How To Improve Your Relationship With Time
In the beginning when your business is just an idea you might feel like time is passing very slowly. You are stuck and you haven’t quite built up the confidence yet to get started. You know you want to, but there is something holding you back. You feel like your idea actually turning into a business is so far away and out of reach.
Fast forward to after you get started and suddenly you are juggling what feels like 100 different things. You start to feel like there is not enough time to do everything you want to do. You wake up early and stay up late and 4 hours of sleep becomes the new normal. You begin learning faster than you can implement things in your business and you feel like you are constantly behind. Your to do list becomes increasingly longer. You stop doing things that you used to enjoy doing because your business is your priority.
Of course you want to build momentum in your business so that you can get it off the ground, but at some point you have to stop and make sure you are finding a balance.
We read books and listen to podcasts that tell us to do more and to be better. The truth is, if you are starting a business and working a full time job while trying to balance your entire life around it then you are already doing more.
Let’s take a step back and look at where the idea that there is not enough time comes from.
Did your parents or grandparents ever say, “The early bird gets the worm”?
Did your parents ever tell you that they didn’t have time to do something with you?
Have you ever told your friends that you can’t hang out with them because you’re too busy?
Has anyone ever asked you, “Is that really what you want to spend your time doing”?
Have you ever heard the saying, “Time is slipping away”?
We learn that time is precious and it should be spent wisely. We also learn that there isn’t always enough time to do the things we want to do, but we always make time for things that are necessary. Have you ever seen a child ask their parent if they could go to the park and play and the parent responds that they don’t have time, but maybe tomorrow. On the other hand, if a child falls down and hurts themselves then their parent will drop what they are doing and come to the rescue.
Let’s go back to our businesses now. We have created a vision for where we want our business to be and now we are racing to make that vision a reality as soon as possible. But, do you remember why you started your business in the first place? Wasn’t it because it made you happy?
If you look at the leaders in your industry who have been doing this longer than you, do you think that they got to the top and then decided they were done? No. If you are lucky enough to find something that you love doing, something that sets your soul on fire, then wouldn’t you want to do it forever?
If you know that you want to be en entrepreneur forever then you no longer need to race against time. You need to trust that your business will evolve into what it is meant to be as long as you are consistently putting forth an effort.
If you continue to go down the path of racing to the top then you will end up feeling exhausted, uninspired, overwhelmed, and burned out. I know because I did this. My wake-up call was when I took a vacation from my job so that I could work on my side hustle and I had no energy to do anything. I basically slept for an entire week.
When you stop letting time decide what you will do and start deciding that you are actually in control of time then you will always have an abundance of it.
Here are 3 ways you can take charge of time and stop letting it control you:
1. Replace the word “busy” with “productive”. Think about what the word “busy” means to you and notice your energy levels, your posture, and your mood when you say that word. It feels like such a downer, doesn’t it? Now think about how you feel when you say the word “productive”. It feels like you have achieved something or created something! So catch yourself when you are using the word “busy” and replace it with the word “productive”. If you find yourself using the word “busy” often then think about what it is actually doing. Saying you are busy is enabling procrastination, holding you back, and keeping you stuck. “Busy” can turn into a distraction that keeps you from doing the things you need to be doing to propel yourself and your business forward. Let me introduce you to one of the most important words you will ever think or say: “yet”. If you add that to the end of a sentence you will feel less overwhelmed and more hopeful. You will know that you can solve any problem and you can learn any new skill. Repeat after me, “I haven’t learned that, yet.”
2. Be proud! Studies have shown that having pride in your work actually makes you work twice as hard. There are two different kinds of pride and while we might be taught that it is a deadly sin, there are actually benefits to pride when it comes from a genuine place. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you feel more confident celebrating your pride:
Are you proud because you tried something new that you never thought you would be able to do? (*hint: you are only competing with yourself)
Does your pride come from a place of compassion? Maybe you are proud of something you did that benefited those around you.
Did you work really hard and put in a lot of effort to achieve it?
Does it motivate you to want to do more?
If you answered "YES!" to any of these (or all of them) then shout yourself out!
For more information on this study you can read Take Pride by Jessica Tracy.
3. Recognize the days of the week and times of day that you are most creative. Work on your business during those times. There is no rule that says your week is supposed to start on a Monday and that you are supposed to dread that day. My week starts on Wednesday because I have found that I have the most energy at the end of the week. Mondays and Tuesdays I usually have less energy so I am sure to set aside time to do something that fills my cup on those days.
While it might be quicker to go down the path that has been paved for you, it might be worth it to take your time paving your own. Just as we learn to be present in our lives, it is equally as important to be present in our businesses and enjoy the journey.