The Myth of Time (And Why Most People Will Never Have Time)

The Myth of Time (And Why Most People Will Never Have Time)

People often say they have no time.
They shouldn’t say that. The truth is they have no ability.

Let me explain

It used to take me two whole days to write an article. And when the article was complete, I wasn’t sure it was even good enough for publication. I had, as you probably know by now, an article graveyard. But if anyone asked me to do something on those two days of the month, I’d say:  “I have no time.”

What I should have said was: “I have no ability.”

I had no ability to write, to conceptualise and to execute.

No ability with writing, or working with InDesign or creating podcasts or whatever I was supposed to do. And of course when you have no ability, you feel like a doofus if you go around telling the world you’re a doofus.

So I said: “I have no time.”

What I did have was persistence

I wanted to take three months off every year. And if I was to squeeze nine twelve months of work in nine months, I had to sharpen up my abilities. So I wrote. I cursed. But I wrote. I cursed a lot more. But I wrote. And I went from lousy to average. And average to good. And from good to—pleased as punch with myself.

But let me classify why I feel so pleased with myself

When I wrote my first book, it took me a week. That book, if you want to call it a book was 16 pages long. When I sat down to beef up that book it took me three months.

Three months later, I had a book that kinda snuggled into a hundred pages or so. That was then. Last year I wrote a 120 page book, did all the cartoons, did all the layouts, cover design, audio version of the book (including audio cover design and tagging) in one week.

As you can see those lessons in InDesign and the persistence of writing paid off. But so did dozens of failed audio podcasts and crazy layouts. Eventually what happened to me, is what happens to most people who persist relentlessly. They get so freakin’ fast, that to the outside world it looks like talent.

And it’s not talent at all.

You should have heard the cursing.
You should have been there when I was lower than a benthos (that’s a bottom feeder).

But I knew one thing

No one was going to give me any extra time. It was up to me. I had to get faster. But not faster. But faster and better. And the only way to do that, was to stop the excuses (and the cursing).

But what do you do if you really don’t have the time?

Well for one, you waste enormous amounts of time. I’ve seen ‘busy’ people driving around listening to the radio. They say they have no time. What’s on the radio that’s so freakin’ interesting?

Probably some stupid political debate which is pointless to your future anyway. Or some music you’ve heard twenty gazillion times before. What should be on that ‘radio’ is an audio recording where you learn about marketing, or business, or something that enriches your mind.

When you’re waiting in line, you have time.

When you’re out for a walk or exercising, you have time.
When you’re headed back from dropping off the kids, you have time.

But hang on, you’re not an audio kind of person.

You like to read transcripts. Oh, is that so? Did you know that most kids can’t read a darned thing before they’re almost six or seven years old. Yet they learn customs, languages and hundreds of things purely through audio learning.

So let’s say, yes, you have a bias for transcripts or the written word

That I can understand. But so what? Put on the audio anyway. When you listen to the news, you don’t need a transcript. When you listen to music, you don’t have this overwhelming need for lyrics.

So use the same concept for audio learning. Use up the time you have. So what if you don’t remember 98% of what you hear? Listen to it anyway, because it boosts your ability even if you just retain a measly 2%.

Load your bag with a Kindle or some device where you can read on the go.

Yes, yes I can almost hear the other stupid excuse of how you like to read books on paper—but try carrying those books with you wherever you go. Instead of the silly mundane excuses, change the way you do things.

When you’re waiting for your laptop to boot up, read something.

While the waiter brings you your coffee, read something else.

Find every darned moment of the day to improve your ability. Some situations will lend themselves to text. Some won’t and you’ll need audio instead. You should be prepared to squeeze out every possible wasted moment, because they add up pretty quick.

And then when you’re back at your desk, sign up for a course that will kick your butt.

Not some ‘namby pamby’ course that lets you do whatever you feel like doing. But sign up for a course where you feel fear on your credit card—and where the person conducting the course will kick you out for missing so much as a day’s assignment.

And for heaven’s sake, don’t sign up for anything that promises instant success—because you will. Some joker will come along with his surfboard and promise you some instant knowledge, and you’ll do what you’ve done before. You’ll sign up and you’ll be further away from your ability than ever before.

Instant success takes too much time.

It assumes you don’t need ability.
And the truth is quite the opposite, as you’ve figured.

You have time.

You have loads of time.
But you have too many excuses.
And way too little ability.

Ditch the excuses. Top up the ability.

And you get what top performers have—loads of time. It’s as they say: If you want a job done, give to a busy person.

Time you got busy, eh?

Do  you have a story  about wasting time ? Or how you manage your time? Share it here

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Luis Depazos, Entrepreneur, Miami, Fl. USA
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“Because of previous less than impressive experiences with sites that are all sizzle and no substance run by flaky gurus. Sean’s free advice and articles are so good I didn’t think that he could come up with something even better. He does.

When I joined,  I found a wealth of practical information and advice on all sorts of topics related to small business, marketing (both online and offline), interviews with experts, critiques of members’ websites and their marketing material. Sean is there answering queries and questions, sometimes even turning advice that
into an article.

Mixing with people from all over the world which allows you to get a truly international response to your questions or requests for help is one of the big bonuses of belonging.The 5000bc members are really friendly and there seems to be a complete absence of ego which is often the bane of a lot of online forums.

Free resources available to members which you don’t read or hear about outside 5000bc, not to mention free access to articles which later become paid products are added bonuses of being a member. You also get information about classes and workshops which Sean is planning before the general public is informed.

