Over the past five years, I’ve talked to thousands of entrepreneurs pursuing their dreams to build a successful startup. The most successful entrepreneurs had a number of things in common – including a deep understanding of how time constrains us.
Here’s the rub – those who were not nearly as successful also believed that they understood the constraints of time. They didn’t.
By definition, we are all constrained by time. There are 24 hours in a day, seven days in a week, and 365 days in a year. We need sleep and time to eat. We need time to relax and time to spend with friends and family.
How is it possible that people perceive the constraints of time differently? Why do some succeed in managing their time and others fail?
I believe the difference is simple: some people count every hour in the day while others make every hour in the day count.
How we prioritize our time defines what we do, when we do it, and how we do it. It’s the difference between successful people, including entrepreneurs and startup teams, and those who fail.
The notion that you don’t have enough time in the day is a lie. You have the same amount of time per day that was available to Albert Einstein, Michaelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, Hellen Keller, Marie Curie, among many others.
When we say “I don’t have time for this”, what we really mean is that “I don’t think it’s important enough for me to spend my time doing that thing.”
Some people prioritize their time by playing games on Facebook, watching television, spending time with friends or family, reading, writing, and in many other different ways. There’s nothing wrong with any of those things if they make you happy. But you have to understand that spending hours on Facebook or focusing on other distractions will lead you to count every hour in the day. Simply put: you’ll have fewer hours left to accomplish other things.
Other people prioritize their time obsessing about others. But as Steve Jobs smartly cautioned:
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
The next time you find yourself wanting to say that you don’t have time – stop and consider your priorities. You DO have time. But instead of counting every hour in the day, make every hour in the day count.