"There just isn't enough time in the day."
How many times have you heard others use this phrase? How many times have you used this phrase?
Unfortunately, any plan for personal growth begins - and ends - with finding time.
Most people recognize the importance of getting better, but struggle to find time in their busy lives to make it happen. They would read more books, start more projects, listen to more podcasts, begin new hobbies, generate more income ... if only they had more time.
Herein lies the question for many educational leaders: Where do I find time for personal growth?
Lifelong learners must look at each day as two separate days.
The first day is the workday. Most school leaders work an average of nine hours per day (anything more is silly and the result of poor resource allocation). While hours vary by position, 7:30am - 4:30pm is pretty standard.
The second day is the non-workday. This is the time "after work" combined with the time "before work." Assuming the schedule above, the second day begins at 4:30pm and ends at 7:30am.
Most people believe the first day is meant for work and the second day is meant for leisure. Once the workday is complete, the remaining fifteen hours are reserved for sleep, eating, family, and - most importantly - relaxation. "I've earned this time," they justify prior to kicking up their feet and streaming their favorite show.
There is nothing wrong with this attitude - this is the default mindset for most Americans.
But what most Americans don't realize is nearly two-thirds of their life is spent outside of work ... without factoring in the weekend! How can people - especially educators who spend their workday preaching the importance of learning - make the most of life when a large majority of their day is squandered?
As has been previously discussed, personal growth does not need to be time intensive. While 30 to 60 minutes each day may not seem like much, over the course of several years the results can be life-changing.
Rather than waste away their hours before and after work, lifelong learners view the second day as an opportunity for personal growth.
"I'm too tired."
Fatigue is the most common excuse for ignoring personal growth. Certainly, school leaders experience stressful days. Countless studies confirm school administration is among the most exhausting professions. However, one could argue "tired" is a mindset.
Say you have a date lined up at the end of the workday. Whether the date is with your spouse or someone you are seeing, you likely spend all day looking forward to the evening. When the workday ends, you bolt out of the office, rush home to refresh, speed to your favorite restaurant, wiz over to catch a movie, and race to grab a DQ Blizzard before the drive-through closes.
Crazy how rarely people complain of being "tired" when immersed in an activity they enjoy.
The end of the workday not your thing? Ah yes ... you have a family. No time for dates!
Well then perhaps early morning is your ideal time for personal growth.
When you're up early and all alone you escape the overstimulation and noise that consumes today's society. After a good night's rest your attention is fresh and primed for personal growth rather than fragmented by technology, meetings, and emails.
For many, nothing is better than waking up while the house is asleep, making a fresh cup of coffee, and focusing on self-improvement. The solitude and stillness of daybreak creates the perfect setting for lifelong learners to hone their craft.
Whether you are an early bird or night owl is of little relevance. What matters is that personal growth is viewed with anticipation, not drudgery.
When we see others who are ultra-successful, we often justify their comparative success.
"They have more money."
"They have more connections."
"They have more resources."
"They have more luck."
There is always a reason why others are doing more than ourselves.
What we fail to realize is time is the ultimate equalizer. Regardless of money, connections, resources, or luck - we all have 24 hours a day. The difference between high performers and everyone else is how they spend their time.
You can binge another series on Netflix.
You can live someone else’s life on Instagram.
Or you can commit to working on yourself.