“I don’t have time” is a myth.
The statement, “I don’t have time”, really gets under my skin.
Why? Because you do have the time.
Get up early. Cant? Go to bed earlier.
Stop watching TV shows and YouTube channels that do nothing to help you progress in your dreams.
Stop playing video games.
Stop going out to the bar.
Stop wasting time reading news websites, Reddit, surfing Facebook or Instagram for hours.
You have the time. Its right there in your hands. Use it.
How much time would you get back if you stopped doing all of those things above? You’d be blown away by how much time you’d get back. In fact, let us dig in a little bit deeper …
Watching 45 Days of TV Per Year 👎
The average American spends 3 hours a day watching TV.
3 HOURS A DAY!
Some reports show an upwards of five hours a day.
Let us be conservative and stick with 3 hours.
That’s 21 hours a week!
90 hours in a month!
1,095 hours in a year.!
That’s over 45 days of watching TV for 24 hours straight!
This is just watching TV. This does not include time spent looking at your phone!
That’s just insane.
“I don’t have time.”
No, you do have the time – you’re just choosing not use it for the things you say “You don’t have the time for.”
The magic of time optimization
Is life hard sometimes? Yes, it is. Oh god yes. It can feel completely overwhelming and you might feel like you can’t get a breath. But … you still have time … if you don’t waste it.
Single mothers and fathers exist and they make magical things happen. They work multiple jobs, have little or no help from family and they have to do everything themselves. Somehow, they make magic happen.
You know what? I bet you most of these folks have “more time” than most.
They optimize their life to maximize their time.
Furthermore, I bet you they read more books than most too.
Imagine being one who catches the bus at 6:30 am after dropping the kids off at early-drop off and/or daycare/preschool. So what do they do with that next 10–30 minutes of commuting time (before and after work)? They probably use that next 10-30 minutes to listen to a book or podcast or watch a video tutorial that they downloaded on their phone instead of passively looking out the window or on FacebookInstagramRedditNewsetc.
They have the time & you have this same time.
Maybe you don’t commute via train, maybe you drive to work.
Use that time to learn, grow, etc. Maybe you work at home? That’s cool. Listen to books/podcasts while driving/walking to the grocery store or dentist/or wherever you’re driving.
For example, let’s think about the time in the shower. Could that be put to use? Hell yes, it can. Put an audio book on while you’re in the shower. That’s 10-15 minutes a day. 10-15 minutes a day for 30 days is 5 to 7.5 hours. You can easily listen to a book a month simply by listening to it in the shower. Use the Audible app to download books and listen to them on the go.
“I don’t have the time.” Yeah. Ok.
“… but I don’t have time to eat healthy and work out”
Maybe you want to work out and get yourself into better health and don’t have time for the gym. I get it. Do a bodyweight program by any number of fitness trainers 3-5 days a week at home. There a TON of them online for free. Eat salads for lunch. The best shape I got into in my life I worked out two days a week and ate healthy (salads and steamed veggies). The diet did more for me than working out did.
Maybe you don’t have a ton of time for meal prep. Ok, I get it. Then follow intermittent fasting – it helps you learn how to control your hunger and is proven to be very good for your health. Fewer meals to prepare – eating less and improving health? Yes. I’m in. Eat steamed veggies from the microwave for two meals a day with lean grilled meats. Do a meal prep day on Sunday. There are always options.
I once knew a girl in college who would cook beans and rice every Sunday and have that for lunch because she didn’t have time to make lunch every day and bring it to college. She did the work on Sundays. She found the time, owned the problem and fixed it – even on the cheap.
Finding Time is Easy
Finding time is easy if you look hard enough. It’s everywhere. 10 minutes here, 15 minutes there. Before you know it you have an hour or two each day you can use.
If you feel like you don’t have time try to find all the spaces where you’re not doing anything (dentist office waiting, doctors office waiting, at a kids drama practice, waiting) and then use that time to push the ball a little further down the field. I bring my laptop everywhere, just in case I have a free moment to crank things out. In fact, I’m writing this post at my accountant’s office this AM while he’s preparing some documents for me.
I’m not saying to give up that time you spend with your family. That has importance too. Maybe one of your goals is to be a great parent and/or spouse. Then execute on it and find the time to be a great parent. Use the spare time for that. Same for anything else that you find that you want to accomplish. It doesn’t have to be “work” or “business”. If you “don’t have time to walk the dog”, then stop surfing Facebook or Instagram while you’re on the toilet (you know you do it too).
