Time is the greatest equalizer in life. We all have the same amount of time. Not one person has more time than the other no matter where they live, what they do, the color of their skin, their religion or anything else for that matter. Yet, even though we all have the same amount of time, we can’t always seem to find the time to do everything we want in life. So what gives?
Well, if you’re anything like the next person, you’ve undoubtedly struggled with time management in your life. You’ve likely set goals and didn’t follow through, concluding that somehow you simply don’t have enough time to do all the things you’d like to do and achieve all the things you’d like to achieve in life. That’s normal though because everyone struggles with this.
However, what if I told you that there really was a simple way to find the time to do everything you’ve ever wanted to do in life? What if I told you that the answer, which has eluded most, is as plain and simple as day? Would you believe me? Or, would you just think that this was some pie-in-the-sky hope or futile wish that only a select few people could possibly achieve in life?
Whatever you actually believe on the outside, I know that, deep down inside, you believe that there’s a way to do everything you want in life as long as you’re willing to put in some effort and push through some limitations that might be holding you back. But before I dive into the direct methods and techniques on how this works exactly, let me backup a bit and tell you a story.
How I Find Time To Do Everything In My Life
I have a lot going on in my life. Aside from running this blog, I also occasionally blog on Forbes, Huffington Post, and Engadget, I also write books, develop courses, and am constantly teaching myself new technologies when it comes to software and app development. So how do I find time to do everything?
The truth? I don’t sleep too much. Five hours per day is usually a good night’s sleep for me. I have two small babies and a wife, so family takes up a good deal of my time too. Yet, somehow I manage to find the time to do everything I want to in life.
I guess I have one thing going for me: passive income. I realized early on that time is more valuable than money. I realized that there was a need for a big front-end investment of my time so that it could work to produce the income for me on autopilot. That’s where I threw my energy into.
Because I don’t work for anyone and don’t rely on having to work to produce an income month to month and pay my expenses, I have the freedom and luxury that comes with having free time. But don’t get me wrong, it was incredibly difficult to get to that point. It didn’t just happen on its own. I still needed to find the time to do everything in life and build a passive income stream.
In order to get to that point where I could literally find the time to do everything, I needed to use my time very wisely. I couldn’t party, drink, go out and socialize, or really do too much with my free time. I needed to find ways to produce an income on autopilot, so I did it.
I buckled down and implemented an effective time management system. It wasn’t difficult to find one. All I had to do was research some of the most popular methods that existed out there and zero in on one of them. The implementation was a little bit more challenging. But, like anything else in life, repetitive behavior becomes routine and habitual over time.
Specifically, here are the steps that I took so that I could give myself the freedom and the time to do everything that I’ve ever wanted to in life.
#1 — Define everything you want to do in life
Be careful not to overreach. You have to define your goals. What do you really want in life? Think and reflect deeply on this. This isn’t about all the millions of things you want to do in the future. This is about your primary long-term targets. What do you want to be or achieve in the future? Who do you want to become? What value do you want to give the world?
The biggest problem with trying to do everything in life, is that we often don’t clearly define what that means to us. We have targets arbitrarily set in our mind, but nothing really defined on paper so it stays in the abstract sense. Goals that aren’t written down are far more difficult to achieve. So write them down and clearly define them on paper.
It’s easier to understand all the things you want to do in life when they’re written down. It’s far easier to not get distracted when you have your goals pinned up on the wall in front of you, for example. All you need to do is glance up in order to avoid distractions. While it might not always be as simple as that, when they’re staring right back down at you, you’ll govern yourself differently.
Keep in mind that time is a precious commodity, one that we can’t make more of. We only have a limited amount of time on this earth, so it all boils down to how we use that time. By clearly defining everything we want to do in life through our goals, we gain more clarity and purpose. Make sure you set your goals the right way and do it on paper. This is one of the most important parts of the process.
#2 — Create a detailed plan for achieving those things
Simply having goals isn’t enough. You need to create detailed plans for achieving the things you want in life. A detailed plan will also allow you to stay more focused, hence having enough time to do all the things you really want to do in life.
Without a detailed plan, it’s easy to veer off course. But when you have something to reference and look back at, clarity is always within reach. The plan gives us direction. It gives us a sense of motivation and spirit to move forward, outlining the steps that we need to take. We don’t need to know everything we will do to get there, but we do need a direction of travel.
Think about an airplane for a moment. An airplane sets a goal to travel from, say, LAX to MIA. The plane’s goal is also to land at a specific time on a specific day. It knows what it wants. Now it has to create a plan to get there. In the aviation industry, this is known as the flight plan. The plane will know its average speed, average altitude and general direction of travel.
However, the plane won’t know every step it needs to take. It might hit turbulence and need to change course, or air-traffic congestion over a metropolis in its flight path. There could be a number of variations here, but the plane knows the basic steps it needs to take to get there. And, it determines the rest along the way by constantly analyzing its route through the usage of the onboard computers.
Just like an airplane needs a plan, you also need a plan. You need a plan to achieve your goals. It won’t just happen by dreaming about it. A goal without a plan is just a wish. Nothing more. Create a plan. Try to go into as much detail as possible, but don’t fret every last step.
