Duff O'Melia

"I've Got No Time"

It’s something we’ve all heard before and it’s something we’ve all said at some point. In a previous post, I wrote about not needing a ton of money to create a business. Instead, we can use our time and energy to get things started. The question I’d like to address is how do we find the time to achieve the goals we’ve set out to achieve when it feels like there’s not enough time in the day?

I’ve come to the conclusion recently that if you want to achieve a long term goal, you’ve got to spend some bit of time on it every single day (or better yet 6 days a week.) If you’re not taking a step toward that goal each day, that goal just never seems to get accomplished.

Here’s an example. For many years, I’ve had a goal to create a business of some kind as a way to move past the idea of exchanging my time for money. I’ve wanted to create a running system that provides value to people and compensates me more passively than consulting would. It’s been on the goal list for a whole bunch of years. No progress though. Nothing done for a long time.

Then recently I decided that I was going to spend approximately 2 hours per day creating businesses. In the past month and a half, I’ve made great progress toward creating a business. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that I’m taking at least a step or two every day.

Will the business work? I don’t know yet. I plan on creating another if it fails. And then another. And another. I plan on failing and learning from those failures until a business that I create works. It’s perfectly fine to fail as long as I learn from the failure. I feel much less pressure now because my ego is no longer wrapped up in the outcome. It could be 10 years before I create a successful business. If it takes that long, I could be an expert in how not to start a business.

Where did I find the time to spend about 12-15 hours per week creating businesses? It was pretty simple really. I wrote my current schedule down on a piece of paper and then I figured out which parts of my daily schedule I wanted to change to accommodate the 2 hours per day. The time had to come from somewhere. I had to give something up in order to add something new. I decided that I was no longer going to spend 40 hours per week consulting. I was only going to spend 30. That gave me 10 hours extra per week to put toward starting businesses. I found another 10 hours per week by deciding to work at home rather than driving to an office every day.

I would think most people would say something like they can’t just decide to go to work less and they can’t just decide to work at home. Well, they certainly could if they wanted to but that’s not the point. They just need to find something else in their schedule that’s less important than the goal they’re trying achieve. Is watching 4 hours of TV per day more important than achieving your long term goals? How about other leisure time? Can you give some of that up? Once you get down on paper exactly what you’re doing every day, it becomes a pretty simple exercise to identify the areas that can be expunged.

Other people in the world find time to achieve big goals. Ginormous goals. Michael Dell has the same 24 hours that we do. Where did he find the time to create Dell Computer? Steve Jobs doesn’t get a 35 hour day. Yet he manages to head up Apple Computer and Pixar. How do the successful business owners in our society find the time to achieve such big goals? They don’t do what the masses do. They’re not getting drunk in a bar. They’re not watching every sporting event each week. They manage their time and they choose to spend their time differently than everyone else. They’re able to delay gratification and work while everyone else is sleeping. It’s not evil to watch a sporting event. It’s just a choice you’re making about what’s important to you.