Tough Truths About Time


Lots of people who say they want to deal with their clutter tell me they don’t have time to deal with it right now, but they’re going to deal with it when they ‘find’ time or once they’ve done x,y,z.

I’ve had people on my e-mail list tell me that for years, even decades. I often wonder how they think they’re going to find the time to find the time if they’re so busy. It’s as if they think it’s going to magically appear in the future on the 5th of Never.

Guess what? These people never actually ‘find time’ and they lurch from one distraction to the next and never clear their clutter. Some of them even reach a point where they give up on their dream of clearing their clutter because they can’t ‘find’ more time.

Here’s a secret. You will never ‘find’ the time to deal with your clutter. You must MAKE time. You, me, J.K. Rowling, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, Mother Theresa, Nicholas Winton, Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Thomas Edison, the Mars Rover team, Bill Gates – every single living thing on this planet has exactly the same amount of time – 168 hours a week, 8,736 hours a year.

Yes, we might have a different number of days, weeks and years in our lives (a number we won’t know until the end), but we’re all playing this game of life with 168 hours a week and like it or not, WE  decide how to use them.

What are super successful and productive people doing that we’re not doing? One thing they’re definitely   NOT    doing   is   waiting   to   find   time’.

Here are 7 things they’re doing so they never have to ‘find time’ for the things they want and need to do.

1. Focus on the Goal

They focus on their goals like a laser guided missile. They know what they want, and they go for it. They start each day by checking in with that goal to make sure they’re still locked into its exact position so they’re focused, don’t get distracted or waste time having to change direction.

They may not see the goal clearly when they set out towards it, it may be out of focus and fuzzy to begin with, but they trust that as they get closer it will become clearer if they just keep focusing on it daily.

2. Prioritise

Every day, every week, every month they know what their top priorities are so they can allocate their 168 hours a week to the things that are important to them NOW. That way they don’t have to ‘find’ time and can see and feel progress. They check and review their    top priorities regularly to boost their motivation and help ensure thy know the time they spend working on their priorities is making a positive difference to their lives. They also build in some contingency hours to give them the flexibility for ‘life’ getting in the way, and they allocate some hours for friends and family to stay connected to those who matter to them.

3. Plan their Time

Highly successful people don’t just ‘go with the flow’ even if they appear to be ‘going with the flow’. They’ve planned their 168 hours a week but in a way that if they need to swap things around, they can, ensuring none of their priorities get cancelled or dropped. 

For example, they may have planned to work on one priority goal in the morning, but a family or personal emergency in the morning may mean they have to use their contingency time in the afternoon to work on that goal instead. They know that completely cancelling the time they’ve planned for working on their priority goals, however good their reason, is actually procrastination.

4. Accountability

People who achieve their goals know that they usually need help to prioritise and protect the time they’ve planned to work on their goal to ensure they see and feel that they’re making progress towards that priority goal. It makes them responsible, helps them focus and finish things, enables them to measure and track their progress towards their goal, and builds their confidence. Successful people also know that they need someone independent to be their accountability partner, someone who will challenge and question them without fear of risking a personal relationship.

5. Protect their Time Boundaries

You can focus on your goal, prioritise your time and even  plan  your time  but that’s  all  pointless if you don’t then protect the time you’ve planned for your priority goals. People who know it’s impossible to ‘find’ time protect the time they’ve planned by protecting their time boundaries. 

  • They use a timer to focus their mind on their goal during the time they’ve planned. 
  • They don’t allow other people’s drama’s to distract them – unless it’s a genuine emergency that only they can deal with immediately. 
  • They know that 9 times out of 10 it’s not an emergency that needs immediate attention. 
  • They digitally disconnect from distractions and go AWOL for short periods of time to work on and make progress towards their priority goals.

6. Avoid ‘time sucks’

Successful people who know you can’t ‘find’ time and that there’s only 168 hours in a week don’t just protect their time boundaries to work on their goal, they actively avoid ‘time sucks’ – e.g. constantly checking e-mail / text / social media / news, trying to  multitask, procrastinating, creating endless to-do lists. It’s not that they don’t do some of these things – they plan for a limited amount of time to do them each day instead of spontaneously doing them. They also delegate time suck’s that they don’t need to do themselves so they don’t become the ‘tools’ of procrastination e.g. cleaning, grocery home delivery instead of going to the store.

7. Self-Care

Not only do they prioritise what they spend their 168 hours a week doing, they also plan time for self-care. They get up early – most successful people go to bed before 11pm and get up before 6am – to make the most of their day. They may attend social events in the evening, but they don’t stay to the end. They also make time every day – a minimum of 30 minutes – to just sit quietly, think, reflect, and capture the successes of the day, thus ensuring they are focused on the positives. Finally, they all have at least 1 way to manage stress on a weekly basis e.g. yoga, mindfulness, exercise, meditation.

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