The Big Idea
You have more time than you think.
Questions I Answer
- How can I find more time for my goals?
- Why do I struggle with goal setting?
- How can I make time feel slower?
- How do I get rid of distractions?
Actions to Take
- I want to encourage you to spend your time doing what matters most to you. If that’s focusing on your big goal or your dreams, then make it happen. Gift yourself the time. Treat yourself like a priority, and truly you’ll have all the time that you need.
- If you haven’t already picked up your copy of my book, The Joy of Missing Out, head to joyofmissingout.com, or your favorite retailer.
Key Topics in the Show
Rethinking what it means to be “busy”
Living by your own rules and not worrying about what other people think
Feeling okay with where you choose to spend your time
Letting go of projects that are potential distractions to your success
5 ways to intentionally make time for your goals
Resources and Links
- 5 Ways to Intentionally Make Time for Your Goals
- Lean on your team (at home & work)
- See yourself as a priority
- Find the small pockets of time and claim them
- Give yourself containers of time Use habits to your advantage
Welcome to productivity paradox with Tanya Dalton, a podcast focused on finding
iness through productivity. Season 12 is different from any she’s done before with real conversations with real women, applying strategies and concepts
explored in The Joy of Missing Out.
This season, you’ll learn how to live more by doing less. And now here’s your host,
Hello, hello everyone. Welcome to Productivity Paradox. I’m your host, Tanya Dalton,
and this is episode 156, why we don’t need as much time as we think. I’m excited about today’s episode because I want to talk to you about your time and why we don’t need as much time as we think we do. You see, we all seem to think that we need more time. Whenever I ask people why they haven’t gone after their big goals or their dreams, why they’re not pursuing their passion projects, the answer I hear over, and over, and over again is, “I don’t have the time.” What they don’t realize is that they do have the time. They just need to prioritize. You see, we spend our days chasing down a thousand things, cramming our day full with tasks, and errands, and chores, and projects, and the list goes on and on, doesn’t it?
We really need to rethink busy. We need to slow down so we can actually achieve more, so we can stop managing our time and start savoring the moments. We can live more by doing less. That’s the entire premise behind The Joy of Missing Out. We need to stop chasing busy. We need to find ways to really use our time on what matters most. You see, by trying to do everything, we ended up feeling like we’ve
accomplished nothing. Have you ever had those days where you’re running around checking a thousand things off your to-do list? You’re running here and they’re checking things off, but then when you slip into bed at night, you think to yourself, “Why didn’t I get more done? Why didn’t I work harder? Why didn’t I check more things off the list? Why didn’t I do enough?” That’s why we sometimes feel like we are not enough.
We feel unsatisfied and unsuccessful, like we haven’t done enough. Even though we are busy all day long, this is why we cannot let busy become our default mode. Busy doesn’t mean you’re happy and it certainly doesn’t mean you’re
productive. I tell people that productivity is not about doing more, it’s focusing on what matters most. Focusing your time so that the priorities in your life, sit front and center and get the lion’s share of your time. I get it, though. We think we are supposed to be busy, that that’s just how life is. In fact, when we aren’t busy, we worry that we are somehow failing. That hectic pace of life passing bias and a blur is just how it’s supposed to be. But here’s the biggest rule in life, there are no rules. You have to live by your own and stop worrying so much about what everybody else thinks.
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We have to stop saying yes just to please everybody else. We’re so quick to put ourselves at the bottom of our people pleasing list, aren’t we? You see, it’s not just about saying no, it’s really about finding your yes, the yeses that belong to you and make you feel good, choosing how we spend our time instead of filling it with being busy. I have a full Finding Your Yes blueprint that we walk through together in the book because there’s a huge difference between happily giving our time to others and making ourselves do things because we should. You see, the lines between have to and want to have become so blurred, it’s sometimes really hard to figure out what it is we want to do, what our yeses are. We go through a series of questions to help you choose to spend your time on what does feel good, what does drive you forward, and what does bring you happiness and joy.
Don’t worry, because I go through how to feel good about giving out that know when it’s needed. That needs to feel good, too. We have to feel okay with where we choose to spend our time. We can’t give it all the time and to everybody, we really need to focus our time where it really does matter, where it matters most. But we lose ourselves in this busy mentality. We use our to-do list to prove our worth. But we rarely stop to ask ourselves if these tasks are truly fulfilling. This is why we can feel so empty inside when someone asks us, “What have you done today?” Why we sometimes can’t think of a single thing. We’re so busy checking items off our list, we haven’t stopped to think about whether they’re truly driving us forward towards the life we really want.
