If I had to name a single excuse why people who ask me for help … whether advice about moving to the Philippines or how to earn money or even to how they can fix a messed up Philippine-related marital situation give me for not getting started on what needs to be done … and getting it done … my answer would be easy. “I don’t have time”.
And if I had to venture an opinion on what the most bogus, limp, un-thought-out excuse always is, it would be that same worn out, weak-sister,”tired” phrase, “I don’t have time”.
Actually, we all have exactly the same amount of time. We may be richer or poorer than the next guy in dollar assets, we may have more degrees than a thermometer or else be a high school dropout, we may be as physically fit as an Olympic track star or we may be as fat, dumpy and chair-bound as a blogging Dave Starr, but we are all equal in one very important way … we all have the same amount of time.
Here’s are some pithy comments my blogging colleague David Risley published recently:
We All Have 168 Hours
We all have 168 hours to work with every single week. Now, you need to be asking yourself… what are you going to do with those 168 hours to further your goals and be efficient and get a lot done to further put you down the road of where you want to be?
168 hours. That’s a lot of time to work with.
Think about it.
And how can we apply this to everyday life? Again, from David who has built and is running several successful on-line businesses while also being a dad and a husband and a home owner and a homeowner moving houses and a social person and all those other things that ‘normal’ folk among us are expected to do:
Well, give ourselves less time to work with!
Set yourself some deadline. That could be the easy thing. But it needs to be a deadline that means something. If it’s a deadline that you see coming and you’re like… “Oh, this is just playing a mind job on myself and if I don’t mean it, who gives a crap?” well, it may not work for you but you need to find some way that does work.
One of the interesting things about time management I have found is – when you want to get really efficient and you want to get more done, you’re feeling a little bit overwhelmed with what you’re already doing; do more things!
For years when I worked managing construction and upgrade projects for the USAF’s vast, global communication networks, I had periods of time when I was inordinately busy. I couldn’t squeeze in just one more task in my day. “Oh please don’t let that phone call coming in be the colonel with yet another ‘time sensitive’ project.” I am sure many of you have had that feeling.
But I worked for a lady named Mary Brown. Mary was just as busy as I was, managing a small group of busy guys like me, and her own projects too.
Yet whenever some senior colonel or general officer had some “must do now” project on his mind, guess where s/he would go?
Yup, to Mary Brown, because Mary always had some way to get it done, knew how to farm it out to, knew someone who knew a shortcut, whatever. No matter how busy our office was in general, and how busy Lt. Colonel Brown was personally, the way any number of time-critical projects got finished around that building was if someone took them to the busiest person on our floor, or perhaps in our whole headquarters.
Just as Mary would do, if you want to get things done and get some tasks finished up, just get busy. And take on even more ,because the harder you work, the faster you work, and the more you have to get done, the more you’ll focus on what needs doing, and at the end of the week, your accomplishments will absolutely amaze you … if you only let them amaze you and get off that tired, lame excuse about “time”.
Just recently I had the (sort of) pleasure of watching a Justin Timberlake movie entitled “In Time”. I say ‘sort of’ pleasure because aside from making underage girls squirm in their seats I have no idea what Justin Timberlake’s talents might be. I already knew singing was not one of them and this movie showed me acting wasn’t his strong suit either, but the story itself was pretty interesting. In the movie:
Time is the new currency in this dystopia, money has no value, in fact it no longer exists. Time is what employees in the ghetto are paid with; a vast amount of time is what makes the rich so wealthy.
Now I read probably half a dozen reviews of this movie and every single reviewer took the time to use the word “dystopia”. I guess that made them look smart. I had no idea what it meant, so I looked it up.
A primary definition of dystopia is a society where things are bad. in a way the opposite of a utopia where things are good.
And, indeed in the movie there are many ‘bad’ things about life. people are herded into “time zones” where they can’t escape unless they have enough wealth (meaning time) on their ‘clock’ which is somehow bionomically embedded in everyone’s forearm.
Their ‘clock’ starts running when they reach 25 years old with an initial balance of 1 year remaining, and for the rest of their lives they have to scramble to keep ‘time’ on their clock. If they can amass enough time they can literally live forever, but if their clock ever ticks off their last seconds,l the luminescent green figures go black and they die.
As one of the other clumsily acted characters, looking at the body of a man who had ‘times out’ insightfully intoned, “Ah, 13 black zeros, an unlucky number for any man”.
Yet there were some things about the premise in the world of “In Time” that seemed to me they could also be a boon to mankind.
- Everyone started with the same time on their clock, no matter if their parents were rich or poor, or what grade they complete din school, etc.
- No one (except the indolently wealthy) wasted any time. It was too precious.
- Everyone knew at a glance how much time they had left.
- Everyone “owned” their own time (as we do today) and, like currency, could freely transfer it to other people as they wished. (which could be a really useful feature if we had it now)
- Anyone who was sharp, energetic and dedicated to making their life better could gain time and thus raise themselves among their peers. As a crude example of what ‘time’ seemed to be worth, a prostitute (who was pushing 60, but looked 25 just as everyone else did) offered 10 minutes of ‘pleasure’ for an hour of time.
- And because many people wasted their time and could not take responsibility for their own actions, there was a flourishing trade in ‘lending time’, kind of like a pawn shop or ‘payday loan’ operation where they typically were charged 30% interest on the loan … about what many of you reading this are paying on your credit cards if you haven’t been smart enough to cut them up yet and live within your mean
So maybe “In Time” wasn’t all that weird a concept after all. Just the author’s way of helping us look at ourselves through a different sort of lens.
Now that you have spent the time to read this, what will you do with your time tomorrow. Just doesn’t say you haven’t enough, you have 86,400 seconds to spend, same as I do.