Time in its actual form is the passage from one moment to the next. However, we also experience time as a mindset, a construct, an arbitrary set of boundaries. And like any mindset, we’ve created a number of myths surrounding it to keep us tethered to it. Sometimes that’s a good thing. It’s useful to show up on time for something like your own wedding or for a gig you’ve booked where people are paying you to perform.
At the same time, we’ve gotten really good at warping our perspective of time – sometimes time owns us and molds us instead of the other way around. I’ve come up with four important, but untrue, myths we propagate over and over again. Myths that don’t serve your or your goals very well. Today I’ll talk about the one I hear most and how you can change your mindset about it.
Myth #1: I don’t have time for my dreams.
It is absolutely true that most of us are overbooked, over-scheduled and sleep deprived. And then you want to add in the work it takes to achieve a goal? When it seems like you’re trying to cram one more thing, it feels like things are about to burst. And they are. Luckily, though most of the time it isn’t a matter of needing more time but rather, viewing the time you have differently.
Can you commit 15 minutes a day toward your goal? I know it doesn’t seem like a huge amount of time to accomplish something, but 15 minutes a day gives you 1.75 hours of work in a week. Do that for 4 weeks and you’ve put 7 hours of work into something. Bump that up to 30 minutes a day and you’ve spent 3.5 hours in a week- 14 hours in a month – 168 hours in a year working towards a goal. Think 168 hours working at something is a game changer? Absolutely.
About two years ago, I took a hard look at the quantity and quality of the television shows I watched. When I broke it down there were only about four shows (two half hour shows and two hour-long) that I truly, completely enjoyed. Everything else was just emotional junk food. So, I got rid of all but those four. Amazingly, after a few months, even those shows didn’t hold nearly as much appeal either. I still catch them when I can, but the time I cleared up (and the emotional headspace) was astounding. Which isn’t to say that now and again I don’t drop on my couch for a marathon, but it’s not a weekly occurrence and now I have time for so many other things.
Try this: Keep a time journal. I will freely admit, this is a bit of a hassle to do. However, if you really and truly believe you have no time in your day, this will help you find those places where you can embrace those dreams and move forward. The key here is to be brutally honest with yourself about how you spend your time for three days. Google a 15 minute-increment calendar and print off three copies. Then religiously keep track of what you are doing during your waking hours. You may need to set a timer to go off every fifteen minutes to remind you to check in with yourself. After three days, if they haven’t already become apparent, take a hard look at your calendars for reoccurring patterns. You may be shocked at just how much time you spend watching television, checking email, visiting Facebook or detailing your car. Now I am not going to tell you to give up any activity entirely- but really, do you need to take a q-tip to the dashboard of your car once a week?
I can say to you with absolute certainty, you do have time for your dreams. Prioritize it on your to-do list and look for the opportunities where you have the time instead of looking at all the places you don’t have the time and you will make it happen.