If you haven’t read the Slight Edge, you should probably get on that. It’s an incredible book written by one of my favorite authors and people in general, Jeff Olsen. I don’t want to spoil the book by any means as I can’t possibly explain the Slight Edge theory better than the book itself can- but one of the biggest take-aways from the material is to BE CONSISTENT. Do something every day to get closer to your goals, no matter how small. It’s something I’ve struggled with in the past, as I’m sure 95% of everyone else does too. As I read the book I became more and more aware of how inconsistent my efforts have been to reach goals that I have set for myself, and I became more and more aware of how important it was that I START being consistent. Motivation comes after you begin.
Because I’d like you to read the book I won’t go into the obvious and un-obvious benefits of consistency. Instead, I’ll discuss a few struggles I’ve had when trying to be consistent and the best solutions I’ve found for ME to overcome these struggles. I capitalized ‘me’ so that you understand I’m not telling you what is going to work best for YOU. You’ve got to carve your own path.
Not enough time- If you’re anything like the hefty majority of the population who works a 9-5, you may struggle with time. Add on top of your normal job things like soccer practice, date night, dinner with the folks, overtime work and whatever other things you people with a life do and you’ve got quite the busy schedule! “Not enough time” is easily the number one objection I get when I talk about this sort of thing with people throughout the day. I ask someone what their goal is and they tell me.. then when I offer up something they could do every day to begin to reach that goal they immediately shut it down with “I don’t have time for that.” If pressed, I might even get a “I work forty hours a week, I don’t have time to do such-and-such, you wouldn’t understand.” (I work from home on my own schedule now.)
If “I don’t have the time” is your first answer then ask yourself, why not?
Recent studies suggest the average American watches around 34 hours of television a week. There are enough of those reports that I don’t even need to cite my source, I trust you can Google well enough. 34 hours a week comes to just under five hours every night.. and people tell me they “don’t have the time.” If you are one of those people who tell me “I don’t have a TV” or “I never watch more than one show a night” then you’re just like me! I don’t watch TV either! It doesn’t make me all that much more productive however, as I spend those five hours in front of my laptop screen instead… I’m sure there are folks out there who don’t watch that much TV or sit on the computer so long, but out of ten people I talk to, probably seven or so (that’s estimating low) will tell me they have no time. That means at least seven out of ten people I talk to are outliers or normal liars (That was a pun!) who are lying to themselves just as much as they are lying to me. If you aren’t willing to take an hour of your day, or even half an hour, to consistently move toward your goals because you “don’t have time” then maybe pause and reflect.. Do you not have time? Or is it easier to pretend you don’t?
I wonder how long it took you to read this far.. what else could you have been doing with that time? … “Man this Tyler is a smartass.”
Next item! – Genuinely not having time. This is for those of you who don’t have electricity and don’t have to worry about distractions like television or Facebook or Angry Birds. You’ve got six kids and each one is on a different soccer team. You have a full time job and a graveyard part-time shift. You have to commute an hour and a half each way, not even counting traffic. If you are one of those sunup-to-sundown folks, then you really may be desperate for time. If you only have half an hour to yourself at the end of the day and you’d prefer to spend that with your kids than anything else I’d feel silly persuading you to spend that time otherwise- so lets brainstorm creative ways to multitask and make something out of nothing.
Audiotapes or books can go on any Cd or iPod or iPhone (or Android) and usually can be played in any car with the help of an adapter. Tony Robbins’ Personal Power II, the audio program I’m listening to right now, is one that I have on my laptop, iPad and Android phone so I can listen to it when I’m driving. Lots of audio can be found for free at Amazon or Itunes, and others can be very cheap. In addition to making better use of your commute, sometimes you really get into what you’re listening to and the drive seems to take no time at all! Maybe that hour long commute doesn’t stress you out so much on your way home at night, and you’ve got that much more energy to spend time with your kids.
You might be on your Bluetooth the whole drive, talking to clients- no time for audio (again, do you have no time because you have to, or because its easier not to?). If that is the case then I encourage you to listen to it as you’re showering and getting dressed for the day, or when you’re in bed trying to get to sleep but can’t because your mind is too active. Listening to another voice may either 1. help you become a better person or 2. bore you and knock you right out. Both of those seem like winners to me.
If you think audio is dumb or if singing in your car is what really does it for you (I rock the mic when I’m on the road) then think about other areas in your life you can multitask. I don’t know what your goals are so I picked mine (Be better than I was yesterday).. maybe personal development audio will not further your goals in any way (I suggest this is not the case). If your goal is to become the county Knitting King/Queen, see if you can find an audio book on knitting! .. “Man, this Tyler is a smartass..”
I literally picked the silliest thing I could(I have friends who knit so I can make those jokes) and then googled ‘audio books knitting’. You know what came up? Tons of audio books about knitting. I’m tempted to buy the one called “Stitch N’ Bitch,” it sounds right up my alley.
The point of that example is that LOTS of people commute. I don’t want to search that number, I’ve already done an exhausting amount of research for this article (four minutes or so). If you happen to be someone who spends even just a half hour in the car every day ,odds are good there is audio you can listen to relating to your goal. Want to earn money? Think and Grow Rich is available in audio.Want to live a more fulfilled life? I recommend the Slight Edge. What if your goal is less about you or involves other people- say, your kids? If you drive your kids to school or to practice or anywhere for that matter, maybe you can find an audio book that you and your kids can listen to together and talk about later at dinner? Just throwing ideas out.
I only covered two pieces of a subject that I could probably talk about forever, but I don’t want this post to get too long.. I didn’t realize I’d have so much to say. I’ve used both of these examples myself as reasons to not work out in the morning or not do what I promised. If either of these time excuses are relevant to you I hope you spend some time considering what you’ve read. Before you get all up on me over the word ‘excuse’, let me admit that some excuses can be valid.. but they are still an excuse. Can you benefit from this? Could a spouse, or your kids?
The next time you tell someone “I just don’t have the time,” ask yourself;
1) Do I really not have time, or is it easier to say that instead of taking responsibility?
2) What creative way can I find to maximize the efficiency of the time I spend getting ready for work or for bed? Traveling in the car, on the bus, on a train, with a fox, in a box?