I don’t have enough time.
I’m too busy.
If only there were more hours in the day.
I have an old friend who always told me, “I’m so busy I don’t even have enough time to buy a pair of new jeans.” Seriously, he said that to me all the time! At first I believed him. I mean, why wouldn’t I? I don’t know his schedule. I have no idea what is time management to him and what he goes through on a daily basis. So who am I to argue? But I began to notice he said this to me all the time. It was the same complaint about not having enough time to buy a pair of jeans. For a while I thought, “this guy is going to be walking around in nothing but his tighty-whities soon.” It definitely wouldn’t have been a pretty sight!
I was young and naïve at the time so I would engage him and try reasoning with him, to no avail. I soon realized that this was a “go to” phrase for him – an attention getter. For me it eventually became white noise – sort of. I secretly kept a mental scoreboard of every instance he made that same excuse. He had enough time for everything else and I began to realize that the only thing he needed some extra to purchase was a pair of jeans. Is that possible?
So (after 4 years of hearing the same excuse) the next time he began his sob story about buying jeans, I called him on it. “Are you telling me that for four years you have been so busy that you haven’t had even a moment to purchase a new pair of jeans?” Realizing how absurd he must have been sounding, we both began to laugh.
If this garnished even a small chuckle from you, it’s probably because it resonated with you in some small way. Either because you have made the same kind of “time” excuse, or perhaps you know others who make this sort of lame excuse themselves.
Let me dive a little deeper into the content of the conversations I had with my friend.
- Almost every time we spoke, our conversations lasted 45 minutes to more than an hour. (I’m pretty sure I could have purchased several pairs of jeans in an hour.)
- His focus on our conversations was on his problem (time) not the solution.
- He focused the reason for his problem on everyone else.
I think we all have friends like this. They’re great people, but perhaps a little misdirected. My friend is a great person. One of the best I know. He would do, and has done, anything for me. Understand, this is not about character. It’s about mindset.
It’s likely that anyone this story made you think about, has a negative mindset directed at successful people. They may believe that somehow successful people caught a break in some way; they were born into it; or maybe they’re just disgruntled because they wish to be successful but are unable to capture what it is they want.
Being successful takes time.
Yes it does. But that doesn’t mean you need more time for it to happen. Most people falsely believe that in order to take on a new project or endeavor you need to add time to you day. Let’s again take a look at my friend, for example. He believed he didn’t have time to buy a single pair of jeans. The reality is he did. You know he did and so do I. In fact, subconsciously, even he knew he had time.
Then what is the problem?
Your language, mindset and willingness to accept responsibility for your results will determine the level of success you achieve. Let’s look at these time management tips
My friend told himself so many times over again that he was strapped for time, that he began to believe it. Heck, even I believed it at first! There is nothing that sucks the time and energy from you more than you own language. The more you tell yourself what you can’t do, what you don’t have the time for, and the difficulties you will encounter, the more you will feel like a salmon trying to swim upstream but losing. Start by telling yourself what you can do, what you are capable of. You will improve your time management and watch your productivity rise. They should start teaching this in leadership training, as it is a part of time management skills but rarely recognized as such.
Be Solution-Focused, not Problem-Focused
Successful people are such, because they solve problems. The more problems you solve, the more successful you are. But how can you find solutions if all you focus on are the problems? The more you focus on problems, the more they will be all you see. It becomes a habit. Now is the time to create new habits and replace the old ones. Be a solution oriented person. Find answers not roadblocks. Forget about dead ends, and instead look for new paths. But here is the secret sauce… By focusing on the solution you will direct your language to be more positive and naturally solve your language issues! How cool is that? Spending time focusing on problems steals your time. Instead acknowledge your problem and focus on a solution.
Accept Responsibility for Your Own Results!
The problem with blaming others for your perceived problems is you give away your control. Just as with your language, you will develop the habit of blaming others, your surroundings, or circumstances for your results and when you do that you give away your power to change them. The result of that is that you lose direction in your life. Imagine a rudderless sailboat attempting to navigate the wind and currents with only a sail. There would be nothing to keep it on course, giving the wind and current all the control with the sail having little if any influence at all. Keep you and only you accountable for you success or failure. When you own your results, you will clear you pathway to success!
My Challenge For You!
Buy a small notebook or journal and begin to keep a log of your language. Log how often your make excuses instead of take action. Keep a record of how often you own your results. And list all the solutions you find for any problems you have.
Create Positive Language
Focus on Solutions
Own Your Results
Just like changing the food you eat will change your body shape and physical health, so will the mindset you create change the results you have and the time it takes to get those desired results. Your thoughts created who you are today, so it stands to reason that by changing those thoughts you can become a different person tomorrow.