Have you ever heard this line?:
“One day when I’m relatively free I’ll ...”
And you know something for sure. That day never comes along. No one is going to show up laughing ‘Ho, ho, ho’ and give you a big chunk of time. Yet, in every single day there is an enormous amount of time.
I call it dead time.
When I first started out in business, I had no time at all.
I’d be rushing from meeting to meeting. I’d be doing invoices. I’d be rushing around to get deadlines completed.
Yet, the moment I got in the car, there I was at ‘university.’ My car had dozens of tapes (yes, tapes) on a variety of topics. I’d listen to tapes about spirituality, about marketing strategy, about management. And I’d kinda pay attention, but mostly I’d be driving.
I found this dead time didn’t just apply to four wheels …
I hate exercise with a passion (I prefer to play games like badminton or football). Yet there was no way I’d have hours to go to a badminton court to play, so I had to do whatever exercise I could.
So I’d put on my mp3 player (Nike at the time, but since then I moved to iPod and then the iPhone). And I’d listen to conferences. I’d listen to Ted.com presentations. I’d listen to workshops. I’d listen to anything I could, sometimes with a listening plan – sometimes without.
At this point you may have two distinct objections …
Objection 1: You don’t like audio. You’d prefer to read. Or watch something.
Objection 2: What I consider dead time isn’t what you consider dead time.
Exercise to me, was dead time. But it may not be dead time for you
My wife Renuka loves exercise. She loves gardening. She doesn’t want any headphones in her ears while she’s busy in the garden, or doing her yoga. And so it may be for you. You may enjoy the activity and hence not particularly care to interrupt whatever you’re doing.
But there will be activities that are not so interesting. Like tidying up your desk. Or dusting. Or cleaning up the cupboard, driving back after dropping the kids to school. This is all dead time and it doesn’t matter if it’s just 15 or 30 minutes of activity in a day.
What 15-30 minutes of learning adds up to in a year …
Is a whopping two and half hours of a working week. In a year – and if we’re conservative and only take 45 weeks – that’s two and half hours x 45 weeks. That’s a monstrous 135 hours. Do you even realise what 135 hours means?
A live, all-day training session (a workshop for example) gives you just about 4-5 hours of information in any given day once you deduct all the breaks. 135 hours represents almost a month of sitting in workshops and learning. One whole month!
But what if you don’t like audio?
Well technology has come to your rescue, hasn’t it? You can watch video on your laptop or phone. You can get information off a Kindle, or your iPhone. And in the years to come there will be dozens of ways to listen, read or watch.
The only obstacle is you
You and your excuses.
And how you complain that you have no time.
So the next time you hear yourself saying: “One day when I’m relatively free I’ll ... “, you’ll know that you’re just fooling yourself. And that’s the time when you’ll put dead time to good use.
P.S. The reason why people remain average and stuck, is because they do what average and stuck people do.
They find every excuse in the book to let themselves off the hook. If you want to become exceptional, you can’t do what average people do. If you do what average people do, you’ll always remain average. Not to mention, stuck as well!
Most of us have no time at all. Yet most of us have enormous amounts of dead time.
The irony of it all, is that the smart folks have more time than you. They have more time than you at this very moment. And they’ll have more time than you in the future. And there’s a distinct reason why they have more time than you. It’s called the ‘Secret of Competency.’
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