We All Have 24 Hours in Our Day

Has anyone ever told you something like: You have just as much time each day as Thomas Edison and Bill Gates (or Steve Jobs). Everyone has 24 hours each day, no matter who they are.

Take a moment and notice your thoughts around this. What are you thinking? What are you feeling right now?

Generally, this kind of thing is meant to motivate you, to encourage you to spend your time wisely. And when I’m feeling overwhelmed with my goals or tasks, this sort of comment or quote annoys the heck out of me!

My thoughts tend to go like this: Good for them! They accomplished great things! Yes, I get your point, I can do that too – but how can I possibly do more in my day!?

Did you catch what happened there? I made an assumption. Based on my frustration and annoyance that I’m not “doing” enough it makes complete sense that I would make that assumption. Maybe you made the same assumption when you read it.

The assumption is that the purpose of the quote is to encourage me to do more each day. Be more productive, get more done, because obviously (another assumption here) the people who are more successful do more each day.

Is “doing more” the real purpose of pointing out everyone gets 24 hours each day? Maybe, maybe not. The real purpose doesn’t really matter.

What matters is how we interpret it. You interpret everything from where you are. So, at different points in your life, or heck, different points in your day, you will interpret the same sentence a different way.

When I’m tired, frustrated and overwhelmed I interpret everyone getting the same 24 hours as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs (or Mother Theresa for that matter) as someone telling me I should be “doing more” or “being more productive.” That time is something everyone struggles with daily.

However, at other times of the day you (and I) might view it differently. Here are some other ways to interpret it:

  • You immediately look at how productive you are and how you can improve it. Then you create strategies and plans to manage your time and stay productive! What doesn’t work for you today you’ll modify and do better tomorrow.
  • You think about all the different ways you can use your time (it’s kind of exciting!) and look for the ways you can make the greatest impact for others.
  • You think it’s really great that you get to choose how to spend your time. Maybe you’ll relax today or work on that project. Either way, it’s your choice and a great way to spend your time!

How did you respond to the “24 hours” comment?

How would you like to respond?

Leave a comment and let me know!