One of the big challenges many of my clients say they have is related to Time Management. The common complaint seems to be: “I don’t have enough time to do it all” But the “I don’t have enough time to do it all” syndrome is a myth.

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Busting the “I don’t have enough time” myth

Busting the "I don't have enough time" myth One of the big challenges many of us face these days is related to Time Management.

The common complaint seems to be:

“I don’t have enough time to do it all”

But the “I don’t have enough time to do it all” syndrome is a myth.

It’s a myth because the problem isn’t that you don’t have enough time. The problem is being unrealistic about what can be physically achieved in the time you have.

Why are you trying to do it all in the first place? If you do this, you are setting yourself up to fail before you have even started.

There is always enough time to physically do what can be done in the hours you have.

Let me explain:

If you have 2 hours to get stuff done, then you have enough time to do what can be done in 2 hours.

Quite clearly you don’t have time to do it all, as that would be totally unrealistic. And yet so many people continue to pursue trying to do more than is possible in the time they have.

And thereby lies the solution:

1. Stop trying to do it all.

2. Stop trying to do more than is possible in the time you have.

I know this can seem like a tall order. I face the same challenge myself. One of my core values is that my business has to operate around how I want to live and my most important relationships. So I am constantly trying to find creative ways to develop and operate my business.

Whenever I fall into being unrealistic about what can actually be physically done in the time I have, things become more challenging, both professionally and personally. I have to constantly remind myself that I have more than enough time to do what can be done in the time I have allotted to the different roles of life . Anything else is me being unrealistic.

How about you? Does this ring any bells with you?

Choose to drop the “I don’t have enough time to do it all” syndrome.

Choose the mantra “I have enough time to do what can be done in the time I have”

Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  1. Have a look at where you are being unrealistic about what you can physically fit into the time you have.
  2. Work out what is realistic for you to achieve in the time you have based on what is most important to you, your core values and your vision for how you want things to be.
  3. Create your goals and action plans based on point 2.
  4. Focus on what is most important first. That way, if you do have to drop balls it will never be the most important ones.

The point I am making is this:

The feeling of not having enough time is a choice. That feeling is avoidable if we get to grips with what is realistic in the time we have.

Busting the myth reduces feelings of stress, overwhelm and frustration. It requires a mindset shift. Give it a go.

So, what are you going to do to bust your own “I don’t have enough time” myth?

Download a free self-assessment workbook and practical guide to get better results with any goal.

  • I create a “not to do” list. While it’s easy to add items to a “to do” list, by contrast I find it’s agonizingly difficult to add “not to do” items. However, the reward makes it well worth the effort. Although I still struggle with trying to “do it all”, the progress is very empowering.

    Great post. Thanks!

  • I really like this idea Rick. I have a similar thing where I put things in monthly bucket lists. So for example if I have stuff taking up brain space, if I say I am not doing that until two months time I write it on that months list to free up my brain space in the present.

    Thanks for dropping by.

  • I’ve really adapted the philosophy that it’s impossible to manage time, but to manage ourselves within time. As of late setting, high yielding activities as my priorities (high yielding tie directly into my immediate and intermediate goals) I find that I stress a lot less and oh, I’ve begun shutting down ALL distractions while doing my digital work. Phones, Twitter, FB and email. Killers! lol (I know you’re talking about more than just us digital marketers but this has been helpful to me)

  • I’ve really adapted the philosophy that it’s impossible to manage time, but to manage ourselves within time. As of late setting, high yielding activities as my priorities (high yielding tie directly into my immediate and intermediate goals) I find that I stress a lot less and oh, I’ve begun shutting down ALL distractions while doing my digital work. Phones, Twitter, FB and email. Killers! lol (I know you’re talking about more than just us digital marketers but this has been helpful to me)

  • Tony,
    You have hit the nail on the head. It isn’t about time managment, it is about self management. Important distinction.
    Love your point on high yielding activities and eliminating distractions. Spot on.

    Thanks for dropping by my friend

  • Tony,
    You have hit the nail on the head. It isn’t about time managment, it is about self management. Important distinction.
    Love your point on high yielding activities and eliminating distractions. Spot on.

    Thanks for dropping by my friend

  • Tony,
    You have hit the nail on the head. It isn’t about time managment, it is about self management. Important distinction.
    Love your point on high yielding activities and eliminating distractions. Spot on.

    Thanks for dropping by my friend

  • As soon as I start feeling any kind of overwhelm that has me say “I don’t have time” I step back and take a look at my integrity. Where have I said yes to something and not kept my word. Did saying yes to something or someone displace a commitment to myself? Asking myself these questions always has me get back to that place of choice and make a course correction if needed. 

  • Sue, your last line hits the nail on the head – we need to manage our expectations and focus on what is within our sphere of control and influence and take action accordingly.

  • Great point Sandi. Isn’t it interesting how difficult people find it to say “no” to things even if it costs them in some way? As you point out, we need to remind ourselves that whatever situation we have got into, it has always been by a choice we have made.

  • Ali,

    I agree. Not having enough time is an excuse and a myth.

    Many times our time is wasted to unessential stuff. Making a time audit at times helps to see these “black holes”.

    Also, I find this question to be related to the type of task you want to tackle. If it is a boring task, you may have difficulties of finding time. However, if you are passionate about something, finding time rarely seems to be an issue 🙂

  • Hi Timo,
    A time audit is a great idea and something I often get my clients to do. It really does allow us to see where we are overscheduling and gets the focus on what we are choosing to spend our time on and if it is the most important stuff.

  • Sue Mitchell

    Ali, this is a great reframe of the “I don’t have time” frustration, which is very close to my heart. Barbara Sher’s book Refuse to Choose helped me see that I actually can do it all if I expand the timeframe I’m trying to work within, and that has been extremely liberating. I’d be lying if I said I don’t still get frustrated that things don’t move along faster, but at a certain point, no matter how well you manage your time, there still isn’t enough. Time to change your expectations.

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  • “If you have 2 hours to get things done, then you have enough time to do what can be done in 2 hours.” Whaaaaaat? That’s blasphemy, I say! Cram in a million expectations, then act suprised and shamed when you only finish, say, 6 of them. That’s how I do it, anyway. 🙂 🙂

  • You are not alone. That is the path of many. But, in the fight to use our time more effectively the mantra “less is more” applies!!

  • Anne Parris

    This was really good for me to read on a Monday morning. I’ll implement this today. Thanks, Ali!

  • Good for you Anne. Taking action is when the magic happens. “Action is the foundational key to all success.” – Pablo Picasso

  • Glad you liked it. So important the way we frame these things in our minds as our mindset drives our actions.

  • Makes a lot of sense. We are constantly setting ourselves up to fail before be even begin by over scheduling.

  • So true Rena. The question to ask ourselves is “what can I do, change or put in place to set myself up to succeed?”

  • ClickMe

    This is great! There are some phrases/words that we need to learn to keep out of our vocabulary. “I don’t have enough time” is definitely one of them.

  • Yes indeed. What we tell ourselves and teh language we use has a huge impact on our reality and how we behave.

  • LOVE this…

    When I think, “I have all the time in the world,” I relax and enjoy doing what I am doing. And that is priceless.

  • You are so right Karen – it is priceless.

  • I have to admit that my time management skills are worse in retirement when I have more time. Just a few years ago I had two jobs and lived in two homes 3000 miles apart and kept it all straight. Today? Not so much! and I live in one home in one place.

  • Carol, that is really interesting. I find it helpful to shift the mindset from time management to self management. Seems to give a more direct focus on where the attention needs to be to be more effective.