But how do you do this? How do you rethink busy? Because here’s the truth, there’s this glorification of busy in today’s world. I mean, how many times have you asked someone, “How are you?” Only to hear them answer, “Busy.” Not happy, or joyful, or excited, or sad, or any other emotion. Busy. We throw that word out because it feels like a badge of honor, but really busy just means we’re running ourselves ragged. And instead, we want to own our day. Not the other way around. But when you do spend your day running around putting out fires, you end up feeling exhausted and unsatisfied. It’s often because the things on our list that we’re so busy checking off aren’t really the big things, the deep things that drive us forward towards our North Star, towards the life we truly want. Bob Goff says, “I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I’m more afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.”
I love this quote, because what you do matters. How you choose to live, the actions you take, you matter, and by not prioritizing how you spend your time, you’re saying that you don’t. My question for you to think about here is are you spending your time being busy at a thousand meaningless things or are you focusing your day on what matters most, on things that fulfill you? You see, we think of time is all being the same. An hour is 60 minutes, no matter how you slice it. And you’re right, 60 minutes is 60 minutes. But let me ask you this. What is 60 minutes at the beach feel
like versus 60 minutes before a big presentation? Not the same, is it? We believe that time is this rigid straight line, like the timeline you made in the third grade. But time is fluid. It shifts and changes with how it feels and how we can maximize it.
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Not all time is created equal and how we treat time isn’t always equal either. In my book, The Joy of Missing Out, I say that time is like a bowl of ice cream. I’ll tell you what I mean here. If you head to your kitchen right now and you grab a small bowl and you fill it with ice cream, chances are you’re going to enjoy every single bite. But what if while rummaging around in your cupboard, you find a bigger bowl and you feel this bigger bowl with ice cream. Will you eat just a few bites and put it away or will you eat until your spoons scrapes the bottom of the bowl, grabbing those last few melted bits? Yep. Me too. No matter which bowl I choose, I will end up eating the
amount of ice cream that fills it. My idea of how much ice cream I need expands to the size of the bowl that I have, and time works exactly the same way.
It’s called Parkinson’s law and it’s the concept that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. Let’s put this into regular English here. The law states that if we give ourselves a week to complete a two-hour task, that task will increase in complexity and it will fill that week. Now while the two-hour task itself doesn’t really need the extra time, it’s actually the stress and the tension of having to get it done, that’s what fills the space. So if you give unimportant tasks a small container of time, they’ll fill it. And if you give those same unimportant tasks a large container of time, they’ll feel that, too. We have to limit the amount of time we’re giving these unimportant items. Yes, I use the term giving here very intentionally. You are gifting time on tasks and activities as if your time were infinite and you can generously hand it away.
We have to contain those tasks that are not truly important. We cannot let them dictate our day. Remember, we want to own our day, and the first step is taking charge like you’re the boss of your time. You know why? Because you are. Even if you don’t think you are, you own your time. And as Simon Sinek says, “If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.” Warren Buffet says the difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything. They prioritize. You might remember the 80/20 rule, which is also known as Pareto’s principle, and that applies to almost everything, that 20% of our efforts will account for 80% of our results. So instead of trying to do everything instead, let’s focus in on the 20%. let’s prioritize that vital few because that’s what’s going to have your biggest impact.
You don’t have to do all the things to reap the benefits. It’s the vital few that makes the biggest impact, that 20%. but if we spread our time over everything, we aren’t able to really give the priority items on our list the amount of time that they really deserve. We’re stretching it out, we’re spreading it over all the tasks instead of the vital few instead of the 20%, so we stretch ourselves thin. We have to stop treating all tasks as being equal because they’re not all the same. When we treat everything as a priority, nothing is. So, we need to figure out what your top priorities are and then focus in on those and decide what’s needed to reach that goal. You have to let go of the other projects that are potential distractions to your success. I know that might feel a little bit uncomfortable, like you’re quitting, and we know that winners never quit and quitters never win.
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That’s not really true at all. We get wrapped up in this idea because we worry about what other people will think, like what they will say when we say no or when we prioritize. We have to learn to deal with what’s in front of you and what is truly up to
you. Think about the things that you can control: your emotions, your judgments, your creativity, your attitude, your perspective, your decisions, your determination. Focus on those things and choose to spend your time in ways that have meaning to you. You see, we need to intentionally make the time. That time is never just going to appear out of nowhere. We have to carve it out, we have to make it for ourselves. You just have to know what is important to you. What are the things that you really want to focus your time on? So, if you’re setting a goal, then that means it should be important to you. After all, that’s why you’re making it a goal, right?
