Small Business Talk For Coaches

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Addicted to Time

Show Notes

Do you ever feel that you are addicted to time?

Whatever do you mean? How can you be addicted to time?

The more you get, the more you want, you can never get enough, always looking to score, just like any other addiction.

Time Audit

We spend our lives, being busy.

Being busy can be good, however often it is not.

Have you done a time audit of your workday recently?

What are you spending your days doing?

If you are an average Western World person, then approximately 28% of your day is spent checking your email account. That is 11 times every hour. Most emails are read within 6 seconds of you receiving a notification.

Then you spend 147 minutes checking social media which is approximately 31% of your day.

Think you have no time in your day, you are right. If you spend 59% of your day on only email and social media, that means that over half your day is gone already. They are scary stats.

Addicted to Time

As we embrace more and more technology, you would think that we should have more time. We no longer have washing days where the whole day is consumed by doing the whole household’s washing. We throw the washing in an automatic machine, add soap, press start and come back at the allotted time or often later; to put it onto a line or into yet another time saving machine, the dryer.  What do we do with that time?

As most of you are not that old you will not remember washing days (me either). That newly found time has long ago been squandered and forgotten. We have endless time-saving devices in our lives from cars to automatic vacuum cleaners and dishwashers however we still seem not to be able to “find the time”

Are you addicted to time?

The more you get, the more you want?

When was the last time you sat with a cup of tea and read a book just for the sake of reading it.

Now we listen to audio books and increase the speed to 1.25 times or even 1.5 speed if we can still understand it.

The Power of Patience

When was the last time you sat still, WITHOUT your phone or anything else to entertain you?

Jennifer L Roberts is an American Art Historian and Director of Arts at Harvard University. She is famous for amongst other things her power of patience assignment that she used to set for her students.

“In all of my art history courses, graduate and undergraduate, every student is expected to write an intensive research paper based on a single work of art of their own choosing. And the first thing I ask them to do in the research process is to spend a painfully long time looking at that object. Say a student wanted to explore the work popularly known as Boy with a Squirrel, painted in Boston in 1765 by the young artist John Singleton Copley. Before doing any research in books or online, the student would first be expected to go to the Museum of Fine Arts, where it hangs, and spend three full hours looking at the painting, noting down his or her evolving observations as well as the questions and speculations that arise from those observations. The time span is explicitly designed to seem excessive. Also crucial to the exercise is the museum or archive setting, which removes the student from his or her everyday surroundings and distractions.

It is commonly assumed that vision is immediate. 

At first many of the students resist being subjected to such a remedial exercise. How can there possibly be three hours’ worth of incident and information on this small surface? How can there possibly be three hours’ worth of things to see and think about in a single work of art? But after doing the assignment, students repeatedly tell me that they have been astonished by the potential this process unlocked. “ Jennifer writes in her Harvard magazine article.

You may have experienced this same observation to a lesser degree in a movie that you have watched over and over. You will always see something that you have not previously, often crucial details that you overlooked before. If you discuss it with friends or family, they will have often seen other things that you missed and vice versa.

More Time

The more time we have, the more we fill it. Addictions to time and work are real and can cause many people great overwhelm. We get efficient, so we do more. Instead of finishing early and going for a walk or to the beach we stay late and do even more.

Working long hours and filling every waking hour is not healthy and, in most cases, not necessary. Often more time is counterproductive because we expand to fit the time. You have a hard stop like going on holiday, and you will get most of the things you need to do before you go and the things you don’t and left un done or never done.

When we are tired and stressed about our lack of time and overwhelmed by all the things we have to do; then we will never do our best work.

To Do List

Our to do list often sets us up for failure. We had too many things, enormously big things that are not possible to do in a day, a week, a month or sometimes even a year.

One of my favourite business book is The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. 

They have some really simple yet powerful advice and will

  • cut through the clutter
  • achieve better results in less time
  • build momentum toward your goal
  • dial down the stress
  • overcome that overwhelmed feeling
  • revive your energy
  • stay on track
  • master what matters to you

Basically, they suggest to do the one thing first each day. Decide on what is the most important thing that need to be done each day and do it!

As simple as it seems we often don’t do it. We pick the easy thing, the things we like, the things that won’t take much time etc and before we know it the day has gone, and the most important thing hasn’t been done. Sound familiar?

Take Your Time Back

If you have become addicted to time it is time to take control. (Pun intended).

Realising it is the first step.

Can you delegate some of the tasks you need to do?

Can you say “No” to things that over people think you should be doing?

(Why The Word No Should Be Added To Your Vocabulary is a great article to read)

Can you stop adding some to your to do list.

Can you block your time?

There are so many ways to take your time back, stop the overwhelm and start enjoying life again.

Remember to take care of yourself first.

In next week’s episode of Small Business Talk we have an expert giving us tips on how to overcome our fear of public speaking even if you are an introvert.

Listen to Episode 179 of Small Business Talk for the full details.

Check out Small Business Talk on YouTube for videos and more.

Addicted to Time

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