#3 — Implement a good system for managing your time
Of course, you can’t find time to do everything you want in life if you’re squandering the precious little time that you do have. Time is the most valuable commodity because we can’t make more of it. In fact, time is far more valuable than money. You can make and lose money easily, but you can’t make more time.
How do you spend the time that you have right now? If you want to find more time to do everything, audit your existing schedule. Track every 30-minute block of your time for one week straight. Buy a small notepad and carry it around with you. Every hour, jot down what you did for the past two blocks of 30-minute timeframes.
At the end of the week, analyze that time. How much time did you waste on things that added no value or long-term benefit to your life? How much time did you spend dealing with emergencies or crises that could have been avoided if you had been better able to manage your time? These questions are important because they lie at the heart of time management.
Find a good system for managing your time and stick to it. The one that I would recommend is the quadrant system, originally developed by the late President Dwight D. Eisenhower but later popularized by Stephen R. Covey in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
This system works by breaking up all your activities into four separate quadrants. The quadrants are based on two metrics: 1) urgency, and 2) importance. Everything you do is some combination of the two of these. The point? Stay away from the not-urgent-and-not-important activities (quadrant 4), also known as time-wasters, and engage in the not-urgent-but-important activities (quadrant 2), which will help you make progress towards your long-term goals.
#4 — Avoid distractions like the plague
We all know what it’s like to engage in distractions. We watch television for too long, chat on social media too much and spend way too much time hanging out with our friends. While it’s okay to enjoy some of your down time, it’s not okay to allow distractions to get the best of you. That’s one of the ways to easily not have the time to do everything in life.
I talked about auditing your time in the prior point, and that also applies here. When you audit your time, you’ll see how much of it you’re wasting. Stay away from the distractions. If your distractions are habitual (i.e. alcohol, gambling, etc.) then you need to find a way to quit your bad habits. If you can’t quit your bad habits, they will ruin you, something you’re already likely aware of.
Bad habits can come in the way of us and our dreams. If you’re serious about your goals, be sure to do something about the bad habits that hold you back. This isn’t just about avoiding distractions, this is also about avoiding the dreaded death-knell of procrastination. Don’t put off for tomorrow what can be done today, right now.
Stay away from the quadrant 4 activities as much as you can. If the people in your life are sucking you into distractions, then learn to weed them out. If you want to find time to do everything, you can’t abuse the time you already have in your life. If you work for someone else, then you know just how important your free time is. Why squander it with time-wasting activities?
#5 — Be present and enjoy the moment
There’s a Catch-22 in goal achievement that we’re all very familiar with. We push and push towards reaching our goals, but forget to find time for the other important things that matter. This issue is compounded when we squander the little amount of free time we have. But, finding the time to do everything in life very much also means enjoying the present moment.
When we can’t enjoy the present moment and we spend our lives working tooth-and-nail, we tend to snap. We reach a breaking point and we end up throwing our hands up in silent resignation. We give up, throwing that proverbial towel in. To avoid this from happening, be sure to be present and enjoy the moment right here and right now.
There’s a fine beauty and simplicity in life that when we stop to notice the miracles all around us, some incredible things begin to happen. This has very much to do with being grateful for everything you have as well. When you have sheer gratitude for all the things in your life, you can be present far easier. But, when the stress and worry and anxiety of goal achievement weigh you down, it’s harder to do so.
However, you need to buck the trend. Be present. Be grateful. Live in the moment. This doesn’t mean you can just go out and do whatever, whenever, with whomever you want. This just means that you should enjoy the simple things in life. They can’t be replaced. You will never get the time back with kids or loved ones. Take the time now. Go for a walk in the park, tell someone you love them, do whatever it takes to ground yourself in the moment.
#6 — Meditate, workout on a daily basis
There are a few things that ground us and give us the necessary mental, emotional and spiritual clarity that we need in life to pursue our dreams, and that’s meditation and working out. Both require a good deal of self-discipline in order to stick to them. But for the individual who can devote the necessary time to these, a world of good fortune awaits.
Why? Meditation and working out help to give you the necessary energy to achieve things and find time to do everything you want to in life. It helps to get the blood going, oxygenating all the cells in the body, wards off disease and illnesses, and puts you in touch with that spiritual oneness that binds us all. Working out and meditating should be a crucial part of your life.
Find time in the morning to either meditate or work out. If you’re working out, it doesn’t have to be arduous. Take a 15-minute walk around the block a few times. Don’t worry so much about doing a sprint or a marathon, or even a major free-weight regime. Just go for a walk. If you’re meditating, just sit quietly and practice silencing your mind.
Neither of these things are easy when you first start out. However, like everything else, they get better and more fluid over time. As the habits set into the neural pathways of the mind, this behavior becomes automatic. You won’t even have to think about it. But in the beginning, you will meet with some resistance, but the self-discipline will be well worth it in the long run.
While none of these things on their own will help you to find the time to do everything you want in life, it’s the combination of them all that will assist you. Don’t skip any of the steps. Be sure to engage them all and follow through day after day.