“I just don’t have the time.”
Have, have the time.
Or maybe, from the last post, my favourite; “Oh, your so lucky that you have the time.”
There’s that word again, have.
From ownership we have to take action, once you have accepted that your time is to control as you see fit, we now have to take that control. The first thing to understand here is that you will very rarely “have” time for anything, if something is important you have to “make” the time for it.
We do this constantly, we are constantly making or finding time for the things that we need to do. When was the last time you wet yourself because you couldn’t leave your desk?
You don’t, you go to the toilet.
No matter how busy you are, when you need to use the toilet you get up and you go, you make time for it, you make space in your schedule to go to the toilet. We do this with other basic needs as well.
You might skip lunch, but eventually you have to make time to eat, eventually you have to take a break from whatever your doing to ingest food. You’re making time.
One approach to changing your approach to time is to think of it as space (the two are linked by the General Theory of Relativity). When Christmas Time comes around, and it’s time to put up the tree in your house, you make the space for it. You shuffle your furniture around to create a space large enough to fit the too-big tree you bought in.
Think of your personal goals as that too-big Christmas Tree; if you want to fit them into your life then you need to create the space for them, you need to make the time for them.
So, given that you can’t slow down the rotation of the planet, how do you make time?
As with the previous post, the first thing to do is to decide that’s what you’re going to do, take ownership of [Your Time], and decide what it is that you want to make time for, and where you want to make the time.
It is likely that something will need to move to make space for your new activity, and there’s a number of ways that you can achieve this.
The first thing is to start prioritising your time, getting rid of “Non-Value Added” activities that don’t add anything to your day; I should stress that I’m not talking about getting rid of relaxing in front of the TV, it’s more about declining that recurring meeting that you go to every week and sit through refreshing your Instagram feed for an hour.
The idea of removing this kind of activity is a key Lean Principle, something that we will cover in a future post. It is also a core element of Essentialism, another subject for the future.
Another core element of Essentialism that can help here is learning to say “No”, this came up last time and will be the subject of the next post.
Going back to Lean Principles, one of the others is the principle of “Right First Time”; it is amazing how much time we waste in our days on re-work; going back over old ground and re-doing things that we should have done right the first time, or that we should have taken the time to automate the first time through (more Essentialism).
The first time you do something, it is almost always worth your time figuring out how to do it in a repeatable way. That way, when you get asked to do it again, you’ll be able to do it much quicker, time spent up front is an investment in time saved in the future.
You could also use automation to make space, services such as Amazon Subscribe and Save can help you automate something as mundane as your weekly shop; you can also use specialised subscription services like Cornerstone or Blacksocks to automate other personal tasks.
Online services like If This Then That (IFTT) can automate huge swathes of your online life.
What’s important here is that this is a self fulfilling, positive spiral; the more time you spend setting these things up at the start, the more time you will save down the line, and that saving will increase exponentially every time you don’t have to perform that automated task.
Remember; your time is in your control, make of it what you will.