“To be honest,” he said, “I’m having a tough go of it right now.”
I’d just run into a friend who was telling me about the challenges he was experiencing getting his new business off the ground. But what they all boiled down to, he explained, was one all-too-familiar problem:
“I just don’t have enough time.”
I didn’t want to put him on the spot right then, but I knew he wasn’t telling the truth.
You see, only a few days earlier, I’d seen him at a restaurant with a couple of coworkers. I didn’t even need to eavesdrop to quickly hear they were deeply engaged in conversation about a popular television show.
I’m sure you can guess where this is going…
How can you not have enough time to work toward an extremely important goal…but have enough time to watch TV?
The answer to this question eludes so many people because they’ve failed to ask a more important one:
What can I do without?
TV is an all-too-common example that, frankly, should be easy to fix for anyone who is truly committed to achieving big goals. So I want to give you a better example.
I love to fish. For me, it’s not just a hobby—it’s a passion. And I’ve felt that way about it for as long as I can remember.
But there was a time when I didn’t fish at all.
This was a season of my life in which I was desperately searching for more hours in the day. I had set ambitious goals, but I wasn’t sure how I would find the time to make them happen…
…until I asked myself that key question: What can I do without?
When I started to hold a magnifying glass to every activity I was giving my time, I realized something very important.
Even though I was extremely passionate about fishing…
- I wasn’t able to fish where I really wanted to
- I wasn’t able to do the type of fishing I really wanted to
- I wasn’t able to fish with the people I really wanted to go with
At that point, I made a decision—I would stop fishing in the short-term so that, in the long-term, I could fish wherever I want, whenever I want, and with whomever I want.
What can you sacrifice in the short-term so that, after accomplishing your goals, you can enjoy it at an even greater level long-term?
Trust me, you may be busy, you may feel like you can’t give up that one thing in the day that allows you time to relax, but you can find margin if you start asking yourself what you can do without.
Finding the time, of course, is only half the battle.
The real work begins once you start spending that time…
The Key to Maximizing All of Your Available Time
After you determine what you can do without, know this: you don’t need as much time as you think you do if you learn to focus.
It’s something people have people have been telling us all our lives—“Focus!”
Parents, teachers, coaches—we’ve all heard it from people like this at some point. But it’s hard to truly understand how to intensely focus without knowing exactly what it looks like.
And for that, there’s no better example in the world than the red fox.
Have you seen this video from the Discovery Channel? If not, take a couple minutes to watch it right now. And be sure to focus! 🙂
Amazing, isn’t it?
There’s nothing but miles of snow and the fox. It seems utterly hopeless that he could possibly find the one tiny field mouse scurrying around somewhere deep below the surface.
But evidently it’s not hopeless to the fox—because he’s there to hunt.
How does he do it? He hones in on something that, to everyone else, doesn’t even seem to exist. Something that, at the moment, he cannot even see.
But he knows it’s there.
He also knows that it’s going to take immense concentration and complete quiet to succeed. No distractions.
He is not hunting with another fox. He is alone so he can focus.
But, as the narrator in the video says, in order to have the best chance of actually catching a mouse, he has to hone in on the Earth’s magnetic field so he can face north and “calculate” the proper trajectory.
That is what intense focus looks like.
Extreme concentration. An isolated, distraction-free environment. A single, all-important mission. An unwavering belief.
Despite what others might not see, despite that some might say it looks hopeless…the belief that success is always there.
I believe you can hit your target by controlling the things you can control.
If this fox is pointed in the right direction and focusing, he is almost always guaranteed a meal.
When your life is pointed in the right direction, your focus will be more intense. Your time will be more productive.
And you will realize just how untrue the phrase, “I don’t have enough time,” usually is.