Would you like more time to work on your side hustle business… or just more time, period?

If so… then welcome to a new outlook on your daily life!

If you are totally happy with the progress you’re making in your life and business, then maybe you don’t think your time is that big a deal. But If you’re like me, and feel frustrated that you feel like you never seem to have enough time to do the things you want to do, then there’s a need, a desire, to make something happen.

Maybe even enough to change the way we conduct our daily routine.

Sound difficult? Then read on… because I have a specific process that can help you find that time you’re looking for. And, best of all, you don’t have to do anything drastic like leave your day job or quit – because you might find that there’s a lot of opportunity in places you may not be looking.


Here are the six steps to building our time machine:

  1. Identifying Our Time Problem
  2. Finding A Source Of Energy
  3. Build A Framework
  4. Modding Our Time Machine
  5. Working Out The Bugs
  6. Wash, Rinse, Repeat

Got the toolbox ready? Great! Let’s get started…


Step 1: Identifying Our Time Problem

Come on ! I am in a hurry. - Imgur

Can this thing go any faster? I have a grooming appointment…

It’s easy to blame the same old reasons for our chronic lack of results.

As to why we don’t have the time we want in our day, we may cite reasons like the following:

  • “I’m a single mom with no time to even rest, much less create.”
  • “I spend all my time dealing with problems… and I’m exhausted.”
  • “My job drains the life out of me, I work sixty hours a week with an hour commute each way.”
  • “My ill health keeps me bed-ridden for hours every day.”

Despite these obstacles, it is possible to get more time out of your day to do what you want.

The first step is identifying that we have a time problem, and owning it. We won’t buy into this process of fixing it until we admit that it’s our problem. This brings the responsibility home to us. In other words, we take responsibility for it, and thus take responsibility for the solution.

Scary? Yes, responsibility is scary. But it’s necessary. And isn’t it better to feel in control of your situation instead of feeling out of control? Instead of relying on outside forces to change our lives for the better?

To do this, we need to stop talking about our time problem as if outside forces are at fault.

So, instead of saying it like this:

“I have no time to do make the stuff that I want to make!”

What if we framed the problem like this:

How do I make time to do my creative pursuits?”

Be encouraged and know that everybody…whether rich or poor, sick or well, young or old, successful or not so successful – has the same twenty four hour day and seven day week as you do. It’s what they do with it that makes all the difference.

And it starts with self-reflection about identifying the problems that currently occupy our time.

Action Items / Questions To Answer

  1. What do you find most frustrating about your daily schedule?
  2. Do you feel like you blame others for it, or do you take responsibility for the way your schedule is?
  3. If you were to make something today, what would that something be, and why?
  4. How is that ‘why’ important enough to shift around a few things to make time for it?

Step 2: Finding A Source of Energy for our Time Machine

When it's 32 degrees celsius outside and you have solar panels. - Imgur

“Time Management”…Yuck!

It sounds like some kind of boring corporate seminar that people who do ‘power lunches’ have. I personally never had much use for the concept…until I became so frustrated with where my time went each day, that I stopped to ask myself, “where does my time go, anyway?”

But first of all, we’re not going to talk about ‘management’ or anything like that. I want it to be fun.

So how do we address our lack of time when we find the topic so … dull?

How about, “Let’s build a time machine together?”

Now that sounds like fun!

When we decide to have fun in the process, instead of forcing ourselves, we are doing something very profound to our brain structure. We are actually re-wiring it to reinforce future behavior.

In other words, by having fun in the process now, we are making it more likely to do the process in the future.

This, not ‘discipline’ or ‘persistence’, is the key to continued and lasting success… training our brains to actually like being productive.

To start making those happy little neural pathways, we have put our thinking caps on and find out what it is that:

  • Excites us
  • Motivates us
  • Deeply moves us
  • We want to share with the world

In fact, we could call this the energy source, the fuel for our time machine. And if we use a clean source of energy, one that won’t burn us out, then we will find a limitless supply of motivation to keep our time machine going.

We are like little mice in that maze with the cheese. But we have and advantage over the mouse: we can put the cheese where we want it. And we can design our maze so that we actually enjoy finding the cheese.

Too weird? Maybe… but i’m still trying to help you reframe this whole thing in your mind so that you can sense the control you have of not only your situation, but how you feel during the solution.

So for now, lets not worry about what people will think of what we do… let’s just try to identify what activities and goals makes us feel fulfilled and happy. This will be the cheese in the maze… the energy for our time machine… or whatever you want to call it, that frames our pursuit and gives us our goal. We’ll call it our Wish List.

After all, if we don’t have something we actually like doing, how are we going to be motivated to make time for it?

