Everyone hates to admit it, but you know it’s true. Time is our most important asset when it is used efficiently. We all have 24 hours in our timetables. No matter what someone says, we are the same. It’s the way we use our time that makes the difference.

Isn’t it fascinating how some people can maximize their productivity while others can but don’t? I’ve always wondered how someone like Elon Musk runs their business, stays healthy and functional, and leads a fulfilling life. Then I thought: He doesn’t have time for everything; he made time for the things that matter most to him.

The myth is that many people believe they don’t have the time to take up a sideline, learn a new skill or language, or read a book. It’s easy to fall into this trap. Think about it, you must have said NO to one of them before. I have. I do it all the time because I know it’s wrong. The trick to overcoming the “I don’t have time” myth is to become aware of it.

Here are 4 ways to keep track of things, find the excuses in your head, destroy them, and be extra productive.

1. Set 3 big goals for the month

I hate planning. It overwhelms me. Most of the advice out there is that you should outline your month, week, or day in advance. That you should make a detailed plan. It sounds like a chore if you ask me. Good time management and increased productivity shouldn’t come with more work, right?

The best way to achieve this is to set yourself 3 big goals at the beginning of each month. When you have a list of 15 destinations, just looking at them will destroy your drive. As a result, this leads to inaction and a decrease in motivation. However, when you write 3 goals on a piece of paper or a google doc it’s easy, doable, and manageable, and there’s nothing more empowering than having a go-getter mindset when looking at a list of goals.

2. Eat the biggest frog of the day

That’s in Brian Tracy’s book “Eat That Frog”. In it he describes big goals as frogs. When you wake up, you need to identify your toughest and most important task for the day and do it first thing in the morning.

Eating a large frog is important, preferably a task that requires energy and focus. For me, it’s writing a long article, article, or email. When I get up, I go straight to my Mac because I know I need to be one step ahead of my day before it gets carried away. You need to schedule an hour or two free from distractions to work efficiently and get meaningful results.

Again, the more goals you have, the harder it is to manage time and be more productive. Do this every day and every small step will lead to tremendous success.

“Time is something created. To say that I have no time means to say that I have no time. “- Lao Tzu

3. Prioritize and protect your time

As with money, it is important to pay attention to where your time goes. This is your first step towards effective time management. Choose an appropriate time to complete your most important tasks and protect that time with your life. By that I mean, never say yes to unexpected tasks. Life can easily escape you.

Also, most people underestimate time. They don’t know if you are busy or free and they will always ask you to hang out and have fun. Use this lack of knowledge to your advantage. It is better to act unavailable or active even when you are not. It makes it easy to say no to things that don’t add anything of value to your life. By protecting your time and spending it the way you want, you have more control.

The worst that can happen is when time controls you. This is what makes a person say “I don’t have time”. It just means that they are caught up in their own illusion and the sad part is that they have convinced themselves that they cannot change their situation. As a result, they lose hope and live the rest of their lives thinking that “because of a lack of time” there is no solution to their problems.

In short, be aware of how you spend your time and invest it in important needle-moving habits that will allow you to grow personally and professionally.

4. Hell yes or no

This concept is based on a book of the same name: “Hell yes or no: what’s worth it” by Derek Sivers.

When asked to do something, the answer should always be yes or no. If you don’t feel overwhelmed with pursuing a goal, question that decision. There shouldn’t be anything between hell yes and no.

Hence, we have to be selective about where our time goes. Before I take on new projects, I think about how much time I have to invest. I ask myself these questions:

  • What do I get out of it when it’s done?
  • Will it really be worth my time
  • How much time do I have to invest daily and weekly?

For example, I’ve always wanted to learn programming. Even if it’s boring – a clear red flag – I knew it was necessary for my writing business. Since I’m not a techie, I find programming ridiculously time consuming and uncomfortable. It will take me weeks, if not longer, to get decent so it won’t be worth my time. Instead, I can use this time to do other exciting things for myself.

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