The moral of the story is – you do have the time, it’s most likely being wasted on needless activities that provide no real growth value to you.
One thing I advise is to try to get up earlier – before anyone else. I’ll admit, it’s not easy. One thing I do the night before is write down a couple of things I want to get done before everyone else gets up (could be work out/run, get task x done, read, work on your project, etc). You get such a head start on the day that you feel positive and happy.
Can you do the same at night? Yes, for sure. Maybe you’re a night owl and get most your work/etc stuff done from 9pm-3am. That’s fine too. However, I will say this – when you’re tired, it’s much easier to simply go to bed and miss out on those hours. When you get a head start at the beginning of the day you start off on the right foot. Waiting to get some stuff done at the end of the day can sometimes fall apart (bad day, super tired, made a bad decision by having few too many at happy hour, etc).
Next, focus on whatever you want to accomplish and execute until it’s done. Don’t lose focus. Do not get distracted. Kill all external distractions. Complete the task at all costs. Striking an item off a to-do list (even if it is mental) is a huge win. Build upon these wins and snowball them.
Be obsessed with your passions and goals. Its ok to be that way. Do you want to be the best parent in the world? Go do it. Don’t let anything stop you. Do you want to be the best long-distance marathon runner? Go do it. Do you want to be the best rheumatologist in the United States? GO. DO. IT.
No one is going to give you anything. You have to get it yourself. You have to take the risks. You have to make it happen. To do those things you’ll need to find the time and trust me, you have it.
Make it happen.
Photo credit: @loic
Jeffrey Starke says
Is the 78 days of watching TV per year calculated using 5 hours a day? I wasn’t getting the same result when I did the math.
Also a small typo: “She found the time, owned the problem an fixed it”
Anyway, I’m really enjoying these time optimization / productivity posts!
amor enew says
abhijeet kumar says
“1,095 hours in a year.!
That’s over 78 days of watching TV for 24 hours straight!”
On which planet does that make 78 days?
Surely not on earth because that is how we calculate on earth
1095 hours / 24 hours per day = 45.6 days
Did not read the article after that line.
Donn Felker says
Hey there, not sure how I got that math either. I’m not sure. The day calculation should have been 45 based on 3 hours of time. Oops 🤔 I have fixed it though! Thanks!
Donn Felker says
Kevin Brock says
Donn Felker you are the man. Great article. I’ve been applying this strategy to life juggling learning Android development while working full time with 2 toddlers and a wife so busy with school it consumes every free moment she has. I would be nowhere without it.
RiDdHi K says
Awesome article!! I completely agree to the point that utilizing the hours spent in front of TV for doing something else is a really helpful technique. I have started doing it since almost more than a year now and I could complete an android course and could learn Android development!! One more thing which is helpful is, whenever I spend time watching TV, I make sure that I am watching something which provides me helpful information and it is not just time wasting drama shows.
∆ සනත් ™☸️ says
Great article , This inspire me lot. I was wasting my time even though I have to do lot of things. This gives me head start to overcome my problems, Thank you very much.
Donn Felker says
Thanks for reading and best of luck to you.
Donn Felker says
Exactly. I do this with a Chromecast. I queue up a bunch of talks or educational programs I want to consume and then cast it to my TV. Then I can continue watching them on my mobile when I’m traveling. Win win!
Donn Felker says
Having kids is a fantastic forcing function. It makes you realize how much time you actually had before and how much you don’t have now! Congrats and pushing through.
Araz Abishov says
I mostly agree, but there still must be sometime for slacking off. Otherwise it will be a clear path to burning out. Going out to a park or a coffee shop might be a good way to switch the environment and let your creative “juices” flowing 🙂
Stas Melnychenko says
Kaloyan Roussev says
I read textbooks on programming and economics on average of 3 hours per day. Sometimes 5 hours per day. I don’t have time to watch TV. Haven’t watched TV in 10 years 🙂
Taha Baig says
Amazing read, i realized how much time i waste, it’s insane. Thank you for this
James Coggan says
Amazing Donn. I’m following that for sure!
PRANAY PATEL says
Thank you sir for sharing great article. 👏👏
James Sandberg says
I’ve recently launched my own company Customer Devoted and we’ve been really focussed on being as productive as possible, using the pomodoro technique and a productivity planner to keep us on track. Any other tips or apps you can recommend to use?