Action Items / Questions To Answer

  1. Make a Wish List of the activities you would most like to engage in as part of your weekly routine.
  2. If you were to make something today, what would that something be, and why?
  3. How is that ‘why’ important enough to shift around a few things to make time for it?
  4. Are you feeling resistance within yourself right now? What is causing it?

Step 3: Build A Framework For Our Time Machine

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Now that we have: 1) identified our problem and 2) articulated what we want to do with our time, let’s get down to business.

Before you build something, it has to have a foundation and a structure. Like a skeleton, or a framework for an automobile.

The same thing goes for our time machine… it has an existing framework that we can modify to suit our needs. And do do that, we need to find out what kind of time framework we’re currently working with.

We will do that by examining your current schedule for a typical week. That is our framework we have to work with, then we’ll figure out what to do from there. We’ll start with the weekdays.

Take a typical weekday, and from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed, and identify the time you spend during that day. Write it on a piece of paper or in a digital form.

For example, Monday may look something like this:

Monday

7:00 – Wake up
8:00 – Leave for work
8:35 – Arrive at work
12:30 – Break for lunch
1:30 – Back to work
5:30 – Leave for home
6:00 – Get home, start dinner
6:30 – Eat dinner
7:00 – Clean up, do chores
8:00 – Watch a little TV
10:00 – Get ready for bed
10:30 – In bed, watch some more TV, check social media
11:00 – Go to sleep

Your weekly days may vary… for instance, maybe you run errands after work on tuesdays, or take the kids to softball practice on thursday evenings, or whatever.

Now, once you’re done with the weekdays, let’s do the weekends. Follow the same format. You should now have a full week that’s as close as possible to what you would consider a ‘typical’ week.

You can be as detailed as possible (in fact, the more detailed, the better.) But don’t spend too long on it. (In fact, some of you detail-oriented folks may spend TOO long on this… which may be part of your problem!) Limit yourself to no more than two 15-minute sessions to list your ‘typical’ week. More than that is spending too long for this exercise.

Action Items / Questions To Answer

  1. Go ahead and complete the Weekly Schedule exercise.
  2. Was this difficult to do? Why?
  3. What did you learn by doing this exercise? What stands out to you the most?

Step 4: Modding Our Time Machine

Now that's a modification I can relate to

Now that’s a modification I can relate to

Hang in there… this is where is really starts to get fun! And we will really begin to see how we can make time for our stuff we want to do. Remember our step two exercise where we made the list of stuff we want to do? We’ll combine that list with the framework we identified in the last section.

Have you heard of the modding community (also often called the “maker” community)? It’s pretty interesting… they take normal everyday objects, or stuff that doesn’t cost very much, and make neat stuff out of it. Many times they are much smarter than I could ever hope to be, especially the ones that attach microprocessors to stuff and make them come alive!

Well, we’re going to do something similar… but it won’t be too hard, I promise. It will be fun, in fact… and pretty revealing. Because you may have already seen from the previous exercise that you did, that there are some pretty significant chunks of time in your schedule. After all, twenty-four hours is a pretty large chunk of time (even after subtracting sleep time.)

OK, while we’re on the subject of sleep… I do not expect (or want) you to cut into sleep time to get more time for your time. Find out what you can do… i’ll acknowledge that some people can get by on only 6 hours of sleep, some need a full 8 (less than 6 is really cutting it there… ) As a recovering night owl I denied myself sleep for years, and also denied the ill effects that resulted. I’m telling you, it’s not worth it! If you follow the methods I list here, and have patience with yourself, you will find that you don’t have to cut into your sleep time.

Ok, off the sleep soapbox now… so aside from sleep, let’s look through our time framework that we have to work with (the result of the previous exercise.)

Do you see any gaps? Any chunks of time that we can put something in there?

Preferably, these chunks are at least 30 minutes. Because it takes at least 30 minutes to get rolling when you’re doing an activity… anything less isn’t really worth it.

Here are some ideas for areas you can squeeze some time into. You don’t have to do these by any means, they just worked for me.

– Early Morning

This may sound like I’m going against my ‘sleep’ rule I stated earlier, but when I started to discipline myself to get to bed at a decent time, it made much more room for waking up early. I wasn’t doing much productive at night anyway, I was tired from my day and my pace was much slower.
I found that once I started getting up as a routine, got coffee into my system, and started working, I was much more productive. And take it from me… I would NEVER be confused with anything close to a morning person before this. But since I was doing stuff I really wanted to do, with the idea of putting it out into the world to share it, I had an energy that I found refreshingly abundant. (Ok, the coffee helped too…)

– Commuting

If you have a commute, then don’t discount that time. You can use it to your advantage by dictating into a voice recorder. I have leveraged my time on my commute to dictate blog posts, business ideas, and lots of other stuff. (Please be safe doing this… I use a bluetooth headset that all i have to do is push a button and start dictating to use…it goes right into my iPhone’s voice recorder, where it’s stored until I tag it and move it.)