I have five ways for you to intentionally make time for your goals, because I think that’s really what most people want when they’re telling me that they don’t have time for the projects, or the tasks, or the things that they’re truly passionate about, generally these are their goals. These are the things they really want out of life, the things that they don’t think they have time for. I want to talk about how we can do that for ourselves, because having time, that’s not the issue here. It’s how we’re spending our time, that’s the problem.
Have you ever seen the meme that says we have the same 24 hours as Beyonce? Yeah, I love that meme. You know why I love it? Because it’s a snarky little meme that’s absolutely correct. We do. We have the exact same amount of time. She doesn’t get some magical bonus hour. She doesn’t magically get more time. We have exactly the same amount of time. But I can already hear you. I know what you’re going to say here. “Yeah, but she has a team.” We justify it with that. “Well, I could too, if I had a nanny, and a chauffeur, and a makeup team,” and you get the idea. Yes, you’re right. She has a team, but so do you. And that’s tip number one. Lean on your team. And yes, maybe unlike Beyonce, we don’t have a nanny or a makeup team. It would be really nice if we did. But we do have a team. You have friends, maybe family members or coworkers, people who love and support you, people we can delegate
and share tasks with.
I want you to start thinking outside of the box too about how you can rely on your team, your team that you work with and your team at home. That’s what I want you to remember. We don’t just have teams that we work with and our office spaces or in our places of business, we also have a team at home. Whether that your roommate or the person you live with or your family. We are a team for each other outside of work. We’re there to support each other. Now, some people might say a support system is just a group of cheerleaders, but really it should be so much more than just people who are cheering you on and encouraging you from the sidelines.
Sometimes these are the people who will roll up their sleeves and get into the trenches right next to you. Sometimes it’s the people who will hold you up when you don’t think you can stand any longer. Sometimes it’s the people who will sit and listen and not even give their opinion or advice on the matter, they’re just there as a
sometimes it’s the exact opposite of that, it’s the people you go
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to when you do want these strong advice or the strong opinions and you don’t want them to just sit there and listen because you want them to challenge you.
You know, here’s the truth, we feel bad leaning on others. We feel like we’re a burden. But allowing others to lift you up is a gift you can give. It’s
Think about how it feels when you have a friend who needs help and you help lift them up. You give them a little bit of attention, you give them a kind word, you give them advice, whatever it is, you do this for your friend and that really helps you feel
how do your friends feel when they are able to do that for you? When we reframe what that looks like, leaning on other people, when we stop looking at it as being a burden and instead choose to see it as a gift we can give, that’s really when it becomes a meaningful team effort, because we need each other. So feel good leaning on your team. Sometimes they’re going to lean on you. Sometimes you’re going to be the one doing the leaning, but all of that is good because, too, it deepens up your relationships.
Okay. Tip number two, see yourself as a priority. You see, here’s the other thing that Beyonce does. She looks at what she’s doing as a priority. She’s actively working to spend time on the things that she wants to do. When we look at our priorities, we often see that we’re not spending enough time doing those things, those things that we really want to do, and we need to start treating our priorities as priorities. They should be what we focus in on our day. That excuse of life is too busy or I have too much to do, is just that, it’s an excuse. I’ve found that the problem behind this excuse is that we’re not only talking about our own tasks, and projects, and priorities, we’re also talking about everyone else’s. This is when we have to take a step back and to realize the commitments that we get wrapped up in that aren’t truly where we want to be. Remember that Finding Your Yes blueprint I mentioned earlier in the episode? That’s when this comes into play.
We often take things that are important to other people and we bump them to the top of our own list, even in front of our own priorities. We’ll take our tasks from our spouse, our boss, our friends and family, and we bump them on top of our own. We bump them up on our list. We put them first and we put our own dead last. I know I’m not the only person who’s done this, it’s so easy to do. However, when we do this, we’re saying no to ourselves, to time for our goals, and we’re saying yes to taking on other people’s priorities instead of our own. It’s really important to see yourself as a priority, as hard as that may be sometimes. But every time you say yes, you’re saying no to something else. Yes to other people’s priorities means no to your own. Yes to other people’s passion projects means saying no to your own goals.
So the next time you take the invitation to sign up for another committee that you don’t really feel passionate about, or you pick up an extra project that someone else has procrastinated on, I want you to realize you’re saying no to yourself again. What we want to do is we want to start saying yes to you. Every single time you say yes, there’s a no hidden somewhere in there. Before you’re attempted to say yes to make other people happy, I want you to first figure out where’s that no hidden. Is this
going to really take away time from the things I truly want to do?
