How to Capture the Time You Need

Motivation Moment: “The lack of direction, not the lack of time, is the real problem.” – Zig Ziglar

“The lack of direction, not the lack of time, is the real problem.” - Zig Ziglar

Do you feel like you have enough time?

Every year in March, the United States Government steals an hour from the morning and pastes it to the end of the day. They tell you that it gives you more daylight in your day. 

It doesn’t. 

It seems like it does because Mother Nature began adding between 90 seconds and 120 seconds of more light to the day starting on December 22. By the time March rolls around, you have gained approximately 90 minutes of extra daylight (for real).

But the government didn’t make that happen.

Even with the extra daylight, you don’t have more time. With the shift in the clock to DST, the daylight change can make you lose track of the time you do have. When you get to the end of the day and realize it’s later than you realized, blame the government.

I do.

Putting aside who is actually to blame (the government), it’s not the lack of time that causes the lack of doing. We all have the same amount of time every day. 

  • Bach composed over 3000 compositions.
  • Faulkner wrote over 900 books.
  • Picasso produced about 13,500 paintings and many, many, many other prints and designs.
  • My neighbor cleaned her house, managed her kids, cared for both a flower garden AND a vegetable garden – and that was all today.

The most amazing thing about the accomplishments is that they all had 24 hours in each day. It’s the same amount of time we all have. It’s not the amount of time, but it is what we do with the time we have that makes the difference in where we are at the end of the day.

What Are You Doing With Your Time?

The right plan will make a difference in how you use your time. Rarely do we start the day with the thought, “I want not to have enough time.” There is a guide in place – a calendar, a schedule, a to-do list – something to keep our day moving in the right direction.

  1. Make a plan. If you don’t know what you are doing, then you will run out of time. Make a list of what you need to get done in the day.
  2. Create gaps. If you overplan, you will underperform. Avoid scheduling out every minute of the day because something will happen that wasn’t in the schedule, and that hiccup will throw off the rest of your best-laid plan.
  3. Find what works for you. If you don’t have a system that works for you (for the season you are in at this moment), then you won’t work the plan. If you don’t work it, you might as well not have it.

The Best Intentions Won’t Get It Done

Once you know where you are going, you have to get up and go. All the planning and plotting means little if it stays on the paper (or in the computer). 

  1. Do what you can do. If your actions are waiting on other actions, then you will struggle to keep going. Make your schedule dependent on what you can do and leave gaps in the day to fill in where others are concerned.
  2. Start now. If you wait, you won’t. If you stay up late and it makes you start late, you’ll stay late and not get done. If you hit the snooze button and rollover, you’ll struggle to get back on track. 
  3. Do one more thing. If you think about it instead of doing it then you use up the energy thinking instead of doing. Take five minutes and do one more thing, and you’ll be that much closer to getting it all done. 

Capture the Time You Need

You can do all you need to do. You have the time. The key is to capture the little bits of time that normally slip away. Little bits added together will make a big difference.

  1. In five minutes, you can fold a load of laundry, send an email, or write a note to a client.
  2. In ten minutes, you can make a call, load (or unload) the dishwasher, or write a letter to a friend.
  3. In twenty minutes, you can cook a meal, read a chapter in a book, or write a rough draft for a post. 

You will find little bits of time between big projects or while waiting for something else to happen. You have the time. Now find your ways to make the time work for you.

How will you capture the time you need?

Challenge: Try several different time management systems. Make notes of what works for you and what you think would work better. Make your own system or find a flexible system that will work in the ways you need.

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