“We don’t have an eternity to realize our dreams, only the time we are here.”
– Susan Taylor
What’s holding you back from accomplishing your dreams? I’ve worked with many people over the years and have heard a number of different reasons. One common reason I hear over and over is:
Time. Or rather, a lack of time.
We all need more time, and it’s true – if you don’t dedicate sufficient time to your dreams, they’ll fade away. I’ve discussed time management before, and today I want to talk about bullet-proof, dead simple ways to make time for your dreams. The powerful strategies I lay out below are time tested: not only are these strategies I recommend – they are all strategies I personally use in my life as well.
Five Dead Simple Ways To Instantly Make Time For Your Dreams
1. Just Do it – First Thing In The Morning
Sometimes the simplest advice really is the best advice. I call it paying yourself first with your time. If you’re constantly finding yourself stretched in the evening, and unable to work on your dreams during that time – then why not spend some time in the morning working on yourself and your dreams instead?
Get up half an hour early, an hour early – whatever you need to do to make yourself a priority in your own life.
When you hear the word “outsource” you might think of virtual assistants in a foreign country handling business while you sleep. While I do have experience with that, you can also outsource everyday tasks fairly cheaply to people in your own area – and my favorite example is household chores.
One of the most popular articles on this site is my story of how I stopped my cooking (and even most of my shopping) by outsourcing my meals on Craig’s list. I’ll give you the punchline – it turns out that you can put a price on your dreams, and the price of my dreams is only $60 a week. $60 a week bought me enough time to work on some things I was simply stretched too thin to work on before.
Outsourcing my cooking immediately freed up the time I needed. What’s more, once I had a value for those spare hours, they meant so much more to me, because I had paid money to get them – and I spent those hours working out, working on my personal goals, and there’s no value you can place on the satisfaction I got knowing I had actively taken control of my own life.
If you do want to outsource business or personal tasks that can be done remotely, you may be interested in reading about my experience using virtual assistants.
There are a number of ways people waste time online, from games to social networking to reading news articles. One of my personal vices (and one that I still have to be conscious of to keep in check) is wasting too much time reading news and articles online. If you’re reading articles just for entertainment value, then maybe it’s time to take a step back and put that time aside instead for your dreams.
If you absolutely must keep up with a large amount of information (for example, perhaps as part of your job) I recommend streamlining your online reading – here’s how I keep up with over 10,000 articles, blog posts and forum discussions a week. You may not be able to cut down the amount of information you need to absorb – but why not try to make the process itself more efficient?
Side note: Spending too much time dealing with email? Check out my article on strategies for dealing with email overload.
4. Drop Some Commitments
There’s nothing complicated about this advice, but very often it is difficult to implement – and many people I’ve worked with believe their situation is an exception. In my experience, very seldom is a commitment or obligation a true exception that you absolutely must keep. Instead, typically what’s really going on is we try to put off dropping commitments because we feel a moral obligation, and a sense of integrity.
Most people we’re keeping commitments to however don’t necessarily view our involvement as strictly necessary, and the world will go on even if you drop a commitment. Trust me, I know – check out my article about canceling commitments.
5. Ditch The Urgent, Unimportant Tasks
You may have read this bullet and immediately identified with it. Think back to yesterday or perhaps earlier in the week, and you may remember a time where you spent hours on something that in the long run just didn’t matter. It wasn’t important to you or your life – but it was urgent. It had to be dealt with right away.
One example from my own life that I’ve stopped doing is clipping coupons. I realized one day that I was sometimes spending an hour on the weekend looking at sales and cutting out coupons that I never used. The task itself wasn’t important – I already had everything I needed to live. It was urgent though because if I didn’t do it right away, I was afraid I’d miss out on a deal.
For a more in depth discussion on Urgent versus Important, I invite you to review my article on Covey’s Time Management Matrix – illustrated with comics!
- Nerdy Productivity: Covey’s Time Management Matrix Illustrated with XKCD Comics
- More Important than Money – Paying Myself First With My Time
- Stop Wasting Time Online! Tips and Start Pages To Improve Concentration Online
- How To Actively Take Control of Your Time and Your Life
- A Powerful Time Management Strategy – The Time Budget
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