The Myth of Having No Time & Being Too Busy

December 12, 2019
BY: Adam Kent

Aren’t you tired of hearing that we all have 24 hours a day, that you just need to be better at managing your time, or asked if you use a to-do list or calendar to be organized?

You’ve felt the struggles… No matter how much gets done, there is always more to do and you get stuck in a never-ending cycle of “busy-ness as usual”. Maybe that’s not you, maybe it’s someone you know, or maybe you laughed and sighed because that is exactly how you feel right now, continuing to search for a way to take control of your life and gain some free time again?

The Covey Center for Leadership surveyed over 400 executives, business owners, and entrepreneurs and discovered that the average business leader works a 72 hour week. In a joint poll, Gallup and Wells Fargo found that 57% of small business owners work six days a week with over 20% working all seven days.

On the personal side, there are countless studies showing that the average person in the US watches over five hours of television a day and spends around three hours on their smartphone every day as well. Generally speaking, most people complain about time but when you take an in depth look at where time actually goes, the truth might not be as easy for some to accept.

Even if you were twice as productive than that average, it’s still approximately four hours a day gone by. Another study which focused on the average workweek showed 1.8 hours lost in handling low value requests from co-workers, 1.8 hours on putting out preventable fires, 3.9 hours escaping through streaming videos or checking social media. Which means approximately 5 hours a day or as much as 200 hours every month is time not well spent. Again, if you were twice as good as the average, that’s still 100 hours a month gone! Consider if you were four times better, that’s still 25 hours.

Believe it or not, most time challenges that occur aren’t about being “too busy” or “not having enough”. It is about how we choose to spend the time we have, what we choose as a priority, or determine as important and urgent enough for our attention. After all, if you cut off your finger, had foot rot, or got bit by a poisonous snake, there is no doubt that you’d have time to go to the hospital without so much as a seconds thought…

Of course, you could argue that you don’t watch five hours of TV, or that you limit your phone usage and don’t play candy crush. You could even justify that your time is maxed out or that there is nothing you can do. Our response to any of this is quite simple; If you believe you can do absolutely nothing about it, then yes, nothing will make a difference. Alternatively, doing a brief time audit and self-analysis could surprise you.

The lesson in these averages can transform the way you use your time right now, but only if you are willing to challenge yourself. YES, there are many things we must do but there are also many things we select to do while feeling victimized by our own choices. We cannot simply complain that we don’t have time when our actions communicate the reality.

Ask yourself, If I say yes to this, what am I really saying no to?

Challenge yourself to audit where your time goes. Hold yourself accountable to what you discover and decide how you want to spend your precious moments. You can choose to get up, or hit that snooze button. Challenge yourself to maximize the time you have. You can have excuses, or you can have results, but you can’t have both. The choice is ultimately yours.

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