Everyday or every hour even I hear people tell me ‘I haven’t got time…’ as a response to a variety of things. Clients, my team, colleagues, family, friends…everyone says it. Whether it be something related to their business, health, education, time for themselves, whatever it is they believe they haven’t got time and what’s more they genuinely believe other people have more time than them. What a load of crap.

Last time I looked into it, everyone has 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. The real difference is how you choose to utilise your time. What you prioritise. What you allow to happen. What are your rocks; the immovables.

I am not saying there is not a lot on people’s plates. We live in a time where everything is urgent. Technology and accessibility has created this expectation. With so much more ‘noise’ coming at us and around us though it is even more important to learn to prioritise and focus or you won’t be real effective at anything.

I am not perfect at this by any means but I do try to employ several habits to ensure my time is used for its highest value:

  • Say no to people often. I don’t mean be rude or don’t help but get people to see you about their need/problem/issue at allocated times as opposed to interrupting you when they feel the need;
  • Lose the distractions. One of the biggest offenders is email. Turn it off for periods of the day. Review and return emails at a one in the morning and afternoon and tell others you are doing that. Turn off the pop up to tell you that you have an email. If it is that urgent people will call you. As soon as you reply with an email you will get more back so pick up the phone or go and see the person you are communicating with;
  • Get an assistant. There is so much you get asked to do, provide, answer that you don’t need to. Someone could do that for you. There is so many emails you get cc’d on (kill the reply all button!) that you don’t really even need to look at. They will also filter your calls and meeting requests and aren’t as emotional as you when doing so. An assistant could show their value to you very quickly;
  • Delegate. No you don’t have to do everything and you aren’t that good. Sorry if that upsets you but it is reality and the sooner you realise it the better your life and time management will be. If you have no confidence in the team around you then that is a whole other issue and one you have to deal with; and
  • Utilise an electronic/digital calendar. This is a great one if you (and your assistant) control it. Let people see it and have limited access to it, but you set the rules. Get your ‘rocks’ in first (what is really important to you) and build up around it. If people want your time then it has to be in your diary and per your rules otherwise it doesn’t happen. Paper diary doesn’t work as only you can see it.

The people who appear to have more time are experts at losing the distractions and prioritising what is important to them or their business. They get shit done and generally have more fun doing it and they value their time. These are generally the people with the business or life you dream you had.

The irony is that the people you are constantly being interrupted by don’t care about your time or issues but theirs…once you decide to make the change and commit to your rules so will the people around you. How much time is in your day?