Got no time to talk about time?

I am often asked, “How do you find the time to do everything you do?” Most business owners understand the necessity for establishing ways to find the time, like prioritizing what’s important and eliminating the time wasters.

In his book The Magic of Thinking Big, author David Schwartz coined the phrase “excusitis,” or the disease of failures. One all-too-common excusitis phrase is, “I don’t have time.” According to Schwartz, we all have time if we learn the best way to apportion it. Schwartz goes on to illustrate a typical, one-week allocation of time.

His insight lends real evidence that we do have plenty of time to get things accomplished:

  • 24 hours/day=168 hrs/wk
  • 50 hrs/wk at work +commuting time
  • 51 hrs/wk sleeping

=101 hrs/wk


  • 15 hrs/wk eating

=116 hr/wk


  • 24 hrs relaxing, reading, kids, exercise

=140 total


  • 4 hrs/wk community/church

=144 hrs/wk


  • 168 hrs. minus 144 hrs. equals 24 hours left in the week….

According to Schwartz there are 24 hours in the week unaccounted for. So, the question is, what are you doing with your time? Schwartz professes the phrase, “I don’t have time,” is the alibi many give for mediocrity, which ultimately leads to failure. Do we really not have the time, or are we just blind to “time killers” holding us back from our full potential?

The most common of the time killers are television, social media and video gaming. According to Nielsen statistics, the average American over the age of two years spends more than 34 hours per week watching live television, plus another three to six hours watching taped programs.

In the social media arena, Nielsen’s 2012 annual social media report found that Americans spent 121 billion minutes on social media sites in the month of July alone. That means we spent 20 percent of our time on personal computers tweeting, posting, pinning and blogging on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc. A full 30 percent of our time is spent doing the same activity, but on our mobile devices.

The connection is obvious: Saying, “I don’t have time,” but potentially spending a significant portion of time on television and social media doesn’t quite mesh. So, what are you willing to change, shift, or rearrange to give up the excuse of no time? You are the only person allocating your time. Whether it’s for your business or for personal reasons, can you commit to making more productive use of your hours in the day?

Take a few minutes to analyze your time usage.

Hours/wk at work +commuting time_____________

Hours/wk sleeping                                 _____________

Hours/wk eating/snacking                   _____________

Hours/wk relaxing, reading, exercise_____________

Hours/wk community/church                 _____________

Hours/wk other(_________________)     _____________

                                       TOTAL Hrs/wk:  _____________ ( not to exceed 168)


Now take a few minutes and fill out your IDEAL scenario.

Hours/wk at work +commuting time_____________

Hours/wk sleeping                                 _____________

Hours/wk eating/snacking                   _____________

Hours/wk relaxing, reading, exercise_____________

Hours/wk community/church                  _____________

Hours/wk other(_________________)     _____________

                                       TOTAL Hrs/wk:  _____________ ( not to exceed 168)


I’ve conducted this exercise; it works – and here are a few tips I’ve gleaned in my own time clean-up:

  • Power Half Hour – Based on brain research, the adult brain literally checks out about every 20-30 minutes. Based on that research, I suggest setting the timer at 30-minute increments for various tasks. This creates a race against time and you will become focused on beating the clock. I recommend choosing only one task (i.e., returning calls, emails, filing paperwork, etc.). Each 30-minute session is meant to prevent multitasking that could be counterproductive.
  • Identify and set daily goals – Review goals, set intentions, say affirmations, etc. It’s recommended this be done in the last 45 minutes of the day. During this time the brain processes information seven times more effectively than any other time of the day.
  • Schedule tasks into the day – If you want to ensure a certain task is going to get done, set aside the time and schedule it in your calendar.
  • Mind map your goals 
  • One big project per week – Mark a project off your “honey-do” list each week.