I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how having a 9–5 job might be getting in the way of my dream to be a blogger/writer that inspires millions of people.
The day after having this thought, I had approximately ten days to do whatever I wanted. My girlfriend was away overseas and I had the apartment to myself.
You’d think it was the perfect storm to churn out some of my best work and write heaps of blog posts. I believed that lie too. That was until the ten days came to an end and I’d basically achieved nothing.
I thought to myself “How can this be? I had all the time in the world.”
Then I realized not having time is the asset.
The asset is a lack of time.
When you have all the time in the world to work on your craft, there’s a high chance you’ll procrastinate and get lazy.
One of the reasons I’ve figured out I’m hyper-productive is because I have to go to a stressful 9–5 each day and then still find the time to write — unlike those influencers who can sit around all day, take selfies, talk about being rich, take a photo of some one hundred dollar bills and shout “I’m free biatch!”
That’s not my reality and it’s probably not yours either. That’s our asset. Let me explain further.
Not having time because of something like a 9–5 job is a good thing. It means when you do work on your craft you have to be productive and actually get the work done. It’s in this mood and state of mind that FLOW STATES are produced, so I’ve learned.
In a flow state, your best work comes out of you and you lose all concept of time. Your emotion takes over and the ability to inspire with whatever it is that you do (in my case writing) comes out of you in a miraculous flow of energy.
When you look back on these blocks of time, it’s hard to imagine what happened. You’ll think to yourself “Was I just tripping for six hours?”
A task will take up the time you allocate to it.
In my case, I allocated ten days to write some of the best work I’ve ever produced and hardly wrote one complete blog post.
The reason for this is something called Parkinson’s law.
“Parkinson’s law is the tendency for the amount of work required for a task to increase so that it consumes any amount of time that may be allotted to it” — Unknown
It’s this law that works against us — often without us realizing it.
I’ve experienced this famous law also take its toll on me when I decided to take the fifth working day of every week off to write. What looked like a beautiful miracle (as most workplaces won’t 4 day work weeks) became a burden.
Having all that times was messed up. The temptation to Netflix and Chill was like having a mountain of cash sitting in front of you and not resisting the urge to take a few bills and go have a night on the town.
Having time is the opposite of the fantasy that plays out in your mind about what you could do with it if only you had more of it.
Time can easily be seen as a weakness, but it can also be seen as an advantage.
The more time you have for a task, the more complex you’re inclined to make it.
I’m one of those people that likes to overcomplicate even the simplest task.
Many of you reading this suffer from this same challenge because we’re wired that way. Having time, I found, makes me more inclined to complicate simple things.
“They gave me six hours to write XYZ blog post so it must need to be complicated, right?”
Time gives us room to make things complicated. Lack of time helps us keep things simple.
The very fact that I don’t have huge amounts of time before and after work to write forces me to keep things simple. Often, I can’t write anything beyond 1500 words because there just isn’t time. The other issue I face is having the energy. Writing 10,000 words after I’ve just worked a stressful day in the office is not possible for me. I don’t have the energy, so I’m forced to keep things simple and aim for 1000 words.
Some days all I can churn out is a 1500 character LinkedIn post — these posts have become some of my most viral content.
Complexity created by having time can quickly become the enemy of simplicity which is the result of not having enough time.
Tiny chunks of time to work on your craft force you to focus.
Without time, I’m forced to focus. Focus comes when you put your phone away, turn off notifications, close your social media and get to work.
A lack of time forces you to focus so you can maximize what it is you’re trying to achieve. Our attention spans have become so short that finding blocks of time to focus has become like searching for gold in the gold rush of the early 1800s.
When I spend one hour a night doing my writing, it’s only a very short amount of time to produce something that I’ll hopefully be proud of. I’m able to focus quickly because to miss my goal produces emotions that I dislike such as frustration.
My nights used to be spent surfing the internet and scrolling through my social media newsfeed in the search for answers to the meaning of life.
Now I’m using those small chunks of time to produce my best work and leave a legacy behind. That’s the power of not having time and using it as an asset.
Don’t go for perfect
With time, it’s easy to aim for perfection.
Parkinson’s law rears its ugly head when you have time on your side and then use it to try and make your work perfect. Not having time allows you to do the best work you can without becoming obsessed with whether it’s perfect or even finished.
Most of my work is unfinished and that’s what allows me to get it out into the world in the first place.
I know you think you need more time but let me tell you from experience that it will only make you want to produce perfect work, waste even more time and procrastinate like mad because you can.
Not having time helped the Kite Runner author.
I want to give you a real-life example of how not having time is an asset.
Khaled Hosseini wrote a famous book called Kite Runner while practicing medicine — a field of work that is time-consuming and complex. At 4 am each day, he would begin writing his now famous book before he’d go to work at his practice.
Not having the time forced him to wake up at this ridiculous hour so he’d have the time to write his book. It was this habit and the lack of time that helped him finish the novel, and go on to define his career with the launch of his book Kite Runner.
Not having time helped Khaled and it can help you too.
Summary: Lack of time is working in your favor
Quit with the excuse that you don’t have time.
There are people that have all the time in the world that would happily trade places with you so they could not have enough time and actually achieve their life’s purpose instead of pissing time up against the wall because they can.
Not having time will help you do your best work.
Not having time forces you to focus
Not having time is an asset.