This morning I listened to an episode of one of my favorite podcasts, Smart Passive Income (http://smartpassiveincome.com/session317). (By the way, if you are not already listening to podcasts to increase your business knowledge, you should.) The episode focused on ways that busy individuals could work new things into their already over-filled schedule. This really resonated with me, as I’m sure it would with most of you.
My schedule is already overflowing, with too many things to do and not enough time in the day to get them all done. It seems that each new day brings more items to add to my never-ending to-do list. As long as I don’t add anything new to the list (fat chance of that happening), at my current pace, I should be finished with my to-do list about 14 years after I’m dead.
It seems that creative people are constantly coming up with new ideas: new things they want to try, new projects they want to start, new information they want to learn. While others may define this as borderline ADD, creative people live with this reality every day of their lives. Their minds are constantly churning out new and exciting concepts, brainstorming on ideas and schemes; often to the detriment of their own health (sleep is so over-rated…)
The problem for most of us is that we believe we are over-scheduled, even if we aren’t. We think that there’s no way that we can fit anything else into our schedule. While this may be reality, it often is not the case. We all have some down-time that we utilize each day: we sit on the couch watching Netflix or we get sucked down the rabbit-hole that is social media.
We are (typically) far less busy than we lead ourselves to believe.
While there is certainly something to be said for decompressing, putting our higher-thinking on ‘sleep mode’ and vegging out in front of a screen for a little while, an over-abundance of down time can easily keep you from achieving your goals. If you have extra time that you set aside each day to binge your favorite shows, then you have time to dedicate to personal growth.
Unfortunately, it’s tough to make that conscious decision: forgoing the easy activity (sitting on your butt passively watching a screen) for the difficult endeavor of achieving personal growth. Why would I want to take a class on something that I already know when I can watch the latest episode of American Ninja Warrior?
Deep down inside, we all know the answer to this question. We can hear that mentor from the past in our head, maybe a parent, relative, teacher or coach: “Nothing worth having ever comes easy.” “If it was easy then everyone would be doing it.” You know, the exact kinds of things that we promised our teen-aged selves that we would never say to our children when we became parents!
While it’s certainly not easy to decide to do the difficult things in life, a small daily change can pay significant benefits in the long run. If we decide to replace 30 minutes of screen time each day with something that can have a benefit to us in the future, our future selves will certainly thank us. If we set aside 30 minutes to take an online course, to work on a few pages of our book or thinking up a new advertising angle for our business, the benefits will quickly accumulate.
Let’s imaging we can conduct a year-long experiment to determine which process yields the best results. We can (miraculously) clone ourselves so that there are two of us. You #1 gets to spend 30 minutes each day of the year watching an episode of your favorite show. You #2 spends 30 minutes a day for the same year coming up with new ideas and new content for your business. Which one of you will be in a better place at the end of the year? You #1 will be caught up on all the great Netflix shows, and will probably weigh a few pounds more than you #2, while you #2 will have more knowledge, more content, more clients and (probably) more income than you #1. Which is good, because you #2 can splurge for you #1 to finally join that gym and get in shape (after they finish watching just one more episode of Stranger Things…)
Decisions like this are not easy. They are intimidating and downright scary to think about. They require massive commitment and the self-control of a Buddhist monk.
Doing the things that you know are good for you is hard.
It’s so much easier to be like everyone else and just watch Monday Night Football. But that’s just it, isn’t it? Exactly what your mentor used to tell you: if was easy everyone would be doing it. Look around; most people are not wildly successful. Most of them are right there with you, watching their screens too.
“Do one thing every day that scares you. “
Attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt
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