The Fallacy of Time

Professional Engineer Time Block Engineer In Training ExamIs that a huge mental block you got their sir?

Why yes, yes it is.

Well sir, it does not appear to have a foundation to stand on, how is it not falling down?

Not sure, it’s just how it has been since it was built, I never thought to test its stability…I just accepted that it was built correctly.

……

This is my life…this is your life…it’s a mental thing.

……

A book that gets heavy use in my household is one by the name of Rework by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier.

A revolutionary manifesto on the direction of business, and one that goes on to blow away some of the most conventional beliefs we have both as individual employees and leaders.  Some points in the book can be borderline extremist, but that is the point:

To evolve in business (or life) we need to test those theories (or thoughts) that have been established, either directly or indirectly, as the foundation to our existence as human beings.

As a Professional Engineer and mentor of those sitting for both the Fundamentals of Engineering exam and the Professional Engineering Exam, one of the most common 5 words I hear in a row are:

“I don’t have the time”

These words are typically preceded by something to the effect of “I really want to, but…”

Face Palm.

What does that mean that you really want to….but…don’t have the time.  How do those two independent clauses even come to be in a union?

Wait…I have the answer…that friend of yours that goes by the name “I don’t have the time” is someone you think is your friend but he’s really your enemy…a secret identity, disguised to hide his true colors…and when exposed, you are really meaning to say that “It’s not a priority”

But this doesn’t relate to you, does it? It’s too far fetched…or is it?

In a Bureau of Labor Statistics survey on “Time Use”, it concluded that we as individuals have a faulty impression of how we use our time in this go-go of a World we live in.

We all have the same amount of time in any given week, but we see some people on one side scaling their careers to new levels, while those on the other side are suffering from “not having enough time”.  The fact remains, though we often claim to be victims of being “too busy”, we seldom really think through exactly how we are using our time on a day-to-day basis.

And as it was concluded in this Bureau of Labor Statistics study, though the majority of us use the excuse of being “busy” and “starved for time”, it is more a subconscious way of illustrating that we matter to others…or put another way, it makes us feel important.

Here’s the thing, I am being blunt and to the point here because I was a victim of this way of thinking too…and still am at times.  I look to you reading this article as a friend, one that if I can just help finally recognize this way of thinking for what it is, that you can move on to testing these walls for stability.  That once you find it’s validity to be non existent, that you will move on to being more successful in your day to day life and in your career overall.

To evolve in life we need to test those thoughts that have been established, either directly or indirectly, as the foundation to our existence as human beings.

“To evolve in life we need to test those thoughts that have been established, either directly or indirectly, as the foundation to our existence as human beings. – @prepineer” – Click to Tweet

So here’s our strategy in commencing the war on this unstable “I don’t have the time” wall that we have built…here’s your first two counterattacks:

Drop a log:

They say seeing is believing, and in this instance, it’s no different.  Keeping track of our time is the first step to exposing that disguised ‘enemy’ of ours.

For one week, commit to writing down everything you do in a day, and you will see real quickly the amount of time you spend doing mindless things like checking Facebook and Twitter, and other time syncs like watching the boob tube.

When we actually put it in writing and visualize it, we can’t honestly tell ourselves we “don’t have time” when we see that we are checking Facebook 10 times a day and sitting on the couch for 2 hours watching some reality show.

Expose your thinking for what it is:

The next time you want to tell yourself “I don’t have time”, switch it up to what you really should be saying…”it’s not a priority,” and see how that feels.

You will find often that this is a fairly accurate explanation of what you are really thinking.

Try it…

“I don’t have the time to set up my study schedule for the FE Exam” becomes “It’s not a priority to set up my study schedule for the FE Exam”

Or

“I don’t have the time to gather my references for the Professional Engineer exam” becomes “It’s not a priority to gather my references for the Professional Engineer exam”

If these phrases don’t sit well with you, that’s the point.  Internal conflict is not comfortable, never will be…but we are pushing our conventional way of thinking to expand our minds and overall push our careers to new levels.

If you want more in your career, there’s no real secret. It’s about adjusting your priorities and your perception so that progress becomes an extension of who you are and what you do.

Now for some action…be honest, in the comments, what is one thing you can do TODAY to start taking control of this valuable commodity we know as time.

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