Why do we waste our lives wishing we had more time? If I had more time I would have a tidy house. If I had more time I would exercise more. If I had more time I could plan better and lose weight. If I had more time I would put more work into my blog. If I just had more time…..
We don’t make the most of our lives or our capabilities, as we are chasing something as mythical as a shiny winged Unicorn. We put off so many things that could enrich our lives. Things that would make us happier and more successful. As we are waiting for a time in our lives when this ‘more time‘ will make itself known to us. We imagine it will come into our lives, bringing with it an ability for us to achieve and do all we want to….
Only this will never happen. As our priorities and our circumstances change. We will fill our days with other ‘important‘ stuff and we will still think the very same things we are thinking now. If only I had more time…
Here’s the secret. We don’t need more time.
Nope not a single hour more.
What we need is more focus.
Modern life makes us think that we can have it all and do it all. While we can totally achieve what we desire, we can’t do it all at the same time. Society holds up multi-tasking as the goal which we should all be striving for. The skill that, if we nail it, our lives will be easier and achievement will follow in spades. It isn’t and it won’t. Multi-tasking splits our focus, meaning that while we can physically do more tasks, we do them all at a fraction of our ability. We lose time and focus forever transitioning between tasks and we spend far too much time on things that ultimately don’t actually matter.
We are actually handicapping ourselves when we try to multi-task. Even when we know for sure that focusing on one task means we perform better at that task. Picture trying to park the car in a tight spot. Your kids are squabbling in the back seat. What would you say? I’m guessing you would tell them to be quiet, so you could concentrate on parking? Even though you could listen to them and park the car; your chances of not scraping the car in the next space is much higher if you are solely focused on driving.
So we acknowledge the need for a single minded focus, yet in our daily personal and work lives we seem to imagine we will be able to do all of our tasks at the same time. Checking Facebook while you are writing a blog post, dipping in and out of our emails when we are trying to edit images or one of the hundreds of other tasks that seem to overwhelm us on a daily basis.
If you want to succeed you will find the time, if you don’t you will find an excuse.
I totally and wholeheartedly believe that the revered work-life balance is a myth and should not be held up at a goal for us all to strive for. To have a balance is to be average at both of the things you are trying to balance. Being average doesn’t tend itself to extraordinary results. Extraordinary performance requires people who are better than average. People who will put their heart, soul, passion, blood, sweat and tears into their work. People who have a high degree of focus and give enough time to the projects that matter most.
‘Magic happens at the extremes’ – Gary Keller
Achieving and being successful means there will be times when you feel out of balance. When you are focusing more on your work than the personal side of your life or even on other work projects. Doing whatever it takes. This period of imbalance doesn’t have to last forever, just long enough the make the difference. Then you can draw make and give other areas more attention. To strive for the status quo is to strive for mediocrity.
We all have the same amount of time in a day. The thing that determines your success is what you do in this time and how big you think. If you think big you will achieve more in the same time than someone whose dreams are less ambitious.
So dare to dream big.
There’s the secret. We don’t need more time.
What we need is more focus.
‘If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one’ Russian proverb