The Myth of Not Having Enough Time
I want to practice lettering every day. I want to write on a daily basis. But there is no time. I’m too tired when I get home, and I am always sleepy. I have chores to do, and I need to rest. I just do not have time for this.
This is me almost every day, especially for the first half of this year. I struggled to do the things I want to do, because of the excuses I always tell myself. I have a lot of things planned out, but I end up just watching YouTube or playing games when I get home from work. I still manage to show up by doing some lettering for 30 minutes, but that’s it. I don’t feel happy because I feel like I wasted a lot of time.
Wasted a lot of time. – YES, that is the problem!
Everyone has 24 hours in a day, but why are some people capable of doing more on top of all the other things that need their attention?
Decisions always cost time.
When you decide to sleep in after your alarm rings in the morning, you trade the time to wake up early and be productive early. When you decide to have some drinks after work with friends, you may be trading off some time for learning something new. When you decide to launch Steam and play Dota, the 1-2 hours could be used for planning your future.
There are always trade-offs to your decisions.
A lot of times, you avoid doing productive work in favor of lounging around, because it makes you feel good. Sometimes, you decide to take time off and watch a movie instead of working on something. That is not necessarily a bad thing. Taking time off is also important. You just need to weigh which is more important and focus on those.
There is only a finite number of hours per day. Everyone has the same number of hours. It’s what you decide to do about it that matters. Knowing that, ask yourself:
- What are the things you want to achieve?
- What are the things that you can let go of?
To make time for the important things, list down what you want to achieve, and audit the activities you do every day. Then, identify the activities that you can let go in favor of making time for what you want to do.
Just last year, this was my typical routine:
8:15 am – Wake up after snoozing 8:30 am – Preparing and leaving for work 9:30 am – Arrive in office and start work 6:30 pm – Go home 7:00 pm – Grab dinner 8:00 pm – Relax (watch Youtube, check Facebook, play games, read books) and do some chores 10:30 pm – Lettering 11:30 pm – Relax and prepare to sleep 12:30 am – Sleep
What’s wrong with this picture?
I know that I want to further my craft, but I only spend about an hour or less doing it every day (that is even if I do it every day). After looking through my daily routine, I realized that I had been consciously playing games or choosing to watch some shows first. I do these because I want to feel good after a long day at work and to get myself out of a stressful mindset. It’s not necessarily bad that I chose to do that. It meant that relaxing was more important to me during that time than practicing or doing some lettering work.
In the end, I decided that I need to give up something for my goals. A little less Facebook here, and a little less YouTube there, or the occasional Reddit every single day can give you up to 1 hour or more.
Of course, it’s not easy. There are a lot of things you need to change in your daily routine.
For me, this was the change:
(8:15 am) 6:30 am – Wake up after snoozing 6:45 am – Breakfast and daily writing(8:30 am) 7:30 am – Preparing and leaving for work, Listening to podcasts and audio books(9:30 am) 9:00 am– Arrive in office and start work 6:30 pm – Go home 7:30 pm – Grab dinner 8:00 pm – Relax (watch YouTube, check Facebook, play games, read books) and finish some chores (10:30 pm) 9:00 pm – Lettering, planning, researching or writing 11:00 pm – Relax and prepare to sleep (12:30 am) 11:30 pm – Sleep
This is the routine that I am working on currently. I still feel like there’s not enough time, and I will have to make further sacrifices because I want to succeed. Even though I already get about 2-3 hours of productive time, it’s inevitable that I still get distracted. This is something that I am constantly working on (and will be a topic in the future). There are still a lot of things to do, and I am planning to wake up earlier to achieve more things within the day. In my new routine, I am even able to squeeze in something new – daily writing and listening to audio books or podcasts. Interestingly, it did not matter that I moved to a place that is farther away. Even if my travel time to and from work increased by 100%, I still managed to do more things.
It's amazing what you can do if you only set your mind to it.
If you don’t know what happens daily and you feel like time just passes you by, it’s important to take note of the things you do. Doing this allows you to know if you need to add or cut back time on the things that matter to you.
When you want to do something, and you feel there is no time? Give up something else. Time is finite, and you have to decide what is more important.
What matters to you? Make time for that, and follow your process.