, most people either want it to speed up, or to slow down, depending on variables such as their age, career, etc. Say they are in school and can’t wait to grow up and be independent – they’ll probably wish time would just speed up. Or say they are growing old, they may want time to slow down.
Those who view time as an asset accept it for what it is. They accept that it will continue to pass no matter what, so they utilize it to the best of their ability. How can you act upon this? Figure out what you really enjoy doing, and what is valuable to you.
Say you have fallen in love with someone, and you want to develop a meaningful relationship with them. Automatically, you would drop anything for them. They’re probably going to be your number one priority. Find the one thing that has the same impact on you. For me, it’s my goals. I have an extremely long term goal and because of it, I’m prioritizing the bulk of my time to achieving it. I don’t value other things as much therefore I don’t think twice about filling my time with other things.
You’ve got to know where your priorities lie, and stay true to them. It’s as simple as that. You’ll never feel strapped for time if you get that down.
Your info diet is all over the place
As I mentioned above, I don’t think twice about filling my time with non-priority things. Well, having the wrong info diet can be so seductive that you don’t even realize you’re wasting your time on it.
Let’s run through a classic example of an unproductive day at work. You’re not really in a productive mood because you don’t really care about what you’re working on. So you get distracted very easily. You gossip with colleagues, check your phone every 10 minutes, watch some YouTube videos, take an extra long lunch break, etc.
At the end of the day you wonder where those 8-10 hours went. You probably feel stressed because you’re behind on your deadlines. In reality, about 3-4 of those hours were productive hours. You feel busy, but in reality you’re busy doing all the wrong things. In this case, you prioritized your information diet over your work. And it’s an unhealthy one. We live in an age where information is everywhere – and that information can either work for you, or work against you. For most people it’s working against them.
What I suggest is to have an information declutter. Clear out any info you consume on a day to day basis, to the point where you can’t just pull out your phone and be drawn in by your Facebook or Instagram feed. I wrote an answer on Quora about how I did this, check it out here.
You don’t get up early enough
It’s no secret that highly effective people wake up early. In theory, waking up early may not give you more hours in the day as you have to go to bed early to get enough sleep, however, you are far more likely to be productive by getting up early than going to bed late.
Our willpower is like a muscle. If we wake up energetic and excited for the day, we’re going to have hours upon hours of productive time throughout the day, and our willpower is going to last. If we wake up tired (from under-sleeping, or oversleeping) and stressed because we’re strapped for time, we’re not only going to be unproductive because we wake up with the wrong attitude, but our willpower is going to go down the drain.
Even if you get up just one hour earlier every day, you could spend it on something meaningful. You could work out, make a healthy breakfast, read, meditate, catch some early work on your business or side hustle or practice a skill. Whatever it is, it’s going to add up over time. Over the course of a year, you could have read dozens of books, master or make huge progress in a skill, write a book, build a fit and healthy body, start and build a business, earn some extra money on the side, etc. etc.
If you’re hitting the snooze button in the morning, you don’t have the right to say you don’t have enough time.
You don’t track your time
I wrote a blog post on this, but I’m going to summarize it here. Tracking how you spend every moment of your day is going to give you a clear idea of where you’re wasting time. It’s so easy to glide through the day without being conscious of what the hell you’re even doing.
My advice is, track your time for a month to two months, and go back after and analyze how much time you spend on each activity. You could find some pretty interesting stuff. Maybe you’ve been spending hours every week cooking when you could just make food in bulk once or twice a week. Maybe you’re taking 30 minutes to have a bath in the morning when you could have a 2 minute shower.
Whatever it is, I guarantee there are areas you waste time in without even realizing it. It starts with being conscious of it, then amending it. After that, you’ll have hours more time per week to spend on things you care about.
You have a negative attitude towards time
People LOVE complaining. I think it’s a way of shifting the blame of their failures towards something else. A common complaint about time is the obvious ‘I’m too busy’. Look, if Mark Zuckerberg can run Facebook and work on curing all disease by the end of the century, you have enough f*cking time.
I call people out on this when I can. One example is someone who tells me he’s so busy with college work that he can’t do this and that. Then whenever I ring him before 12pm he’s asleep. You know who you are!
Stop looking at time as something that works against you, and look at how you can capitalize on it, with all the reasons I just gave you. Find your passion, find your extra hours and then spend them the right way. Go!