Lying About Your Time (aka how to learn to think really small)
by Robin Sacks
by Robin Sacks
During the last few months, with everything slowed down to a snail's pace because of covid 19, there are people who have accomplished very little, and there are people who have accomplished a lot.
During the last few months, I have written an average of three articles a week, I have interacted every single day on LinkedIn, which is the main platform I work with for my business, I have read several books (both print and audio), I've gotten back into the habit of daily meditation and I have started learning French via the free Duolingo app.
My reason for telling you this has nothing to do with me wanting to be arrogant or show-off; quite the contrary. My reason for telling you this is to motivate you by simply letting you know that it can be done with ease.
Though many people say, "If I had the time, I would do this or that," a lot of people came to the realization during these last few months that they're full of shit.
Because of this lie about your time, many people can never say to themselves honestly ever again, "If I had the time, I would do it." Because if you haven't done it over the past few months when you had nothing but time, you're not going to do it.
The question that begs to be asked is, WHY?
When you have exactly what you keep telling yourself you need - time - and still choose not to take any action, what's going on?
One thing that trips many people up is the fact that they believe it takes so much more time to do something that they want to do than it actually does.
One of the things that I found has helped me get a tremendous amount done in short bursts of time is what I call my "simple list."
I have a very basic list of nine things that must be done every single day without fail.
Now this isn't a regular to-do list; I don't keep one of those. When there are things I need to do, I put those things directly on my calendar. I find that strategy works much better than staring at a "to-do" list and dancing around it for a week realizing that you didn't get most of it done anyway.
The other problem with the standard to do list, in my opinion, is that it never ends! You just keep adding to it, while occasionally crossing things off. Whereas, if you put tasks directly into your calendar, you can check things off for the day or even assign them specific times where you're taking 5 or 10 or 15 or 30 minutes to do them...and then, they're done! It gives you a sense of accomplishment, and that feels good.
But, I digress.
The list I'm talking about is a list that walks with me every single day, and every single day it starts new. The exact same items are on it, and today starts an entirely new experience with that list.
Everyday is an opportunity to complete everything once again.
The things on that list are the things that matter most to me at that point in my life. Over the past year that I've been doing this, a couple things have come off that list, and a couple new things have been added to that list.
For example, when I decided to learn French earlier this year, spending some time on the Duolingo app got added to my list, and needed to be checked off every single day. Some days I spend ten minutes on it, while other days I find myself on it for half an hour.
The time doesn't matter - the consistency does.
Some things on my list are for me; for example, reading, meditation, and exercise. Some things are for my business; for example, "showing-up" on LinkedIn, writing, and publishing things I've written. Other things have to do with continued learning; for example, participating in online classes that interest me and Duolingo.
The reason this list is so important is because, just like you, I have days where I don't want to do anything. I have days where I just am lazy. I have weeks where I don't do a whole heck of a lot because I'm not "in the zone" or "in the mood" or I don't feel "motivated."
What that list does during those days and those weeks is make me check those nine things off anyway. Those are the days and weeks when I realize it doesn't take a whole lot of time to make a huge difference for yourself, your business, your health and well-being or your mindset.
Here are some example of how consistency, not time, has a huge payoff.
If I'm having one of those days, and at the end of the day I have not checked off "exercise," I don't allow myself to make an excuse that I can't sit down for a 30-minute yoga session or go to the gym to do a 1-hour cardio session.
That would not only be ridiculous, but it would never get done.
Instead, I hit the floor and make myself do a one minute plank. That's it! The reality is, if I do a one minute plank every night or every morning for a month, chances are pretty darn good that, after that month is over, my core strength and upper body strength are probably as strong as they've ever been, if not stronger.
If I haven't checked "meditation" off for the day, I don't need to sit down and do 15 minutes of meditation, instead I can do a 90-second meditation, which all of my meditation apps have.
If I get to the end of the day and I haven't "written," I don't tell myself I have to sit down and write an article or a chapter. Instead, I pick up a pen and a piece of paper and I make myself right three sentences. That's it. And guess what, I can check writing off for the day.
You might think that isn't enough to make a difference, and you'd be wrong. Guess what? If I simply write three sentences every single day, in a month, I'll have three or four articles that are able to be published.
When I decided, on a whim, to learn French, just to do something new and different, I downloaded the free Duolingo app. I didn't sign up for a French class, I don't have to go to a school, I don't have to show up somewhere after commuting there to sit in the classroom for an hour, two or three times a week and then drive back with more commute time. That's a lot of time and energy put into something that is completely unnecessary. Instead, I spend 15 minutes a day on an app in the palm of my hand. It's fun, it's a game, and I can put the competitive spirit into it by being surrounded by others learning because they want to learn.
My point with all of this is to show you how truly simple it is to do anything when you stop thinking big and you begin thinking small.
Have a goal, have an idea, have something big you want to accomplish, of course! But, if you don't break that big something into tiny little doable chunks, you will become overwhelmed quickly, and you will never accomplish what it is you set out to do.
Whether you have a lot of time, or you have a little bit of time, you can do anything you set your mind to doing.
The key is, whether you feel like it or not, whether you're motivated or not, whether you're in the mood to do it or not, do it anyway!
Little things done consistently get you big results.
Make a list today of just a few things you want to do more. Make a list of things that you would like to do that are new for you. You can even make a list of things that you no longer want to do; for example I didn't complain today or I intentionally took a breath before I spoke every time today and realized how much more calm and in control I was of everything I faced.
Don't ever tell yourself again, "If I had more time, I would do this."
Starting today, stop lying to yourself, and just do it, little piece by little piece.