Time poverty – myth, or reality?


Published: 8 Oct 2018

Emotional well-being

Why are people so time poor that they tell me they don’t even have time to check out free resources and help?

Why don’t they access that help even when they’ve paid for it?

Time poverty is at epidemic proportions.

I try my very best not to run on ego, but some days it baffles me when I talk to people and they tell me about their problems with communication. I find myself saying often “did you notice that there’s a video, article/blog/podcast about that on my site?”

Then the answer comes……….. ”Oh, I haven’t had time to check it out properly.”

Did you know that my site has this amazing widget called Speakpipe? If you’re a member you can press that button whenever you like and get 1-1 help for your specific issue from me – like having your own personal communication coach on call!

It’s frustrating. A good analogy would be a starving man saying he hadn’t got time to stop hustling to open the fridge that is right near to him full of delicious and nutritious food.

“I’m time poor” is a ‘one size fits all’ giant crock of s@#t that is meaningless, and demeaning.

Here’s what it really means – you are at the mercy of time. You have accepted and invited in that you are at the mercy of time. You have fully enabled time to be the boss of you. You now have a dictatorial, unforgiving boss who rules you and calls the shots, and……. makes you feel bad into the bargain because you can’t fit everything in. You possibly also have other people in your life that you have willingly conceded time to through repeat activities and ‘jobs’ which they now fully understand are yours (not theirs).

Let’s get real for a tiny minute.

Busy isn’t clever. It was never clever (except maybe for a nano-second in the 90’s when women were trying to break the glass ceiling).

It doesn’t make you seem more important or special. It doesn’t make those who love you (or want to love you) feel important or special. It doesn’t prove you are better than anyone else. Or good at your job. It doesn’t force people to have confidence in you. Choose you. Want to be with you.

Now for those of you that are getting really antsy with me right now, let me stop you and save you the rise in heart rate. I’ve heard it all before:

“But, I’m a single mom working 3 jobs”. (Yes, I’ve done that.)

“But you have the luxury of a second income from your partner– I don’t. (Yes, I’ve done that too)

“How is it practically possible to put yourself first, first thing every day?” (It just is. And it’s easy into the bargain).

Here are 10 reasons that may put it into perspective, (and I’m yet to come across anyone in my work that wasn’t ‘guilty’ of at least one of these that is taking their precious time away).

Why are you time poor?

  1. You believe and accept that you are.
  2. You waste time on Facebook and social media.
  3. You don’t say NO!
  4. You don’t actually know where your time goes.
  5. You’re an ineffective communicator.
  6. You’re un-organised. Late, late, late. Get organised.
  7. You’re a starter – not a finisher.
  8. You’re a control freak and do lots of things that you think others can’t do as well as you.
  9. You’re running on ‘fast’ and look for the quick fix version of everything to justify your theory of time poverty.
  10. Because you believe and accept that you are time poor.

Sounds harsh doesn’t it? There will be those of you who are vastly affronted by those 10 things. Your mind is now racing to counter my statement with how many hours a week you work, how you have no help, how that’s ‘just how your job is/what it takes to do a good job’, and the best is always the last…….”that’s just how life is for ‘normal’ people”.

Hmm. Is that life though? Isn’t that merely existing?

Consider……… if it’s not time that you have a limited amount of – but attention?

We choose what we pay attention to or prioritise. If you are not prioritising XYZ, then you won’t have time for it.

Do you just mindlessly chew through your time at present?

And, is there a link between perceived time poverty and your communication style? YES!

The more passive you are the more time you will lose doing things you don’t want to do. Check out my Podcast “What do you run on” to gain insight into your innate communication style.


What can help you avoid the time poverty trap?

  • Become minimalist – Less is always more. The simpler your life is, the less you have to ‘service’ (maintenance, clean, watch). You have more freedom in time, money and energy, when you have less. If you need some FREE advice on how to be more minimalistic check out this FREE article  – Less is Everything  https://www.elementalpotential.com/2018/10/08/9289/


  • Protect your 9,000 hours. It’s an analogy I often use to help passive people protect their time. It goes something like this (with lots of artistic licence). If your average person who is around 45 years old does all of the same things an average person does – sleeps 8 hours a day, works 8 hours a day, showers, walks the dog, has sex, cooks, eats, exercises, does paperwork/paying bills, taking kids to activities etc etc. Then what you have left if you live to be an average age of 78 -82 is around 9,000 FREEWILL hours. Totally freewill hours to do whatever you want with. Things that make you genuinely happy and float your boat.

I’ve met people working them through my Live and Work in Your Element programme who professed to only have 20 minutes a day of freewill time after they’d done everything else for everyone else in their life. 20 minutes! If that’s really true (and sad) then they only have around 3,500 hours of freewill time left in their life. That is NOT living.

  • Put you first/first thing in your day helps. If you leave it until later you will always make yourself the ‘disposable’ part of your day at the expense of everything and everyone else.

For me that means for the past 8 years I have dedicated the first 30 minutes of my day to research. It is brain food for my mind. It keeps me credible in my work arena. It gives me confidence in social and business settings. It keeps me on top of trends and movement in the world of communication and projects around the globe I am watching.

The next part of the first part of my day always means a pool – wherever I am in the world. I find out in advance of me being in a new town/city where the nearest pool is, when they have aqua classes, and head there after my research. Being in water everyday is not-negotiable for me. It restores and soothes my soul (and body).

So, find out what your ‘first thing/you first’ thing is and just make time for it. No excuses, no putting others first. Put you first. These are your 9,000 hours – not anyone else’s! They have their own 9,000 hours!

What’s your first thing/you first? Being in nature? Swimming or exercising? Walking/Running? Listening to a podcast?

Whatever it is you DO HAVE TIME! Yes, you do. You are merely not accessing that time right now – for various reasons……..guilt about what others will think, responsibility you think is on your shoulders, peer pressure, conforming to societal norms (whatever they are).

What will it take? Getting up early? Showing someone else how to do something you currently do? Leaving something you do that doesn’t need to be done? Outsourcing it to someone else? It will take something. It is doable. It is doable!

The first book I wrote was called Live and Work in Your Element – Manufacture your Perfect day.  If I had a dollar for every time I touch on this topic of time poor and someone says to me “but, it’s ok for you, you don’t have a ‘proper’ job and work. You do whatever you want.” Duh, I rest my case your honour!

Want to have a go at the Elemental Potential Live and Work in Your Element system and Manufacture your Perfect Days? Here it is for FREE if you care to click https://www.elementalpotential.com/2018/10/08/live-and-work-in-your-element/

It didn’t happen by accident. It was intentional. Anyone else can do it. You are making a massive assumption that there is no wriggle room in your life or no opportunities for negotiation – there will be. If you happen to be right and in fact there is no wriggle room and no one feels like playing the negotiation game with you then you have a choice. You always have a choice. Consequences, walk away, get a new job, withdraw services.

You just have to choose it and do it. Choose it and do it. Choose it and do it.





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