You can also use this time to listen to motivational audio. Your commute can be your own “highway university”. To make it more relevant, find topics that pertain to the exact thing you’re working on at the moment.

– Lunch Break

If you work in an office, and have an hour, or even half an hour, you can use this as well. Try to go off somewhere that people don’t know you. Every time I take lunch at my desk, people for some reason think it’s still ok to bother me with work, even when they stop by and see that I’m eating! Talk about boundary issues!

Instead of being frustrated and harassed, I found it much better to get out of the office and go somewhere I can be anonymous.

If you usually take this time to hang out with work friends and have lunch with them, consider cutting that back to once a week or something like that. I know that may sound snobby. But it all boils down to what you really want out of life. If you really feel like that time with your work friends is feeding your soul, then go for it. Just don’t complain about not having time if you don’t want to sacrifice anything.

– Dead Time

We all have those moments of ‘dead time’ where we’re waiting at an appointment or waiting in line at a government office of some kind. Instead of staring at cinderblock walls, work on your business… sketch in your sketchbook, write in your tablet, or type in a note app on your smartphone.
The key here is to pre-plan what you’re going to do during those inevitable dead times. When you already know what you plan to do at those times, then you’re less likely to waste that time by picking up the dog-eared gossip magazine in the waiting room and thumbing through it aimlessly.

– Down Time At Home

Ideally, at the end of our day, we have a little “me” time. This is where the real test is…. and where you may look at me like I’m from another planet. But stick with me, here.

If you usually veg out in front of the TV, or scroll around on various social media websites, you may find that while these passive activities can be relaxing, they are enormous time sinks. Let me rephrase that….ENORMOUS. You know I’m right.

But let me just ask… do these mindless activities feed your life? Do they help you feel like you have control of your destiny? Are they helping you further your goals?

If not, then you may consider cutting back… or cutting them out completely.

To do this, you will need to have a plan. Like for those dead times I talked about, you will have to have a pre-scheduled activity set for these times. When you plan what to do on this time, then you’re much more likely to do it. In fact, if you’ve followed my prescription of listing activities that you want to do, you will actually look forward to it all day. Instead of looking back on a lot of wasted time, you will have something substantial to show for the time spent. Then, before you know it, you won’t give that time up for the world.

So, we have the Fuel (our Wish List) and our Framework (our current weekly schedule)… let’s see what creative activities we can fit into the gaps of our schedule to modify our Time Machine into helping us churn out the awesome stuff we know we can do!

Start with the highest goals on your wish list… the stuff you want to do first, or to do the most.

Don’t pressure yourself to try to wedge it all in there… be realistic. The best goals are challenging, but still attainable… don’t set yourself up for disappointment by cramming in too much.

Also, be sure to allow room for the essential stuff. In other words, don’t compromise your life’s other requirements, like sleep, health, and your closest relationships.

Don’t try to get it perfect… the goal is to have something that you feel good about, that you feel you can try for the next week. If you don’t feel it is attainable, or worth doing, then you won’t adhere to it. You have to “buy in” to the process to give yourself a change to succeed. Work on it until it feels right.

Action Items / Questions To Answer

Take your Wish List and your Calendar and combine them by putting creative activities you want to do into your schedule.

  1. Do you feel like you have enough of the goals you want in there?
  2. Are you still allowing enough time for things that are essential, like sleep and family?
  3. How do you feel about the new calendar? Do you think it is realistic? If not, go back and modify it until it does.
  4. Give yourself one week to work with your new calendar and try it out.

Step 5: Working The Bugs Out Of Our Time Machine

Still working out some bugs in my network. - Imgur

I once knew a guy whose Playstation 2 actually looked like this on the inside.

No plan is perfect, no calendar is foolproof, and your newly modded Time Machine can’t be expected to hum along perfectly the first time.

This whole process is cyclical. There’s a repeat loop. Each time the loop repeats, we tweak something, tap a little bit here and there with our hammer, and see if it works better. Usually, it does.

Every week, it’s important to sit down and evaluate the previous week. For me, that’s on Sunday, I have a bit more flexibility, and my family is getting ready for the week ahead. I look back at my previous week’s calendar and see where I need to modify things, and make a new calendar.

Working Out The Bugs

But before we do that, let’s talk about bugs, Gremlins, whatever you call them… those pesky little things that get into our lives and mess up the internal workings of our time machine. I’m talking about the little emergencies that seem to pop up all day that seem to take up all our time. We need a plan for how we are going to deal with them. Here are a few ideas.