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The third tip is find the small pockets of time and claim them. We all have these tiny little pockets within our day where we have 10 minutes here, five minutes here, 20 minutes here, two or three minutes there. Maybe it’s because you’ve gotten to the meeting a little bit early. That’s a little pocket of time. Maybe you finish a project with a few minutes to spare. That’s another pocket of time. Maybe you finish the dinner 10 minutes earlier than anticipated. That’s a pocket of time. These little tiny pockets are
undervalued. We think they’re too small to make any real gains, but these little scraps, they add up. We don’t realize it, but just like pennies in a jar that add up to dollars, our time can start to add up, tiny bit, by tiny bit, by teeny tiny bit. My favorite example of this is Stephen King. Now, Stephen King, of course we all know is a huge bestselling author who has sold over 350 million copies of his books. He attributes much of his success to the time he spent reading.
Now here’s Stephen King, this wildly successful author, and he spends five hours a day reading. Five hours. You might think to yourself, “How in the world can he
find five hours every day?” That’s 35 hours a week just spent reading. That’s almost a full-time job. He gets through around 70 to 80 books every year. Now obviously, Stephen King is very busy man. He doesn’t just sit and read five hours straight every day. He carries a book with him and he grabs a few pages anytime he has a free moment, whether it’s waiting for the coffee to brew or standing in line to buy a movie
ticket, these are the tiny pockets of time that often go to scrolling on our phone, because it’s our default mode. Let’s rethink these pockets of time. Let’s choose
instead to make that time count. You have five minutes, use that five minutes to look something up that moves you closer to your goal.
You have 10 minutes, send out that email so you can network with that person that really will help you get to that passion project. Do you want to work on. Or whatever it is, use these tiny little pockets of time to make little steps to get you closer to those goals, because that’s how goals are accomplished. Tiny step by tiny step, followed by tiny step, and then every now and then a big step. But we had this thing in our minds that we think to get to our goals, it has to be these giant leaps, one after the next, when really it’s just these small movements each and every day, getting us closer and closer, little bit by little bit.
Speaking of how we use our time, that brings me to tip number four. Give yourself containers of time. When you’re sitting down and planning what you want to do each day, I want you to designate 30 or more minutes of uninterrupted time to solely focus on your goal and one or two of the steps that you can work on during that 30 minutes.
Again, 30 minutes feels a little bit like a small pocket of time, right? It feels manageable to give our goal 30 minutes out of our day. But I want you to block that
into your schedule. Choose a time that you have good energy, a time that you can really give all of your thoughts towards your goal. I want you to treat it like an appointment. I want you to realize that because it’s your goal and your time, that doesn’t mean it’s any less important than a work meeting or a doctor’s appointment. I want you to make this an appointment with yourself, because you are important. I
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know you might be thinking right now, “Well, that sounds really nice, but how am I going to find this 30 minutes?” Well, let’s cut out some time wasters. Drop that 45 minute episode of TV or the 30 minutes of browsing through social media. These are
the little pockets we talked about. These little time-wasters live there in those pockets and it adds up fast.
So when we take that time and it said she used to focus it in on something that’s truly important to us, that’s when we’re going to start making some movements. The beauty of this container is that it’s focused. Because what I want you to do is I want you to give yourself 30 minutes to work on your goal and then schedule in a 15 minute fun break right afterwards. That’s your for actually working on your goal. When we give ourselves this reward for doing the work, it reinforces in our brain that we want to do it again and it will encourage us to make this into something we do on a regular basis. That sounds an awful lot like a habit, doesn’t it?
Which actually gets us to tip number five, use habits to your advantage. You heard me say this several times throughout the podcast, every step counts. The big ones, the giant ones, the tiny ones, the medium size ones, each and every one of those counts. What’s nice is that when these steps are small, it’s so much easier to make time for them, to pop them into your existing schedule, to complete and feel
some satisfaction on how you’re progressing. That’s a big thing here, that feeling of satisfaction you get when you do make some sort of movement closer to your goal. It’s incredibly real and incredibly motivating, I find for me that even when I have small wins, that builds up the momentum and that gets me more fired up, which then leads to bigger steps forward.
Now, a simple way to make this happen is to consider establishing a habit that’s related to your goal. What I love about good, healthy habits is it takes the thinking out of it. It almost allows our brains to go into autopilot mode, where we don’t have to worry about whether we’re going to do something. We don’t have to worry about creating the time and the space for the action, it just happens
sten, we already have habits throughout our day. It’s actually been estimated that 40 to 45% of our daily actions are habits. Think about it. You don’t question whether you’re going to brush your teeth or not. You don’t think about how you have to put on your clothes in the morning. You just do it automatically. These have become habits. And so, if we create habits that are focused on things that will drive us closer to our goals, we can make that happen automatically without having to think about it. That will allow us to free up some brain space so we can spend our brain power on things that are really bigger.
