What to do when short on time
Today’s article could have been easily titled “Slow down, Man!” Our recent survey showed how lack of time becomes a major force for failing to reach a given objective. We are no exception and today’s focus will be on how to deal with this.
There is some irony in our story
We have scheduled this topic for a podcast around mid-December. But we would have never guessed that it would be during that very period when we would suffer a bout of “I have no time whatsoever!”
We will tell you how it all unfolded but there is something else we want to point out first:
It can go in two different ways
These are the main reasons for not having time which also objectively shape our perception of it:
- You waste time;
- It’s something that you really need a lot more of.
Let’s look at these two:
# 1 Wasteful behavior
That’s what we fall for in most of the cases – we spend time on things we shouldn’t have.
The bad habits, such as too much TV or the Internet, were discussed at length before as being extremely harmful to our focus. And nowadays, this is still quite a relevant concern.
At the same time, the non-stop distraction by all sorts of apps notifications has become something that seriously degrades our productivity.
The good news is that reaching a goal is a skill like any other and therefore can be learned. There is a lot that can be done in that respect.
But that’s just one problem. If you have somehow managed to avoid it then you may still run into this second “trap”:
# 2 Being completely out of time
Everybody knows what it’s like when you feel as if 24 hours a day is simply not enough for everything you have to do.
This is usually a result of you setting up too many domino steps. And that will lead to a massive work overload – exactly our story this past December.
Losing it during the Christmas
It just happened so that at the time we were in the middle of several big projects. The publication of our first book was coming, we had several big promotional events to take care of, plus a workshop was to be held at the beginning of January.
This is the place to point out that we don’t want to simply talk about solutions and dispense with advice. Instead, we’d rather tell you our story and the struggles we had. This is much more interesting, and why not an inspiring example to follow.
The long story short
One of our oldest dreams, and part of the vision for “GoalBuddy”, was to write a book about goal-setting. We have been working hard on this for almost a year, and finally, the release date was already in sight.
We could have either gone with a publisher or we could have done it all by ourselves. Eventually, we decided on the latter, which turned out to be much harder.
You might be wondering why we would make such a choice given that a publishing house makes the whole process much easier. Well, there is some degree of a misconception here.
Only if it were that simple – I write the book and then they get it published.
There is something like two dozens new titles that come out every day. And the responsibility for promoting a book rests solely on the shoulders of the author.
So, we decided to take matters into our own hands… But, to put it mildly, we were overtaken by all types of tasks including some highly unusual and unfamiliar to us operational ones. We were drowning in a whirlpool of issues to take care of. It was the first time we seriously considered failure and doubted if we can get it done well and on time.
The inevitable dash towards the finish line
We have pointed out before that one of the reasons our system works so well is because of its long-term capacity. The basic idea is that even if we fail in a given quarter it won’t affect much our 30-year vision. This is best done when executed with a medium and steady pace instead of a sprint.
But not this time around! The release deadline was looming on us. It was crucial to get the book out in time so that people have the opportunity to buy it and start the year 2020 trying a new and better approach towards goal-setting.
We thought we were in a good place and doing quite well in regard to setting and reaching our objectives. But exactly then we found ourselves in trouble. It looked like things were about to go south.
That’s the moment we realized that working within the system – in its pure form, not adjusted according to the pressing situation – can get us across the finish line.
The chronic lack of time, or “shock and awe” all the time
And if you think about it, those who forgo any goal-setting system or method will soon find themselves in a constant bind for time. Things will be always in the precarious state of being in danger going south at any moment.
The worst is that the stress from being overworked will reinforce the impression that this is one humanly impossible endeavor and therefore it is better to just give up.
That’s exactly the case with a childhood friend of Ivan. Each time they get in touch this person is on the verge of breaking down, “Oh, man, too much to do and so little time!”
There should be a way out of this bad situation, right?
The answer, of course, is to have a good and proven system on your side!
Benefit # 1: The ordeal of “shock and awe” is not without an end
“GoalBuddy” is structured in such a way that we can pursue our higher aspirations in a systematic way one step forward after another. Every 3 months you get to choose new quarterly goals. You might get a bit too busy during that period but you will always know it has an end date to it.
And this is very important:
We had the peace of mind throughout December because we knew that we will be able in the end to review, analyze and finally draw the right conclusions.
This kind of perspective on things allows us to view the ordeal as an opportunity to learn, to get better and wiser.
Benefit # 2: You will have the chance to appreciate success
We have to admit that at first, the whole experience left us with a somewhat bitter taste. There was this feeling of being left at the mercy of circumstances and chance.
We were so spent physically and emotionally that we couldn’t even fully enjoy the fact that we made it and the book successfully hit the shelves.
Eventually, we were reminded that the 90-day goals review will give us a new and much more realistic picture of what happened.
At the end of the quarter, we would take a break to look back at the road we traveled. We need to assess what we have achieved so far and be thankful and ultimately be able to appreciate it!
You should try The Confidence Expander exercise and see for yourself how helpful it is to be aware of how much you have done. It will be a boost to your confidence and will allow you take on bigger and more challenging objectives.
Benefit # 3: The vision as your North Star
Obviously, it is much easier to say “No” to anything that might put extra stress on you when you are already too busy.
But what matters much more is your long-term understanding of where you are going. When you first begin considering your visions you would subconsciously do it according to your true priorities. But later you will have to trust this choice and not be led astray by any seemingly good opportunities that end up to be costly distractions.
The way to do it is to reject anything that will be taking you further away from your Vision.
We must place the focus on what really matters and will take us closer to our dream. Plus, we will find pretty soon if we were right. This will be at the end of the 3 months when it’s time to review and change direction.
Is saying “No” the way to go?
It’s simply not easy to answer this question without any conditionals attached to it.
The truth is that we, as humans, will always find things to do. These are the situations in which we are much more likely to say “Yes” to any new suggestion or idea. But sooner or later you will have to hit on the brakes and be more assertive by saying “No”.
There is simply nothing like a “fit-all” solution here.
For example, we had to skip on a great opportunity – giving a radio presentation of our book. There are choices that are tough to make, especially when done in the name of our focus and dedication.
What if you can’t find the time to work on your goals?
First of all, it is mandatory to stop wasting your efforts on things that are marginal to your objective.
But then you have to work within the rules of a goal-setting system. You will get a clear-cut idea of how to follow your vision with the help of the 90-day goals coupled with the ability to review and learn from past mistakes. Nothing else will do more for your confidence and dedication.
Change is an inevitable part of life – there will always be challenges and hardships to overcome. The question is if we can quickly get back on our feet. And “GoalBuddy” does something very important – every quarter you have the chance to take a break, to rethink your strategy and start anew. It’s well worth trying this out!