I just don’t have time.

I’m way too busy.

No time.

These are the sorts of things I hear from a lot of people lately. They’re true. They’re not false, necessarily. To put it another way, they’re not purposefully lying. However, they’re not actually right. I’m reading a really great book right now, for pleasure, something I don’t get to do nearly enough. It’s The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom. For those unfamiliar with Albom’s work, he’s actually a Detroit sports writer who has happened to became an incredibly popular and powerful writer on the subject of spirituality. His most famous works are Tuesdays With Morrie and The Five People You Meet In Heaven. I’ve read everything he’s every written. His books are short and well composed, which makes it much easier. Hist most recent book is a stunning look at time management from a very different perspective; that of “Father Time”.

I don’t want to get too deep into the plot of the book because it is incredibly well written and thus far I would really recommend it. But I would like to bring up one particular section of the book. The book deals with the concept of time, how we measure it and why and it’s led me to think about how we approach our workday. Specifically, if you couldn’t measure time, how would this effect your workday? I think it’s a legitimate question. Imagine if you showed up to work, did your job and then went home, independent of what time it was?

This is not the first time I’ve brought up this point. Some of you may find this to be a rehashed version of a previous post I wrote on the subject of time management and I guess in a lot of ways it is. Here I stand (well, sit) espousing the positive aspects of leading a life independent of a “schedule”. I’ve been reading a lot of work lately on the topic of time management, which may or may not be seen as a pretty incredible waste of time, and I’m always blown away when people talk about commitment to schedules. “When running a side hustle, you should work at these times, on these days, for this long….” Sure. Great. That’s awesome. For you. Because that’s your go time.

Go time is a new theory I’ve been working on with help from a lot of pros. Our employment system bases itself on the theory that work is best completed between the hours of 9am and 5pm. And in some cases, these sorts of distinctions are necessary. A 24 hour call center needs people all the time, so obviously some people need to work early and some people need to work late. Fact. But these systems generally don’t take into account when people are at their best.

For example, I have multiple go times. Noon to 2pm. 7 to 9pm. 11am to 2am. These are the times when I do my best work. I know that I can get things done in these chunks because they’re my go times. I don’t say “I will work for these 2 hours, these 2 hours and these 3 hours. I just work when those moods strike me, get things done and then relax. I don’t (unless forced to) bill projects per hour. I bill them by activity. Sometimes it takes me longer to do that, sometimes time flies and I get it done quickly. But I don’t punish the client because I’m struggling with a logo or a website or some content and I don’t punish myself because I was super productive and I got things done quicker. I don’t time things. Period.

My recommendations. Stop looking at the clock. Stop punching it. And take the time to read a great book, like Mitch Albom’s The Time Keeper.