Habits are an easy way to make sure you make progress towards your goals on a regular basis. Let me tell you what I mean. If your goal is to keep a more organized home, you can establish a habit to make your bed every morning. See? I told you, small. Small, but mighty. The benefit of small movements, they’re more likely to happen. How long does it really take to make your bed? Maybe 90 seconds? Totally doable, right? But what happens when you make the bed? Well, every time you walk into your bedroom and you see your bed, you get a little satisfaction, a little
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momentum, because once you start making the bed, maybe you follow that up with
another habit. Perhaps picking up your clothes that you took off the night before. You know, the ones that are piled on the floor, right? These habits can build one upon the next. You can see these habits create small wins that begin to grow.
Yes, getting your house organized feels like a huge task. But if you start by focusing only on one room, in this case your bedroom, that’s more manageable. Then if we focus on what we can do to make that even easier through our habits, even easier still. Once these habits become established, they run smoother and faster, requiring little to no time at all. Let’s look at some of the goals that you might have, like let’s say a weight goal. A daily habit could be to pack a healthy lunch right after dinner the night before. Or what about a home project goal? Maybe you make a habit to spend 10 minutes during your lunch hour figuring out what part of the project you want to work on that night, thereby eliminating you standing in the middle of the project, wondering what you should work on next. Right?
What about a goal of getting the promotion? Maybe you create a habit of taking 20 minutes during your mid afternoon snack three times a week to reach out and network with other people in your company. You can see these little habits are really simple to do, really easy to make happen, and yet they can make the momentum you need to get that goal accomplished, to achieve the things you really want to do. You see, we don’t need to make more time. In fact, we can’t make more time, can we? But what we can do is we can intentionally make this space for ourselves. If we don’t, our time ends up filled with things. Things, not goals, not dreams, not the ideal life we really want. I know, this might feel like, I don’t know, what’s the next step, but I got you covered.
I have a download to help with all of this. It’s a goal-setting and achieving blueprint that will help you figure out what you want to focus in on and then create the space to make that happen. Anytime that I do a teaching, anytime that I’m doing a podcast episode, or a course, or a free training, I always like to leave you with a real actionable next step. I’d love for you to grab that free download, that goal-setting and achieving blueprint. Just go to Tanyadalton.com/podcast and look under episode 156. That’s Tanya with an O and a Y. Grab that freebie, because I want you to feel like you have the time that you need. What I want you to keep in mind is this. You own your time and you choose how you spend your day. You’re going to allow others to run it for you by allowing their priorities and their urgent fires to take over, or you can take charge.
Tuse the word mindful a lot, not just in business, but also at home. It’s a word that I use almost daily. I love the word mindful because at its heart, it’s about paying attention to yourself, to others, to the legacy you’re creating. I’ve often said that productivity is 90% mindset, but I think most of life is mindset. It’s about the choices you make, how you choose to spend your time, how you choose to live your life, and how to choose to treat your priorities. After all, if they’re priorities, shouldn’t they be treated that way. So I want to challenge you. I want to challenge you to make some choices. Choose to rethink what it means to be busy and choose to live a life you’ll
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love. Make the choices that do allow you to achieve these goals and dreams you really want. Lao Tzu, the ancient Chinese writer and philosopher and founder of Daoism said, “Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing.”
I want to encourage you to spend your time doing what matters most to you. If that’s your big goals or your dreams, then make it happen, my friends, because you, you are worth it. Gift yourself the time. Treat yourself like a priority and truly you’ll have all the time that you need.
Now, I know this was a lot longer than our normal episodes, but I really wanted to take a little time to help shift your mindset a little bit about how you use your time. I really hope this entire season on The Joy of Missing Out has encouraged you to slow down, to rethink busy, and to really find the joy in each and every day. And if you have not picked up your copy of the book yet, head to joyofmissingout.com. I can promise you the book goes so much deeper into everything we talked about today and even more. You can find it really anywhere books are sold, but you could head to joyofmissingout.com and that’ll direct link you to all the different retailers who have copies.
All right. This season has been incredible. Do remember to grab that free download that I offered with today’s episode and gear up for next week because we have a whole new season heading your way. I can hardly wait. So, until next time, have a beautiful and productive week.
Thanks for listening to Productivity Paradox. Want to learn more about your unique productivity style? Simply go to Tanyadalton.com to take her free quiz and get free
resources designed just for you. That’s Tanya, with an O and a Y.
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