Use The Magic Word

The most magical word for anybody who values their time is a little two-letter word: NO.
“No” has a lot of power when you use it, because using it means saying “Yes” to your Wish List. As a recovering “Yes-aholic”, I have learned that saying “yes” to something that doesn’t fit my goals (but that fits someone else’s) may feel like the right thing to do at the time… but it often means trading in my precious time to fulfill that promise. There are many graceful ways to say “no” to a person, it doesn’t have to be rude.

Batch Those Buggers

If we have lots of little tasks that seem to pop up and take our time away, consider batching them together – dealing with them in chunks. Or delay them until you have enough gathered up to make it worth dealing with at one time.
For me, an example of this is the little errands I have to run during the week. I find that if i can pre-plan them, then I can do them when I’m in the same part of town, instead of going out for each little errand. For some of us, this may mean getting groceries once every other week instead of every week. Or, it may mean putting off an appointment across town until we can schedule it with another appointment the next week that is in the same part of town.

Plan Ahead

I already mentioned planning ahead in the “batching” advice, but in general, if you have a pre-made plan for dealing with little problems, issues, or items that pop up during your week then you can deal with them more easily.
Make it rewarding to plan ahead… sit in your favorite chair with a cup of coffee or hot tea, something you like. If you live in a busy, noisy place, you may want to choose a time for this when the kids are in bed or when it’s quiet. Then plan. Again, make this rewarding. Congratulate yourself for the stuff you were able to do the previous week. Acknowledge, but don’t beat yourself up, for the stuff you didn’t get done.

Delegate

Considering using other people for those pesky bugs. Much of the time, if we really look at what we do, we do things that other people are much better at doing, or it’s already their job anyway. It may be that with a little bit of explaining, someone can do the job just as good as we can or better. This may apply at work with coworkers, or it could apply at home with kids.

Get Them Before They Get Out Of Control

We’ve all had pests that we tried to ignore, hoping that they would go away. They not only remain, but they reproduce!
Time bugs are the same way. When they’re left to multiply, they just get worse and worse. Often these take the form of stuff we put off because we don’t want to do them.
There’s a gem of a little book by Brian Tracy called Eat That Frog that deals with this issue. His premise is that if the worst thing you had to do all day was eat a frog, then you may as well do that first. Not only do you get that worst thing out of the way immediately, it doesn’t ruin your day by giving you something to dread for hours. (Sounds disgusting, I know… but he really has a point. And the book is a very short read, it’s worth picking up.)

So, with some strategies for getting those Time Bugs dealt with, let’s sit down and review our previous week, answer some questions, and tweak our calendar accordingly.

Action Items / Questions To Answer

  1. What were you able to do that you wanted to accomplish?
  2. What difficulties did you face trying to do them?
  3. How did you feel after getting some of your creative goals accomplished?
  4. If you didn’t get as much done, why? What ‘bugs’ came in and ruined your schedule?
  5. If so, what strategies do you plan to use to deal with them?

Step 6: Wash, Rinse, Repeat

Repetition... - Imgur

You have already bought into the concept of practicing… and you know that the result of regular efforts pay off in the end. You know by now that it’s not all about talent or random chance, but by deliberate action that you get better as an ambitious business owner and entrepreneur.

As we continue using our Time Machine to provide a schedule where we can work on our business, keep in mind that it’s not a “set it and forget it” type of machine. She’s a high performance engine, baby! And like a fancy Ferrari, she requires regular maintenance to keep her running smoothly.

Continue to develop the personal productivity cycle that works for you: action, evaluation, tweaking, and more action. This way you will continually grow, and have a satisfying career in the process.

Caution: Success Ahead

I can’t stress enough the importance of having fun during this process. Having fun is not just about warm feelies, it’s about feeling a deep sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that we are heading in the right direction of our goals. In fact, if you aren’t feeling drawn to this process, then that’s a sign that there are some deeper issues afoot that you may want to face head-on and deal with.

If so, then go back to the very beginning of this process, to the fuel in your machine, to the ‘why’ of your Wish List. Do you really want those things that you said you wanted? If so, then take action! Make a decision to go one way or the other, don’t doom yourself to live between two worlds, never happy.

Whatever the issues are that keep you from the creative life you want and deserve, tackle them one at a time. If you run out of energy, tap into the amazing power source of your “why” to help you keep going.

Action Items / Questions To Answer

  1. Identify the things you have noticed that keep you from taking action.
  2. What plan can you put in place to deal with these barriers?
  3. Is your “why” strong enough to overcome these barriers?
  4. If not, then reevaluate your deep motivations and goals… what is it you really want out of life?
  5. If so, how can you use the fuel of your “why” to overcome them?

Final Notes Of Encouragement

Take the time to vote for yourself. Give yourself a chance to succeed.

Developing a business, no matter how big or small, takes time. Give it all the time you need to start building it NOW… or you’ll run out of time.

Regards,

Mike