Here’s a question I don’t ask anymore: “how do you find the time?”
I used to ask people I admire that question a lot, but I eventually I figured out the answer is pretty much the same for everybody.
We don’t find time, we decide how to use the time we already have.
Here’s something else I learned: not many people feel particularly productive, not even the people you think get more done than everyone else. This became abundantly clear when people started asking me how I find the time.
“Me? You’re asking because you think I get a lot done every day?” That was my initial reaction to the question. I almost had to laugh.
I’m lucky if I get two creative things done a day. On average I probably get less than one creative thing done each day. By “creative thing” I mean producing content, like writing, shooting videos, interviewing someone, etc.
When people started asking me how I “found the time” I realized that I must appear productive from the outside, just like those people I look up to did to me in the beginning.
Everyone struggles with using time effectively. Those people who seem really productive aren’t really that much more productive than you are. We all have the same number of hours in a day (actually some of you early risers have more hours than someone like me who tends to sleep about 9 hours a night).
People who appear extra productive simply have two things that you do not:
- A clear direction
- A consistent history of moving towards that goal
When you don’t have a clear direction, most of your time is consumed by trying to figure out your goals. Your productive time is spent learning and planning. You are spending the same amount of time as anyone else every day, but that time is consumed with thinking instead of doing.
Once you have a direction, it’s all about execution. That’s when you start appearing to be productive to an outside observer. There is visible evidence of the time you spend on your business or project. Instead of thinking and planning all day, you create and produce.
It’s remarkable how much you can get done over the course of a month or year when you commit to moving towards your goal every day.
But first you have to gain clarity of direction.
When I used to ask how someone got so much accomplished every week, I was really looking for the answer to a different question altogether. I really wanted to know how that person was so clear in his direction and determined to achieve it.
Think about what you’re feeling unproductive about at the moment. Are you really sure you want to do that thing? Have you decided 110% that you’re going to accomplish that goal? Or do you still have some reservations, some doubts about whether it’s the right direction for you?
Don’t beat yourself up about not getting enough done. If you’re not as productive as you want to be, it’s probably more about direction and desire than your ability to produce.
Once you figure out what you really want to do and start working towards it, people will start asking how you find the time.
A decided person is a productive person.
Have you ever asked someone how he or she gets so much done? Looking back, do you think that person simply felt strongly about what he was working toward? I’d love to hear in the comments.