This conundrum was introduced to me by a coach whose identity I, unfortunately, can’t recall. If you know who it is, let me know so I can attribute.
“Time is relative”, Einstein tells us, “and influenced/ changed by whoever perceives it“, which is why telling ourselves we don’t have any could just be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
This and the scenario I’ll share exposes this lie we have all told ourselves at one time or another, which ultimately stops us from taking responsibility for our own success.
Imagine the following scenario.
You’re working from home, looking after a small child. Perhaps it’s yours, perhaps it’s someone else’s. Either way, they’re your responsibility, as well as the work you’re getting down on your laptop.
Suddenly, the small child bowls into the room, smiling broadly and come at you. The words roll out, full of sweetness and joy.
“Will you play with me, pleeeeease?”
You look at them. Look at the laptop.
“I’m sorry. I can’t. I don’t have time”, you respond.
That was the first scenario. Here comes the second.
Same working from home day. Same child. Same circumstances only…
…this time, there’s blood coming from what looks like a ten-inch nail sticking through the child’s foot.
What do you do this time?
Joking aside, (Honeeeeey!) most of us would recognise the need to deal with the injury situation pretty promptly but…
…what’s the REAL difference?
The REAL truth is you lied the first time.
Ultimately, when the small child asked you to play with them, the reason you gave for not doing so – “I can’t. I don’t have time” – was an act of shifting responsibility for a choice you made.
The truth is at that moment the work mattered more.
If a totally truthful answer were to be given it would be…
“I choose the work over playing with you because it ranks as a higher priority right now“
First and foremost, I am not judging anyone.
As a parent with two young kids, balancing work and home life is always in the front of my mind, and there are enough people out there willing to use guilt as a blunt instrument to bludgeon others. I’m not about to add to it.
Same goes for those of you juggling study with work, caring for others who need higher levels of care or any of the other curveballs life can throw en route to achieving your dreams.
However, the simple fact (as I find myself explaining to clients every now and again, and maybe myself too…) is that regardless of how valid the reasons may be, ultimately when you don’t do the work you don’t get the result.
The excuse never delivers the outcome.
More so, if we’re really honest about it we’d realise that there are always ways we could optimise our performance and productivity (which can also include stepping away from work altogether) by making better choices with our time.
In other words, we all have the power to decide where the time gets spent, including:
- The environment where the work gets done,
- The technology we turn off,
- Whether we plan ahead or wing it,
- If we are going to allow others to distract or interrupt us,
- How (or whether) we track and measure the outcomes of our efforts,
- If we commit publicly to getting something done (and open ourselves to the risks if we don’t).
- The changes to our business model that need to happen for us to be able to do our best work,
- The team around you and how you choose to have them communicate with you.
- Whether you commit to following certain habits, procedures or courses of action you know will get the better outcome,
…and any number of other large, small and micro choices that ultimately dictate whether we do, or we don’t.
Time is a valuable resource for practice owners right now.
Yet so much in the modern world is doing its best to steal it from us, and we let it.
As a client recently summarised…
“Not only do we have to do everything we did before better than ever, we have a bunch of new things to do plus changes to our business models to ensure that we can continue to deliver the value!”
She’s absolutely right, but as I find myself telling my six-year-old from time-to-time…
…the World mostly doesn’t care what you or I think is fair.
This is the environment we’re in.
This is what must be dealt with, managed, and transitioned through in order to reach the promised land that lies on the other side.
There’s no such thing as having no time. There really isn’t.
For every hundred of us who say we don’t have time, there are ten Elon Musk types who laugh at what we call “too busy”.
It’s all priorities and choice.
Every minute of every day, we make choices as to where we spend our time.
Some of those choices are subconscious. You don’t always knowingly pick up your phone, start checking Facebook, or email or start responding to any of the other things that often seem really important. unconscious habits, but they’re still choices.
However, when you become conscious of them, the next step is up to you.
Time is not the real issue. How we spend it is.
Unless we remind ourselves from time to time of that fact, it will control us instead of the other way around.
The choice is ours….