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How to Find Time

Start by asking yourself if time is really the issue.

Scott Young

Read when you’ve got time to spare.

There’s never enough time.

You want to exercise, eat well and be healthy. But the day slips by and you don’t go to the gym. You eat that muffin for lunch, instead of the salad you thought you would.

You want to do great work, advance your career, produce something meaningful. But your email inbox is overflowing. A coworker drops by to, “ask a quick question.” Soon the working day is done, and you’re exactly where you were the day before.

You want to learn a language, guitar, to paint or martial arts. If you could just put time in consistently, you could make it happen. But it stops more than it starts, and years go by while it remains just a notion.

Where to Find Time

The first thing to realize is that time is rarely the problem. Yes—it is limited. But your attention, energy and enthusiasm is more limited than that.

Thus start creating habits. Inertia is a bigger enemy than a lack of time. You’ll be surprised how much materializes, once you simply start doing the things for a few minutes a day.

The second thing to realize is that a list of unfulfilled things isn’t a problem to eliminate. It’s our challenge as human beings to experience finite lives in an infinite world. To pick one thing, out of innumerous possibilities.

Thus prioritize your goals. Say no to the things that don’t meet your criteria. Start with saying no to the things you don’t even realize you’re saying yes to right now. Above all, be content with having done one thing that mattered, rather than a dozen which do not.

The third thing to realize is that our fears and frustrations unconsciously drive what we have time for. The fear of getting started, making a mistake or looking foolish conspire in the background to leave, “I have no time,” as the most attractive excuse.

Thus put your fears first. If it is important, do it. If it is unpleasant, do it now. Facing down the things that scare you has the unintended effect of those same things turning out to be not so scary after all.

You Have the Time

Not for everything. Not even for most things. But for the things that matter.

Maybe you only have a few minutes each day. Then use those few minutes.

Maybe it’s fragmented, distracted and prone to interruption. Then cut it up, spread it out and let it be put on pause.

Just don’t let it slip away unknowingly, another day without a moment spent on the things that matter most to you.

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This post originally appeared on Scott Young and was published February 5, 2019. This article is republished here with permission.

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