Earlier this week, after a busy extended weekend, I tucked-in my youngest daughter and she said something to me that caught me off guard. As I kissed her good night she uttered the following: “there’s so much to do, I’m not sure where I’ll find the time.”
Sounds a lot like something an adult would say, not a 9-year old child!
It occurred to me that she’s heard that saying before and it was most likely from me.
Like you, I have a busy life. I’m a father and husband, I have a full time job, and I have many other interests. In addition to my duties at work and home, I also manage to fit in some freelance projects for a few clients and myself. So when you factor everything in, time adds up.
I’d be lying if said that I’ve mastered the use of my time and successfully manage all of these priorities in a well-balanced manner. That’s why I’m confident that Stella’s “there’s so much to do and I’m not sure I’ll find the time” statement from the other night was simply her repeating the not-so-wise words of her father.
168 Hours Should Be Plenty
There are 168 hours in a week! When you consider this fact, it seems appropriate to wonder why we run out of time.
For me, it’s equal parts ‘procrastination’ and ‘lack of clarity’ mixed-in with a little ‘still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up’ and ‘not good at saying no to requests.’
Of all of those listed ingredients, the one that creates the most havoc in my life is my long, well-documented inability to say no. I find it hard to to say no because I don’t want to let people down and I’ve convinced myself that in every request lies a great opportunity. And that’s the lie I’ve bought into …. Not everything I’ve been ask to take part in is a great opportunity!
In the past, I’ve started every year by choosing three words in an effort to focus and guide my journey for that year. For 2016, I intentionally did not take this approach. Why? Because it wasn’t working. I got very good at justifying how what I was doing in that moment lined up with one or more of my three words.
HELL YEAH! Or No
My family, and my health, have been the primary “impact centers” of my too much to do and so little time lifestyle. Over the past few months, I’ve taken a long hard look in the mirror and came to realize that something needed to change. In late December, I finished Greg McKeown’s Essentialism book and the chapter titled “The Power of Extreme Criteria” is one that I’ve reread several time. In it, McKeown introduces us to Derek Sivers who coined the phrase “HELL YEAH! Or no.”
This phrase has stuck with me and I’m working very hard to use it to be more selective about what I’m getting involved in. Being a father and husband comes with many responsibilities and those are non-negotiable. It’s everything else that get’s me in trouble. So now, when something of interest catches my attention or an opportunity to get involved in something is presented, I’m using the “HELL YEAH! Or No” mantra to decide.
It’s quite simple, if I’m going to say yes, I have to be sure that it’s a “HELL YEAH” – which means, I’m all in! If that’s not the case, then I am forcing myself to say no. I continue to be a work in progress and my hope is that by using a more robust selection criterion, my family and my health won’t take a back seat.
Will I stumble? I’m sure of it!
But one thing is for sure, with 168 hours in a week, there’s no reason to ever say “there’s so much to do, I’m not sure where I’ll find the time” ever again!