The most commonly used excuse for getting away with not accomplishing your goals is: "I just don't have time for it." You say it to skip that workout, to put off your homework until the deadline, or because you genuinely have other commitments.
But it's not true in the end, is it? After all, everyone gets 24 hours a day to go about their lives, and yet I'm sure you know at least one person who's always on top of their to-do list without cutting down on sleep and relaxation.
And that brings me to the topic of today's blog post.
The only difference between successful people and the average Joe is that the former know how to manage their priorities. It's not about time, in the end. It's about priority.
Saying, "I don't have time for this," just means you don't consider that goal a priority. And that's fine, because not all goals are important. Some aren't even necessary for a better life.
And then there are goals that you need to accomplish. They may be small things like doing your laundry or cleaning your room, or something big like learning a new language or quitting your job to follow your passion.
Even though you may want to get these things done, you simply aren't determined enough to make them priorities. So you go ahead and binge-watch that TV show or take a four-hour nap or sit around getting bored. And then you complain that you don't have time.
Conversely, you're so busy with that job you hate or the weekend plans you're secretly dreading or that college club you joined to boost your CV that you come home too tired to do anything but sleep.
And then you complain that you don't have time.
Well, guess what? You do. The only thing you're lacking is your priority list.
Two Ways to Prioritize
There's a great trick that I learned from Scott Adams' book: give your time to the things that energize you and avoid the things that don't. So if a two-hour 'nap' will make you even drowsier when you wake up, or if going to that crowded bar on Friday will keep you exhausted and stuck in bed all weekend (I can relate, fellow introverts), don't do it.
Instead, take a twenty-minute power nap. Go out with your friends but come back home when you're done socializing.
Just do the things that make you feel alive, because those are the things that matter. For me, that's writing, working out, singing as I make breakfast, and talking to my loved ones. So no matter how busy I get, I make time for these things. I prioritize.
Now you're probably saying, "Swati, I'd love to work out or spend time with my family, but I just can't get time off work!"
Well, if you can't get time off, then make your own time. Catch up on your reading during your morning commute. Listen to motivational podcasts as you walk. Get fit while you brush your teeth! The only obstacle between you and a completed to-do list is you.
Do It Before The World
Since I've become a morning person, I've realised that it's easier to work on personal development and your own goals before your stressful work day actually begins. In the quiet of the morning (or the middle of the night, depending on your sleep preferences), you can focus on your priorities and keep all other chores aside for the time being.
I definitely recommend a five a.m. lifestyle, because it works wonders for me, but as long as you find a good three hours when nothing is going to disrupt your routine, you can prioritize the hell out of life.
I hope this post changed the way you see your to-do list. Remember that time is an intangible concept and you can never really 'run out' of it. As long as you make intentional attempts to rearrange your schedule and recharge yourself, you can live a better life starting now.
What are your top five priorities? Do you let time run your life or do you prefer taking matters into your own hands? Got any great time-management tips for me? Drop by the comment box so we can have a chat.
I'll see you next time with another blog post to help you get the life you deserve. Bye!