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend 5000bc as a valuable resource to help you with your business and the free coaching.”
Stephen Trevarthen
Melbourne, Australia

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  1. says

    HI Sean,

    These are just the excuses all of keep making, sometime or the other! and surprisingly we have a justification for all the reasons and excuses that we make. However, I do strongly believe that where there is a will- there will be a way out- only if you want to take it out!

    Thanks for sharing :)

  2. says

    I am all for learning and such. I know that brain stays plastic! Yet, even looking at my body, my stomach is better at processing food than my lungs… do you agree?

    I learn what’s critical. So that if I’m stuck, and there’s no one to fix it, I can. :)

  3. says

    hey Sean, good topic and timely. Another way to save time, is to hire people who are already good at what they do. But sometimes, particularly us entrepreneurs, want to do every thing ourselves, and I have experienced that I disable people who know how to the things that I am barely good at doing, and I end up not doing it or doing it below mediocre. I know that money and paying for something is a hurdle. But if we could measure the costs of not paying to somebody who does something well, I know I would be in the red.

    I am all for learning and such. I know that brain stays plastic! Yet, even looking at my body, my stomach is better at processing food than my lungs… do you agree?

    Thank you for your inspiring words and every generous writings,


  4. Susan says

    I listen to books and lectures on tape when I walk the dog, fold laundry, on my commute, etc. I read books on both my Kindle and my iPhone, and make the most of my time when waiting in line or a lunch. However, I completely disagree that we must fill every waking moment with learning of some kind. I think it’s critical to use some of the time to every day to reflect, consider, meditate. Our world is so loud (literally and figuratively). Without time for quiet reflection, we miss out on some of the aha moments — making connections between seemingly disconnected situations, thoughts, etc.

    • says

      I’m sorry if that’s what I said. And I probably said that too :(

      It’s absolutely critical to have down time. The down time is what makes the up time so productive :)

      However, I completely disagree that we must fill every waking moment with learning of some kind. I think it’s critical to use some of the time to every day to reflect, consider, meditate. Our world is so loud (literally and figuratively). Without time for quiet reflection, we miss out on some of the aha moments — making connections between seemingly disconnected situations, thoughts, etc.

  5. Jen says

    I waste a lot of time reading articles online and joining up for expensive programs to learn how to do things I already have the ability to do but the marketer effectively influenced me into thinking I did not.

    I waste a lot of money that way, too.

    I agree with your point, and your writing program certainly sounds like the real deal. But I would add that some of us waste time NOT due to our lack of ability, but to our lack of belief in our ability.

    Your marketing pieces for the writing program thus far have started to mesmerize me again into thinking I don’t have an ability that I must therefore pay a lot of money to get. Instead of writing this morning, I find myself doubting my ability to write.

    Doubt is definitely a time-waster. How do I stop? It seems I must filter out emails and blogs that raise my anxieties about my professional abilities like I filter out tv ads that make me anxious about my beauty and body odor.

    Perhaps what I’m saying is I would have appreciated this article a lot more if it was not embedded with the pitch for your writing program. And because it was, I’m feeling cautious about reading further emails from you.

    • says

      Jen, don’t mind me :)
      I will embed a pitch in a lot of articles, but at the very core the article is still good value. And you bring a great point across. I’ve seen people not succeed because they lack belief. And that’s what I seek to do with whatever we do with clients. First factor is one of confidence. Everything follows from there.

      But I would add that some of us waste time NOT due to our lack of ability, but to our lack of belief in our ability.

  6. says

    I resisted listening to audios for a long time because I’m one of those people who prefers to read transcripts. It may also be a bit of an introversion thing. I worry that audios and videos are going to demand too much emotional energy to consume. That’s been a big part of my resistance.

    Then we bought an elliptical trainer which is a fantastic way to get aerobic exercise and it’s also freaking BORING. I can’t even read because of the up and down motion.

    So I began listening to all those audios sitting on my hard drive and it made the whole workout a lot more fun and interesting.

    I DO make an effort to listen to recordings that are lively and funny which helps a lot. I find interviews to be best if there’s a good moderator because you get the energy of both people.

    So I’m slowly edging my media habits into the 21st century. I may even start watching videos!! one of these days.


  7. says

    Nobody manages time. We manage our activities within a certain time, whether it be the five minutes in the queue or a lifetime. I normally do not respond to articles I receive (time wasters) but this one hits a nerve. Firstly I would like to applaud you on your articles. This leads me to one of my great time savers. Your articles are relevant, concise, easy to read, sometimes funny, and extremely informative. And I love your cartoons. I have over 200 of your articles saved and indexed according to subject (for quick and easy reference when I need them) – definitely a time saver (your articles and my filing system). My favorite: when I wake up, I get up. How many people toss and turn unnecessary hours away in bed. I normally rise at 04h00 as I get more done before my staff arrive, than with all the interruptions during the day. This morning I happened to wake at 02h15 so I got up. Since then I have completed a 6 page business profile for a client, written an article for my other website, written and article for a client, placed my orders for today with suppliers, taken my son to school, prepared my schedule for myself and my staff members and am now writing to you. It is just past 06h30. Now that’s what I call the beginning of a successful day. I make my list of six most NB things – attend to them first and then to other things. I do them as fast as is possible without compromising efficiency and move on. I read/listen/learn in every spare moment and am only writing this because time is one of our priceless commodities and your articles increase the value of my time. THANKS!!! Anne PS: I also check my mails early morning, saw your mail, read it, filed it and responded. Have a great day.


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