Beating “I Don’t Have Time”

Beating “I Don’t Have Time”

Productivity is a mental game as much as it is about doing things. One of the limiting beliefs I hear people tell themselves over and over is, “I don’t have time.”

I used to be a chronic “I don’t have time” person, but I have found that I actually do have time to do more things than I thought possible. Today we’ll look at how I use those chunks of time to get more done.

Beating I Don’t Have Time

The truth of the matter is that we all have the same amount of time during a day. Yet some people manage to get more done than we think possible. We think, “I don’t have time” and wonder at their productivity. But the truth is, we do have time. It’s just a matter of resetting our sense of time and using tools to help us take advantage of the time.

Resetting My Sense of Time

Most of us have a skewed sense of how long any given time period is. How much could you get done in 5 minutes? 15 minutes? 30 minutes? More than you think.

By using a timer routinely with your tasks, you can see how long each time period really is and what you can accomplish.

I used to think I didn’t have time to write blog articles unless I had a whole evening or two free. Now I write as part of my morning routine – 30 minutes every morning, and I find that I can write and finish an article every day.

Timers are great because you can let someone else keep track of the time. Time can seem variable; we all have had days where it flies by or drags on. By setting a timer and focusing on the work, you will be surprised at how much you can get done.

Just Getting Started

“Just do it.” Sometimes “I don’t have time” is a reason we use for not starting a task. It’s a falsehood, though. Five minutes is enough to get started on any task. And if it’s a task that you can’t stop once you start, getting out the materials needed will take less than five minutes.

I also find that once I get started, I complete the task much faster than I thought I could and often get it done in the small bit of time allotted.

Don’t forget about Parkinson’s Law: “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” Sometimes the work can be done in the time allotted, even if you think it is too short.

Giving Myself Permission to Not Finish Right Now

You might not be able to finish a task in the small bit of time you have, but you can probably make a good start. “I don’t have time” usually comes from a place of thinking about the whole task, rather than doing part of it. When I give myself permission to not complete a task in a single setting, I am more likely to get it done.

It is rare that I have large chunks of time in my schedule in which to complete tasks that take longer. So breaking the task down and getting started gets me past this mental block and into the mind space of doing the task.


There are a lot of ways to get over the self-imposed limit of “I don’t have time.” These can include using a timer to reset your sense of time, just getting started, and giving yourself permission to leave the task incomplete for now.

Over To You

Today, be mindful of the small chunks of time and use these principles to see if you can get more done.
Lukas Blazek