This is what I have learnt about time

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Everyone has busy lives and responsibilities and commitments – that’s just the way life is.

But being busy is often used as an excuse as to why goals and dreams can’t be started or achieved – you know the one: ‘I can’t start such and such because I’ve got A, B and C to do and they take up too much time. Ahhhh there’s not enough hours in the day!’

The thing is, I have learnt that this is a fallacy. Sure there are only so many hours in the day and you reasonably have to sleep, eat and work but everyone has the same amount of time, so what’s the catch that some people seem to have more success at being successful with their goals and dreams?

I got thinking about this because I was really struggling to sit down to do the research and plan my epic volcano quest. A lot of it was procrastination and the self-doubt that I’ve blogged about that got in the way but I was very apt at using the excuse that the reason why I wasn’t progressing was because I didn’t have enough time. There was always another email that needed to be written or responded to or an EastEnders episode to catch up on (I know, I know – it’s a guilty pleasure!).

I can’t remember what in particular sparked the revelation but in essence time is what we make of it. It is the one constant that affects everyone equally (though I do dislike those people who only need four hours sleep a night!) and it is precious because once it’s gone it’s gone.

One of my adventure heroes Alastair Humphreys is the founder of the microadventure movement. This is based on the fact we have hours in the day between the end of work and the start of work (5pm-9am) where we could be using the hours efficiently going on a microadventure (generally sleeping under the stars on a hill somewhere), waking up and popping off to work instead of spending the evening in front of TV and sleeping in our beds.

It’s a simple concept that has garnered a massive following but what the concept does is it makes you think about how you use, and waste, your time and how you can change this to effectively achieve more.

For me it comes down to prioritising time. Watching TV programmes or spending several hours a day glued to Facebook isn’t going to help me climb 40 volcanoes by the age of 40. If I do that I’m effectively throwing those hours away – and I won’t be able to buy them back.

Time is finite and I have a deadline. That means I have to find the time to do my research and planning and booking time off for the trips. I can still be busy and feel I don’t have enough hours in the day but if I want to achieve the #40by40 goal I will find the time and prioritise it for this purpose.

That might mean giving up watching EastEnders say. But apart from a half-hour escape from reality that TV programme isn’t adding value to my life, it’s not progressing my personal development or boosting my bank account, and it’s certainly not getting me any closer to climbing 40 volcanoes.

There are two sayings that drive home the importance of finding the time to do what you want and to achieve your dreams. One is that we shouldn’t regret the things we have done, only the things we haven’t. So while I shouldn’t regret watching mindless TV programmes (and in some circumstances they may be necessary for my sanity) it is important to keep in mind that it doesn’t get in the way of not doing something else that I will later regret not having done.

The second saying goes along the lines of no one on their death bed says they wish they had worked more or done more overtime. Twist this around a bit and I’m pretty sure no one on their death bed would say they wished they had watched more EastEnders or spent more time on Facebook, especially when they could have used that time to do cool things like climbing volcanoes or ticking things off their bucket list.

Time is precious. If you want something enough you will find the time to achieve it.

Now get off the computer and progress those dreams.

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