Time Crunch

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before… “I don’t have any time or my schedule is so full; I don’t think I can do that.”  Time can be seen as a tradeoff or it can be viewed as an investment. When we look at time as a tradeoff, we get stuck in more of a scarcity mindset perhaps. We look at demands on our time versus opportunities to invest our time where the return on that investment is significant.

We all have 168 hours each week that we decide how to use. I recently read a book titled: 168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam in which she goes through her journey of interviewing different people who have been successful navigating this idea of a time crunch. What led me to read the book was an experience I had with a client years ago.  He worked as an economist, and he took me through the process of calculating how much “family” time I had to invest.  It was a whopping 7 hours a week!  Probably not a big surprise to the readers who know me.

In the book, one of the things that she suggests is doing a time audit which I did.  My audit started on a Sunday morning and finished the following Sunday evening.  Saying that I learned a lot would be an understatement.  Although I did not find a lot of wasted time after my audit, I was able to gain more clarity of how I was investing my time daily.  The experience helped me refine how I decided exactly what I would say yes to. My awareness of how I utilize my time also helped me to see if I was actually investing time doing the things that I say are important.

I gained clarity in the ability to say yes to things that matter the most First.  This has helped me embrace the view of time more as an investment than a tradeoff. There is a frame from Franklin Covey that a lot of people use in decision making. It is tied to the idea of asking: Is this urgent or is it important. Urgent and important tasks are the ones which should be taken care of first. Things that are important but not urgent, may be shifted down the to-do list.

Overall, this reflection process has given me a ton of clarity as it relates to how I plan my week, how I plan my day, and how I use my hours. So, my response is no longer; I don’t have any time for that… I instead choose to say that I am telling you no now and doing the things that will allow me to tell you yes later.  We can all make a shift to time as an invest by doing the urgent and important, allowing us to be more present. Since we all have 168 hours, I think it’ll be a great idea to complete a time audit, whether it’s for a day, two to three days, a week or even a month doesn’t really matter.

By completing this process, you’ll gain clarity on tackling the main things first.  You will also increase your awareness of how you’re currently investing your time and will better be able to identify the things that are urgent and important and do those things first. Having a better framework for your investment of time can allow you to move well, live well and do amazing things.

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