Time: The killer of dreams.

Do you have enough time to do everything you want and need to do?  One of the biggest excuses we use is “I don’t have enough time”.  We live in time driven world.  Our whole day is based off time.  Technology continues to decrease the time it takes to do daily life tasks, but we seem to have less time than ever.  Here’s how I took my time and made it work for me.

I’ve always been a morning person.  It’s just who I am.  Early to bed, early to rise.  Actually I think that saying should be early to rise, early to bed.  Regardless of the order, it describes me well.

I’m more productive in the morning, more alert, more awake, and just overall a better human being.  In college everyone else would stay in the library until the wee hours of the morning pulling an “all nighter”.  I wanted to pull all nighters, but my body and brain just wouldn’t let me.  I would find I was just sitting the library pounding coffee, but yawning so much that studying was impossible.  So, I took this little nugget of information and used it to my advantage.  

I started getting up early and writing papers, studying, finishing projects, or whatever needed to be done.  I found that I was much more productive getting up at 4 or 5am instead of forcing myself to stay up late.  And, the plus side, I still got to drink coffee.  

Funny story about coffee though.  If you know me today, you know that I start each day with a cup of Joe.  I love the stuff.  But when I was going off to college at ECU, my Dad said “you’ll learn to drink coffee so you can stay up and study”.  Being the all-knowing, strong-minded, always right, 18 year-old I was, I said “ewwwww gross!  No way am I drinking that stuff!”.  It only took me a couple of months into the semester to eat those words.  Lesson learned.  I’m wrong.  A LOT.

After college, I went straight into the healthcare field for my profession.  You all know that a day in healthcare can be wildly unpredictable.  You can go into the day with a mission, a plan, a “to-do” list, and end up veering wildly from that plan, or not using it all,  because “stuff” happens.  A few late nights at work and being too tired to run or workout afterwards quickly became frustrating, so I figured out that if I did my workout BEFORE work, there was no excuse for my day getting in the way.  And, I found several more benefits!  It helped my mood at work, increased my productivity, decreased my anxiety, made me feel better physically, and helped me make other healthier choices.  

So, I’ve been following this same routine for the last 10 years.  I get up, I drink a cup of coffee, and then I workout.  The details (which gym, what my workout looked like, who i worked out with etc.) has changed slightly over the years, but for the most part, this was it.  Until now.

When I got the idea that I wanted to start a business to help people, I knew finding the time would be a crucial factor.  I work full-time as a healthcare administrator, have two fur babies that are my version of children, am in a serious relationship, and have some other obligations for my personal recovery and growth several times a week.  So, just like the rest of the free world…I’m pretty busy.  But not busy enough to let this passion and dream go.

So I had to take a hard look at my routine which I was COMFORTABLE with.  That word, comfortable, is the killer of many dreams.  Change is hard because change is different.  I’m not really a fan of different.  I’m a creature of comfort.  But we’ve all heard that saying that life begins at the end of your comfort zone.  So I became willing to switch it up….but not without some procrastination.

I tried it the hard way for a couple of months.  I kept my routine, up at 5am to read and write, workout from 6-7am, dog walking and getting ready for work 7-8am.  Work from 8:30-5ish, and then varying after work commitments until 7, 8, sometimes 9pm.  Then I was trying to come home and force myself to be creative and productive.  Needless to say it didn’t work that well.  In fact, it didn’t work at all.  So, I had to make a decision to change my behavior.  I picked a date, I got an accountability partner, and I started my new routine.  And guess what?  It’s working!  

The first few days took some getting used to.  I had this nice laid out plan on the very first day and of course the Universe laughed in my face and smashed those to smithereens.  But, I rolled with it.  That’s always a lesson I need reminding of.  Flow WITH life, don’t paddle against it.  Or this awesome quote I saw the other day from Jay Z “Don’t ever go with the flow.  Be the flow.”

So, how do you make time work for you?  First, take an HONEST look at your routine.  What can you take out, or add to your day that will make an impact on your time management?  Can you take out the ten minutes you spend scrolling Facebook in the morning to read your personal development?  Can you pack your lunch the day before so you aren’t struggling to get out the door in the mornings?  Can you get up an hour early to workout?  

You probably know yourself well enough to know if you’re a “morning person” or a “night owl”, so use it to your advantage.  Whatever it is that you want to make happen, schedule the time to do it.  If you take the approach of “I’ll do it if I have time”…guess what?  You’ll never have time.  Schedule the task/behavior/routine with yourself.  Put it on the calendar.  Make it non-negotiable.  And then forgive yourself quickly if you don't’ execute it perfectly everyday.  Be the flow.

Jessica Hauser