You know exactly what I’m talking about.
You read the title of this post and something popped into your head: something you’ve had on a mental to-do list for a while, but haven’t found “the right time” to start it.
Been there, done that.
You’re now reading the exact thing I put-off for two years. And I’m here to tell you: “not having enough time” not a valid excuse.
I had the idea for this blog two years before I actually started it.
And, little over a year after that, I published this tweet:
It’s timestamped 11th December 2018. I’m publishing this in March 2020–over a year later.
My excuse? Not having enough time.
I’m a chronic perfectionist. I don’t want to put my name on something that isn’t up to my high standards–and that holds me back.
This blog is living proof. I’d had the domain name idea for a year. I had a bunch of content ideas in a notepad that I was waiting “for the right time” to write. I had a folder on my browser of themes I’d buy once I finally created the site.
But I didn’t do it for over a year.
Why? Because I didn’t have enough time to make it perfect. (But in all seriousness: I did.)
I’ve had 50+ hours to work on this over the course of a year, but because it wasn’t in a solid chunk, I didn’t want to start it.
Actual progress is better than perfect
Here’s the one thing I’ve learned after all of this: Things can’t be perfect if I don’t do actually them.
I put-off creating this blog because “I didn’t have enough time” to work on it in a solid chunk. I was waiting for an entire week I could dedicate to getting up and running–something all of those productivity experts recommend doing.
But, truth is: That made me even more stuck in the thought of waiting.
Two years is a long time. I could’ve had two years’ worth of content and people reading these posts. But I don’t–all because I put it off.
My mindset shift
So, where did the shift come from to stop putting-off starting this site?
Let me start by explaining my day-to-day life. I work from home running a freelance writing business. I work between 25 and 30 hours a week; the other time is spent either away from my computer doing non-productive tasks, like watching TV or scanning YouTube, or sleeping. I don’t do much more than that.
So, let’s say I gave up one hour of that TV-watching time four times week. That’s 16 hours a month I could’ve put towards this blog without massively changing my entire routine.
With 16 hours, I could’ve published three pieces of content. I could’ve bought the domain and designed the site. I could’ve built relationships with other people in this money space.
But instead, I spent it watching Suits. And while it is an incredible series, it’s not really *giving* me anything. It’s just my excuse for not starting in fear of it being imperfect.
That is what helped me shift my mindset.
You can do the same, and give yourself motivation to starting your thing, by looking at how you spend your day.
- Do you spend an hour scrolling through Instagram in the morning?
- Do you watch YouTube on your lunch break?
- Do you get to places 15 minutes early and wait in your car doing nothing?
I’m not telling you to cut-out those “time-wasting” tasks altogether. If you genuinely enjoy doing them, and they bring something to your life, continue it. (Even if that is just a few minutes to relax.)
The point is to look for things you’re wasting time on, and swap them with mini-steps that help you do *that thing* you’ve been waiting for the right time to start.
Chelsea Fagan sums this up perfectly:
“We can often feel like we have no time, but if we were to analyze how we’ve actually been spending that time, we would realize that we have plenty of it. It’s just not being well-used.”
Commit to starting your thing
Remember that thing you’re waiting to start? Make the first step today.
Even if you don’t do it all within one month, just make a start. Those tiny windows of work add up.
Don’t be like me, who could’ve already had this project up and running by this point. Write down exactly what you want to do, and the steps you need to take to get there. Plan them out over the next week (or month)–giving each mini-task a date.
Register the domain. Publish your first post. Hire someone to help you set-up an LLC or LTD company.
Regardless of what it is, “I don’t have enough time” isn’t an excuse. Because you do. You’re just waiting for the “perfect” time… which will never come.