Are You Too Busy?
The outcome of your life will be determined by where, how and with whom you spend your “extra time.”
If you looked back at my life using time-lapse photography, you would find much of my time had been invested into sports. Whether practicing, competing on the field, track, ice or mat, reading, studying, discussing and or coaching others, I have logged a lot of hours on the world of athletics.
You might think in 47 years I would have learned all there was to learn about sports, but this weekend I got schooled. As you can imagine, with my amount of time spent, I have received a number of lessons. I know it is cliche to use sports as a metaphor for life, but I have a powerful idea that will both challenge and help you. Like many lessons that can come from sports, I was lucky to trip over this one because of how the ball (and puck and puke!) happened to bounce.
On Saturday evening, I took my kids to a minor league hockey game. Although I played ice hockey for years, when the game went into “extra time,” I learned they play 3 on 3 in the minors.
On Sunday morning, I took my daughter to her swim meet. Although I have been to dozens of meets, when a kid throws up in the pool, I learned they take a mandatory 30 minutes of “extra time” to disinfect it.
On Sunday afternoon, I watched the two NFL championship games. Although I have been on the sidelines for many NFL games, when a championship game ends regulation in a tie, I learned they have a different set of rules for “extra time.”
In each case above, I learned something new. When I dug deeper, I realized each experience taught me new purposes and ways to utilize “extra time.” In the case of the hockey game, the extra time was used as an experiment with the 3 on 3 to try something different from the NHL and see the impact. In the case of the swim meet, the extra time was used for an exact protocol to insure safety. In the case of the two NFL games (which by the way, extra time had never happened before in two championship games on the same day!), the extra time was used to make sure there would be a definitive winner not completely based on luck. After those experiences this weekend, here are 5 “truths” I discovered about extra time:
Extra time is rare.
Extra time is special.
Extra time has a unique set of rules.
Extra time doesn’t usually last long.
Extra time often decides the final outcome.
Inspired by these new insights, on Sunday night, instead of reviewing only the mandatory things I had to do in the upcoming week to successfully play the game of life, I also examined my schedule to find some “extra time.” In sports, finding extra time is easy. If a game ends in a tie, you will find yourself going into extra time. Finding extra time in life, however, is not so simple. Your day probably isn’t structured like a sports contest with clear cut times and scores. As a result, your extra time may seem like it doesn’t appear at all. So, before you can worry about how to use your extra time, you first have to make extra time available.
How To Find Some “Extra Time”
Do you ever feel like you have no time for yourself? If you are like me, your life probably seems like an endless stream of responsibilities and commitments. Whether your day revolves around work, your family or taking care of others, you probably don’t seem to have hours of extra time. You may even feel guilty like you don’t deserve it! Well, 168 hours a week is rightfully available to you and everyone else.
If you can agree everyone gets the same amount of time, but feel you have no extra time available, then you have either a scheduling, prioritizing, or discipline problem. That means you either need to schedule some extra time, prioritize your extra time, or manage your life to create more “extra time.” To fix your lack of “extra time” you simply need to fix one of those problems. Here is a list of 5 simple ways to do it to find some extra time:
1. Make A Serious Commitment
To prove you understand the importance of extra time, you must commit to get some for yourself.
2. Schedule In The “Extra”
Once you have committed, take control and make room for extra time.
3. Stick To Your Other Schedule
Once you have your schedule set, stick to it. That includes finishing other things on time so it doesn’t take your extra time away.
4. Shut Off The Distractions
Turning off your phone and computer are two quick ways to be more efficient and productive.
5. Remove Your “Time Suckers”
Make sure you create start and end times for your social media and email.
After you have made the commitment, scheduled it in and found the discipline to create your extra time, then you need to figure out what to do with it to make sure it doesn’t become wasted time. Before I share my 5 ways to spend your extra time, I want you to remember how you use your extra time is up to you. My suggestion would be to start with what you would like to do. Is there anything you keep saying you will do “someday?” Instead create the extra time with the list above and do it today! If you are looking for some ideas, here is a list of 5 ways you can’t go wrong spending your extra time to grow yourself:
5 Great Ways To INVEST Your Extra Time
Working out is one of the first things to go when people get “busy.” Schedule in 3-4 workouts a week and you will find the energy you create will only buy you more time.
2. Read (Or Write)
Are there any books you would like to read? Or is there one you would finally like to write? Create some time and start chipping away at that next great novel.
3. Take Up A Hobby
Do you want to learn a martial art, language or to play an instrument? Is there a hobby you dream of taking on? Stop dreaming. Start doing.
4. Family Time
Don’t keep wishing you had more time with your family. Put it in the schedule. You and your kids are only young once. Don’t miss it.
5. Volunteer (Coach)
Would you like to use your skills and experience to help someone else? You will find investing extra time in someone else could be the real reward.
Now that I have shown you how to create extra time and given you some suggestions on how to use it, I want to remind you that your extra time is a terrible thing to waste. In fact, I believe you already have extra time available. You may just be using some of the following “time killers” that make you feel “busy” and “overwhelmed.”
5 Terrible Ways To SPEND Your Extra Time
1. Watching TV, Internet, Video Games
I am not saying never to enjoy a show or two, but if you never have time for the 5 great ways listed above, time to turn off the tube and get serious about growing yourself.
2. Reading Email Over And Over
Monitor how much screen time you use a week. If it is 4-5 hours a day, remember active doesn’t mean productive.
3. Complaining Or Gossiping With Negative People
Whining about life or the lives of others gets you nowhere. Neither does hanging with people with no intention of going anywhere.
4. Constantly Updating Your Life Or The Lives Of Others
Social media can be a great thing. Make sure you schedule your time before 4 hours a day of worrying about “likes” and “views” makes it a time waste.
Are you often “getting ready to get ready?” Treat every minute like it counts (because it does!)
So does all of this work? This week, I put the ideas above to the test. Although my schedule was packed as usual, I scheduled in some “extra time” and as a result, I grew.
On Monday morning, I presented as the keynote at a track and field conference. Although I have presented at 100s of events, when my speech was over, I learned you can grow when you plan to use your “extra time.”
In the past, after I finish presenting at events, I am often so busy that I get right on the road. I don’t often have the extra time to listen to all the other presenters. At the conference on Monday, I scheduled, prioritized and committed my extra time. As a result, I got to listen to and meet an Olympic medalist and world champion as well as a number of top college coaches. The information I learned was worth more than the extra time I spent on it.
The busier you get, the more valuable your “free” time will become.
Now it is your turn. Take this weekend to look at your schedule. If you can’t find some extra time, make some. And once you have the time, figure out exactly what you are going to do to make the time count.
Someday your time is going to run out. At the end of this game called life, you can either finish with more knowledge, skills and experience or nothing. To others, your life someday will look like it was a “win” or a “loss.” The choice of the outcome of the game isn’t up to chance. What you achieve in life will be determined by how you use your extra time.
Yours In Strength,
Founder, Training For Warriors