I have a confession to make.
I’m a liar.
Not in a general sense. Because in fact, when it comes to my relationships and business I’m a straight shooter. Honesty is SUPER important to me.
The place that I lie is to myself. I’m not proud of it. Especially because I’m a longtime devotee of all things personal development, have spent more than a decade in therapy and like to think I’m pretty “evolved”. So I admit, it’s a tad embarrassing to out myself in this way. But in the spirit of not continuing the pattern, I had to tell the truth.
How can I tell you this without shrinking into a shame corner? Because I know for a fact that I’m not alone. We all lie to ourselves in some way, shape or form. Whether outright deception or small little white lies, I’m willing to bet if you look at your own life, you’ll find that you’re a liar too.
So today, I want to address one specific big fat lie. The lie we all tell ourselves at one point or another. Because as business owners, if we’re going to see sustainable success, we’ve gotta get a handle on this one. And I say ‘we’ becomes I’m right there with you, my friend. Here’s the lie I want to debunk:
“I DON’T HAVE ENOUGH TIME.”
At least once a week (probably more), I tell myself or someone else, “I really don’t have enough time” or “Jeez, there aren’t enough hours in a day” or “I just didn’t have the time to get to that today. Maybe tomorrow…”.
We MUST stop telling ourselves this lie. That there isn’t enough time. Because quite frankly, it’s not true.
You might be saying, “But Stephanie, I have kids. I REALLY don’t have enough time.” or “Stephanie, seriously? I’m an entrepreneur, I work 14 hour days. I LITERALLY don’t have time for myself.”
I hear you. I feel the frustration. You’re busy. You have a lot going on. Your time is valuable. Me too!
But I’m gonna cut to the chase: you have to quit making “not having enough time” an excuse for not having the business (and life) you want to have.
Even if you have kids, are juggling a full-time job AND a side-hustle, are caring for a sick loved one, or spend 10-hours in a cubicle – you still have time.
One of my favorite quotes about this is . . .
“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”
~H. Jackson Brown Jr.
It’s true, right? We have the same number of hours as Oprah or Barack Obama. And they get a lot done.
Right about now is when I get pushback. You might be thinking that yes, they get a lot done because they have a lot of help. And you’re right. Oprah and Barack have assistants, staff, cook’s and people to handle a lot of daily tasks. But there are plenty of real people who don’t have access to those resources and still manage to get ‘er done. #justsayin
It’s not about having enough time. It’s about making the time.
Instead of complaining and lamenting about how little time you have, I want you to make some time this week to sit down and look at your calendar. If you don’t have a calendar that you put appointments in, get one. Google Calendar is free and syncs beautifully with your iCal or iPhone.
Once you have your calendar open, put in ALL of your weekly obligations. Everything from doctor appointments, creative time, the kids piano lessons, lunches, dinners, work meetings, upcoming travel, etc. By doing this, you’ll have a real handle on how much time you do or don’t have in a given day/week. From here you can find ways to delegate, hire the babysitter one more day per week, and stop saying yes to coffee dates (when what you really need is to take time to work on your business).
From today onward, if it’s not in your calendar, it’s not real. Deal?
Next, carve out a chunk of time – daily, twice a week, weekly, whatever you can manage (but at least once per week) – to work on your business at the 10,000-foot level (and yes, put this into your calendar). This means working on things like your marketing strategy, sales strategy, customer experience, product development, financial outlook, etc. It’s just as important to work ON your business, as it is IN your business day-to-day.
Think of it as a VIP appointment – with yourself. Don’t procrastinate – carve out that time and get to work. It might mean you have to shuffle things around on your calendar or miss movie night with your friends. So be it. This work is vital and non-negotiable. Treat it that way.
How much time do you need to actually set aside? I suggest a 1 to 2-hour chunk of time each week. You can take a short break every 30 minutes if needed, but come right back and keep on working. Believe it or not, you can get a lot done in 2 hours. And in terms of what to work on during this 2-hour window – pick one or two areas of your business to focus on, at most. It’s easier to get things done when you’re not switching from one thing to the next to the next.
After your time is up, do something fun to celebrate! Every single time you sit down it’s an accomplishment. You’ve gotten everything calendared, done some high-level planning, overcome procrastination and your self-created lies. A celebration is obligatory. If you want some adult-ideas for how to have fun and celebrate, check out these ideas (they might inspire some of your own).
These two practices: using your calendar strategically + making time for 10,000-foot planning are essential to the future of your business.
To be honest, if you don’t dedicate this time to these practices, your business will not grow, it will not evolve (and you certainly won’t become a business that everyone talks about). You might carry on for awhile but eventually you’ll become burned out and might even throw in the towel.
The world needs your creativity. Your product/service. Your wisdom. Your heart.
Don’t throw in the towel yet, we’re waiting for you.
Are you willing to stop telling yourself this lie? Commit to it in the conversation below. Share how you’ll start to work on your business in the next week, so that you can put the “I don’t have enough time” myth to rest once and for all!