I did the worst thing a recent college graduate could ever do.
I put a deadline on my success – or what I assumed success to be. To top it off, I gave myself some pretty high standards. I told myself I needed to be a millionaire by 25, and married with a family by 28.
When you live in a world of Patrick Ngowi’s (Tanzania’s entrepreneurial superstar) it’s difficult not to put yourself on a deadline. As my friends are moving into their careers, getting married, and starting families – I sometimes feel like time is against me.
Have you ever felt that way? Like you want to have it all, right now? We’re the “microwave generation”. We’ve been raised with a very quick and easy idea of how life should go. It’s important to remember that the best meals, think Thanksgiving, are not cooked in the microwave and take time to prepare.
When we shift our perspective and realize that time is on our side when we’re making the most of it, it creates a space of peace with our paths and patience with the process.
As I look at all the things I do have now, I realize that if I had gotten them when I thought I should have had them, I would’ve wasted them. A wise man once said “It’s never too late, but sometimes it’s too early.”
Along with trusting the process and learning patience, it’s also important to be sure that you’re intentional about how you’re using your time.
Here are 5 tips for making sure that you’re making the most of every day.
Prioritize what matters - Social media is a huge time consumer We spend lots of time scrolling and watching others’ lives. If social media is a huge part of your business, invest in automation software so you free up those hours of your day to get the real work done. Also, set specific hours when you check emails, return phone calls, and respond to comments and questions.
Invest time, don’t just spend it - decide what activities are using the most of your time. Which ones are important and how can you manage them to maximize your hours?
Delegate Tasks - outsourcing the rote tasks that are necessary but are not fueling your passion is a great way to free up hours. If customer service isn’t your strong suit but it’s using up precious hours of your day, hire a virtual assistant to handle that leg of your business. It may be a bit of an investment but you will make it back 10 times over in time saved and more important bricks laid.
Lay a brick everyday - One of the major ways we waste time is by being overwhelmed. Learn to break down your goals into bite sized tasks and do those tasks daily. A rule of thumb is to minimize your to-do list to 3-5 tasks per day. Try not to overestimate what you can do in a day and underestimate what you can do in a year.
Have patience - Patience is a virtue. I know you’ve heard it a thousand times but it’s true. Many of the mistakes we make in life and in business come from trying to put the cart before the horse. If you are doing all that you need to do and it’s not happening for you overnight, understand that there are important qualities you will need to uphold your success that are being “made” while you wait. Appreciate the journey.
Remember to detach your happiness from the outcome. Appreciate the process of fulfilling your dreams. When we I've our lives in the future, we miss out on valuable opportunities to be who we think we are becoming, in the present. As you look around at your peers, remember that every fruit ripens in it’s own time. To rush the process, produces a weak fruit.
Stay present. Stay focused. Stay grateful. Your time will come if you don’t get comfortable.