You’re Horrible at Time Management Because You Can’t Be Honest With Yourself

By AAwosika07 | productivity

Nov 09

The phrase time is money isn’t just a lie, it’s one of the most harmful lies ever told.

Time and money aren’t even close to equal.

If I said I’d give you a million dollars right now, would you take it? One little caveat — if you take the money you’ll die next week. All of a sudden that deal doesn’t seem so sweet.

We understand this in our minds, but don’t embrace it in our lives. Instead of working to free up time, we spend tons of our free time trying to make money. We trade the most valuable resource in the world for pieces of paper.

You need to eat, sure, but you could live a life where you’re not spending all your time working just to live. To build that life, you need to free up the time you have available to you now.

This is how you learn to use your time wisely.

Stop Being “Busy”

You’re not busy. You’re just horrible at prioritizing what matters. If I were to take a peek into your life and see what you do on a day-to-day basis, I could remove half of your activities.

Not only would your life be just fine if I removed them, but it would also get better because you’d realize how much time you were wasting. Then, you could go back and fill your day with activities that matter.

A simple question you can ask yourself when deciding on each task that needs to get done that day:

Do I need to do this?

Here’s a framework you can use to decide what to spend time on.

The Eisenhower Matrix: Breaking Down the Four Different Types of Tasks (And What to Do About Them)

According to a productivity and decision-making framework called the Eisenhower Matrix, there are four different types of tasks:

  • Urgent, important
  • Urgent, not important
  • Not urgent, important
  • Not urgent, not important

You can group what needs to be done in each category to decide what to do next.

Stop Wasting Time on Pointless Activities (Not Urgent, Not Important)

If you’re broke, feel stuck, and aren’t living the life you want to live, you have zero business spending a bunch of time on leisure activities.I’m not your moral authority. You just have to sacrifice some things you enjoy, but don’t add much value to your life, if you want to get ahead.

Stop Being a Busy Body (Not Urgent, Important)

Some tasks need to be done, but not this second — errands.  Schedule time to knock a bunch of them off all at once. Don’t run little errands every single day. Have a single day in your week when you get all your errands done. If something doesn’t need to be done that day, then don’t do it.

Stop Carrying Everything on Your Shoulders (Urgent, Not Important)

You don’t have to do everything yourself. You’re just one person, which means you can’t do everything. Either find people to help you or say no to tasks that can be done by someone else (If your friend asks you to help them move, refer them to one of your other friends to help).

As soon as you can afford it, hire out certain tasks you don’t need to do yourself. If you run a business, you can’t scale it unless you have employees or contractors to help carry the load.

Stop Running Away From What Moves the Needle Most (Urgent, Important)

You avoid urgent and important tasks because they’re the hardest to accomplish. For example: If you’re trying to start a side business that can help you escape your 9-to-5 job, you should make time available to work on it every single day.

When I wanted to build my writing career on top of my 9 to 5 job. I woke up at 5 a.m. and wrote for an hour or two, every single day, for years.

If something is truly important to you, you make time for it instead of trying to find time for it. This goes back to the original point. You might say you want this amazing life, but your actions tell a different story, mostly a story of fear and doubt.

Think of how crazy it is to devote the least amount of time in your day to your deepest dreams and goals. Yet, this is what most people do. You need to flip this equation on its head.

Reverse the Equation

Instead of trading your time for money, use your money to get more time.

Any time I want to learn a profitable skill, I pay someone else to teach me.

“But, Ayo, why would I pay money for an online course when I could just get the information for free online?”

Here’s my response to anybody who thinks that way:

How well has that been working out for you?

Buying courses speeds up your process to the end goal and saves time. If you want to level up in business, all your excess cash should go toward your self-education.

You could find everything in my online courses for free by looking through every single blog post I wrote or video I shot, but then you’d have to sift through all of it. Or you could just pay a few hundred bucks and consume eight years of wisdom in a few hours.

I’ve used contractors and assistants over the years to help me build my business. Instead of mastering every single skill needed to build my career, I just pay someone else to do it who already knows how.

The more valuable you become by building profitable skills, the more valuable your time becomes. Keep increasing your skills to get money to buy skills and time to make more money to buy skills and time.

Here’s a simple rule of thumb you can use:

Set an ideal hourly rate for yourself. If what needs to be done costs less than your hourly rate, hire someone to do it.

Stop Being Careless With Your Most Precious Resource

“We don’t allow people to steal our money, yet we allow them to plunder our time, or else we give it away ourselves in useless, idle pursuits.” – Seneca

You need to learn how to say no. You’re not obligated to say yes.

You’re a nice person who wants to be helpful. I get it.

But you have to remember that if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.

If people come to know you as the person who will drop whatever they’re doing to help, people will take advantage of it.

You can say no without providing an explanation. If you must, you can say something like:

I can’t make that a priority.

You have to learn how to set boundaries with yourself and say no to some things you might enjoy doing, but can’t be made a priority in your life because you have bigger fish to fry. A little less T.V. won’t kill you.

Your life won’t end if you miss a few parties. Your favorite football team will still be there next year. If your friends won’t stay your friends because you said you couldn’t help them move, they’re not your real friends anyway.

Stop Letting Yourself off the Hook and Be Brutally Honest With Yourself

You can’t manage time. You can only manage your priorities. It’s up to you to rank the importance of tasks in your life. If you want to get better at ranking your tasks, you have to stop letting yourself off the hook.

We have lots of little phrases we use to let ourselves off the hook instead of taking responsibility for our time.

For example, a lot of aspiring writers tell me they want to write more, but they don’t have enough time to write.

They don’t make their writing a priority, which is fine, but it’s important to be honest with yourself about it instead of blaming the problem on time itself. They don’t write because they value their writing career less than other things, period.

Saying you don’t have the time to do something isn’t true. If you choose to do certain tasks above others, own them. 

You always have a choice.

You don’t have to do anything.

Re-framing your relationship with time stars by admitting that fact. You have to admit that you’re choosing to give importance to some tasks above others, and the way you weigh that importance and make decisions will determine how your life turns out.

Final Thoughts

You’re either in the excuse-making business or the changing your life business.

There is no in-between.

Lack of time is one of the fundamental lies that keep you stuck in life.

The way you use your time shows the way you view yourself. It shows how important your own life is to you. It says whether or not you give a damn about making the most of your time on this earth.

The way you decide to use your time, in the long run, decides your fate.

Choose wisely.


About the Author

Ayodeji is the Author of Real Help: An Honest Guide to Self-Improvement and two other Amazon best-selling titles. When he's not writing, he enjoys reading, exercising, eating chicken wings, and occasionally drinking old-fashioned's.