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Time Warp

Around the holidays, once the smoke has cleared and uncle Bob has gone back to Minnesota, many of us begin to reflect on the past year. Perhaps we sit down in front of the monitor and tune-in to our favorite sensationalistic video-montage of The Year In Review. The highs and lows of our dynamic world synthesized into a 60-minute broadcast. Always captivating, usually a little depressing, and for the most part, a waste of time.

That said, reflection is incredibly powerful! And when it’s serving personal or professional growth objectives it’s Step-One. For example; when the year began you had a belief system in place. Perhaps you had plans to start a business. Those perspectives created certain expectations. What actually happened? If you were producing a docudrama of your year in review, what would it look like? You had goals and expectations, right? What worked out like you thought it would, and what didn’t?

In coaching sessions, when I ask individuals and businesses what kept them from achieving their objectives, the answer is frequently “we didn’t have time, I couldn’t find the time, we just ran out of time, I lost my time, my dog ate my time.” Before the awakening, I used to say things like that too. Today I understand, with the exception of crazy, unrealistic goals, they are all just excuses! Some better than others.

Time is a road trip—you’re either in the car going somewhere cool, or you’re sitting on the couch waving goodbye.

If you have goals and believe time is the issue, the best place to start is with a realistic audit. How much time do you spend, doing what and why? Let’s break it down like James Brown.

Tracking Time

Let’s start with a generous allocation of time across the big consumers. Everyone's schedule is unique, I just want to start the conversation, doesn’t need to be down-to-the-minute and don’t get hung up on the details. Fill out your personal audit as we go, and be realistic.

Hours Per Week Invested

Working- 40

Sleeping- 56

Commuting- 8

Family- 20

Fitness- 6

Chores- 12

Spiritual- 3

Total Time - 145

Ok, what did I leave off? I understand many of you work more than forty hours a week. Having lived in Los Angeles, I would believe you if you told me your commute was 15+ hours a week—depending. I also know some of you don’t have family, so substitute friends or hobbies in that segment. Maybe you workout two hours a day (you probably don’t have kids), or volunteer at church a few days a week. Write it down and add it up. Are you somewhere in the area of 130 - 140 hours per week?

Here’s the rub, there are 168 hours in a week, what are you doing with the other 20+ hours?

If we are being honest with ourselves, we know the answer to this question. If you are looking for a second opinion, here is what the Bureau of Labor Statistics has to say in its American Time Use Survey. No real surprises here.

According to the Government (I know, but it’s the best data we have), the average American, over the age of 15 years has 5-hours of leisure time a day. Over half of that time is spent staring into a monitor of some kind. Which is totally cool, unless you are complaining that you can't get anything done because you don’t have the time.

For you guitar players, time is like a Fender Telecaster, there is no place to hide. Let’s break it down again and be conservative with our ambition. We know we have somewhere around 5-hours of leisure time a day. Conservatively we can apply3 hours a day in our model.

Our 3-hrs x 365 days = 1,095 hours. We don’t want to be obsessed so take out holidays and vacation days. Let’s say we treat it like a job and call it 250 days per year. 3 hrs x 250 days = 750 hours.

Guys, that’s a 15-hour a week part-time job if you are trying to get out from under crushing debt. It’s enough time to start a business or a band, learn a language, become a yoga instructor or a nuclear physicist for crying out loud. Can you swear on the internet? I want to. Seven Hundred and Fifty Hours is a blank-load of time! Stop wasting it. Put it to work for you!

Here are a few ideas to get you started.

  • Put Your Phone Down

  • Get Off The Internet

  • Turn The TV Off

  • Stop Gossiping and Complaining

  • Get Up Earlier

  • That's Right, Get Up Earlier

  • Apply Kaizen Principals To Home Chores, AKA Work Smarter

  • Eliminate Redundant Travel

  • Create And Follow A Schedule

  • Set Alarms

  • Close Email When On Task

  • Take The Time To Do Things Right—The First Time

  • Focus And Stay On Task

There are so many variables and opportunities to leverage precious time. The bottom line is this; if it’s really important to you, if you really want it, you can find the time. Stop making excuses and start making plans.

There is a path that leads to greater measures of fulfillment, joy, and happiness. Join me for the inspiration, perspectives, and tools you need to break out of the status quo and make something special happen in your life. Subscribe and let’s continue the conversation.


Rich McDonald.

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