One of the most common excuses I hear when someone says they can’t do something is “I don’t have time”.
All kinds of reasons pop up – they’re busy with their children, their husband, their job, or their studies. But the thing is: The problem isn’t time.
In this episode I share with you how I and others have made time. I talk about the amazing things people get done when they’re in the right environment, and why next time you want to use time as an excuse, you should think again. Is it really about time, or is it about setting priorities?
If you prefer reading, scroll down for the blog post!
What you will get out of this episode:
- Being busy vs. being lazy (1:42)
- Why decluttering is the best way to give you energy (4:36)
- Accountability and what it can do for you (5:52)
- The SOMBA Summer School experience (6:14)
- Why you get more done in the right environment (12:38)
You don’t think you have time? Think again
When I was a young girl, I realised something important about time. When I was busy, I got a lot of things done. I optimised every minute and even squeezed in projects that had been in the back of my mind for a long time. But when I wasn’t busy, I got less done. It was as if I had less time. I got bored and I didn’t have any energy to start new projects.
The concept of time is interesting. Some people never seem to have time, others always do. And yet, we all live in a world that has 24 hours in a day. We all have the same amount of time.
Of course it can happen that you feel as if you don’t have time. It happens to me too.
Taking Action Gives You Energy
Just last week, I arrived in Iceland for a workcation. I had two projects on my mind that I had been thinking about for quite a while – to clean up and de-clutter the bathroom and the storage room. These projects loomed over me and I thought I would never find the time to complete them. But on that Saturday, I decided to tackle the bathroom. In the end, it only took me one hour to go through all the cupboards, throw away clutter and arrange everything nicely.
Taking this action gave me energy for the whole day.
After a nice brunch with my stepsons and my husband, we decided to de-clutter the storage room. We had been talking about doing it for at least a year. It only took us two hours. Afterwards the storage room was clean, there was space and everything was accessible.
It was only 3pm and I had already crossed off the two projects that had been in the back of my head for months. It felt liberating. That day, I even squeezed in some hours of work and started reading a new novel.
Whenever you feel stuck or without energy, declutter. It’s one of the most effective ways to give you more energy. It also makes you realise that you can achieve a lot in just an hour.
The Power of Accountability
“I don’t have time” is one of the most common excuses I hear from people who don’t want to take action and get themselves to work.
When I was a Dale Carnegie trainer, I remember one particular assignment we gave to participants. In front of all the other participants, they had to announce a project they had been procrastinating on for a long time, and then finish that project within three weeks. Typical projects were decluttering the garage or storage space, but there was one woman who said she would completely re-do her kitchen. At the time I thought this project was a bit over the top. She was working full-time. But three weeks later, she stood in front of all the participants showing everyone pictures of her remodelled kitchen. I was amazed.
Why was it suddenly possible for the participants to finish a project in three weeks if they didn’t have time to do it in the three years before?
Because they felt accountable to finish the project on time.
They had announced it in front of 40 people and they didn’t want to come back without having finished it. It all comes down to accountability.
The Time of Year is No Excuse
I can give you another example. Last summer, I realised that my SOMBA students were not really planning to take action during the summer months. Everything seemed to slow down, for the only reason that it was summer. So I decided to do something about it.
I set up a challenge for them: Come up with a completely new online course within seven days. I promised to promote each course and help create it in the following weeks, and named the project SOMBA Summer School. When I announced the challenge in the Facebook group, the energy completely changed. A lot of people wanted to participate and within seven days, 122 of them had signed up – 30% of all the active SOMBA members! In the following weeks, I guided my students through creating an online course. One person ended up with 900 people signing up for her course.
The challenge was such a big success that when everyone shared what their biggest takeaway was, the testimonials were so positive and beautiful that we all ended up shedding a few tears. I especially remember one participant’s testimonial. She was a woman who had gone through divorce and was battling health issues, but still she participated in the challenge and created an online course where hundreds of people had signed up.
She said: “SOMBA Summer School saved my life.”
I’m aware that an online course probably doesn’t have the power to save someone’s life, but it had changed her life and business in a difficult moment. That’s why I was so moved by her testimonial.
I decided to organise SOMBA Summer School again this summer and had even more participants than the year before: 263 people signed up, which is 60% of all SOMBA members. Time didn’t seem to be an issue anymore at all.
The result of two rounds of SOMBA Summer School was 385 brand new online courses. Most of them probably wouldn’t have been created without this challenge. For the participants, it wasn’t about winning the challenge. It was about creating something along with others in a community. It was about being accountable and giving and receiving support. And it was about being a part of something bigger.
People can do amazing things when they are in the right environment. Even if it’s summer, even if you think you don’t have time – think again. Because it’s not really about time, it’s about setting your priorities. Be honest with yourself and say “This is not a priority for me right now” instead of “I don’t have any time”. Because if you really want to do something, you will find the time to do it.
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