This article is part 3 in our A Week of Excuses series. Why do we put off those things we want most in life? Why do we let excuses stand in the way of pursuing our dreams? In this week long series we dive into these questions, deliver actionable steps for common obstacles, and provide resources to help you take the first step to making your dreams a reality.
You are busy. You’re likely juggling work, family, a host of existing obligations and trying like hell to squeeze in a few minutes each day to relax in the ongoing effort to stay sane. This constant pull on your time can easily leave you in a state where “I don’t have enough time” becomes your default response for all your dreams. However, I’d like to encourage you to step back today and ask:
Is what I am currently spending time on more important than my dream?
Evaluate How You Spend Your Time
The first step towards changing this pattern is to see where your time goes. Take 30 minutes over coffee (or even better, a glass of wine) to sit down and review how you spend every hour of a typical week.
- Pull out your list of your top 10 goals/dreams. If you don’t have one yet, quickly jot down a list of items that you would include after “I’ve always wanted to…”
- Next, write down list of each activity in your life and how much time you are spending on each in a typical week (sleeping, work, commuting, watching TV, eating, spending time with your kids, reading, on the Internet/computer, etc). This does not need to be exact, but instead a rough idea of the total.
- Once your list is complete (note, there are 168 hours in a week), calculate the percentage of time you are spending on each.
Now that you have your 2 lists, it’s time to review where you are. If you are like me this exercise will surprise you to see, in black and white, where your precious time is going. When I first did this exercise I was embarrassed by how much time I was wasting sitting in front of the TV. Once I freed up all that time (the number was higher than I’m ready to admit to myself) I found I could actually pursue goals that truly did relax me and make me extremely happy.
You Are In Control
This trade off in how you spend your time is all about decisions and is within your control. You are deciding how to spend your free time and can change how your time is allocated if you desire. You are deciding to work 80 hour weeks. You are choosing to go golfing for 5 hours each week.
Are you spending any time working towards your dream? Is there an activity which you could cut out completely and dedicate the time to leaning a new language? Could you spend 1 less hour a night on the computer to look at the stars? Can you work 3 hours less a week (or stop answering email at home) and dedicate the time to guitar lessons?
While the number of hours in a week is unchangeable, how we choose to spend them is generally within our control. The first step is to know where you are spending them and then make a conscious decision to focus your time towards your goals.
10 Goals You May be Putting Off
As this article states, it is possible to increase your intelligence and dive into new ventures by dedicating just 30 minutes a day.
Following is a list of 10 dreams that you may be putting off because you “don’t have time.” I’ve included a resource for each to help you take the first step with minimal time commitment. If you can dedicate a bit of time this week, you can begin reaching your goal.
- Learn a new language – this happens to be at the top of my list and something I work on each day. Here’s a great resource to get you going, evening with limited time available.
- Make a movie - our video interview with a woman who followed her dream to make a movie. She provides guidance on the steps she took to make it a reality.
- Be an amateur astronomer – here are 12 easy steps to reaching your dream. Once you start viewing the immensity of it all it will give you a new perspective on time.
- Begin practicing meditation – with an investment of just 10 minutes a day (surely you can find 10 minutes) you can begin practicing meditation with this easy to get started, step-by-step program
- Start an Interior Design Business – this detailed article should take about 20 minutes to read and will provide the primer you need to get started on your dream
- Take a cross-country trip across the United States – excellent story for inspiration and tips to get you motivated to get started planning your trip
- Patent my invention – this can be a daunting proposition just to figure out the process so here is a simple breakdown of the steps to help you get started.
- Start your own business – read a few stories of people who have done it to see the ups and downs
- Read 100 books – GoodReads is a great resource to find what your friends love and start your list this week
- Learn to play guitar – a full blown guide to getting started. It includes everything except the guitar itself.
Tomorrow we’ll discuss the Fear of Failure and provide suggestions for how to overcome this major inhibitor to your dreams.