5 Tips to Help You Start Something New When You Don’t Have TimeSeptember 22nd, 2022
Tech workers have a lot on their plate, all the time. Whenever their hands aren’t full with their full-time job they’re either working extra hours, trying to exercise after a long day at the desk, enrolling in new courses to keep up with the latest in their fields, or spending time with their friends and family.
Whenever someone invites you to do something extra like writing an article, participating in a webinar, or developing any type of freelance work that you need to commit to, you feel overwhelmed. Even if any of these things seem interesting to you, you simply feel like you don’t have enough time.
But what if we told you there’s a way to actually find the time and to get more out of your day? In this article, we’ll be giving you five tips to help you start something new when you feel like you don’t have the time, and hopefully help you become more comfortable saying yes to more projects or hobbies!
5 Tips to Help You Start Something New When You Don’t Have Time
Starting a new hobby, project, workout plan, or anything else that’s new in your life always comes down to creating new habits. We won't be able to get your day an extra hour, but hopefully, you’ll be able to replace not-so-great habits with others that are a lot better for you.
A few actionable tips to help get you started involve taking small steps, in the beginning, trying to make that new habit easy and enjoyable, being consistent, and trying to stack your habits. Let’s take a look at what you can do to make this happen.
Taking on a new challenge or starting a hobby might seem overwhelming at first. If you check your planner and it reads something like “write an article for KWAN’s blog” and that’s something you’re not used to, it can be a little scary.
But the good part is: you don’t have to start and finish that article on the same day, that would be a challenge even for regular writers! Take that big task and break it down into smaller ones, that don’t seem so hard:
Here’s how you can do it:
Research article topic;
Choose title and subtopics;
Create a structure;
Write a draft;
Share it with the editor to make sure you’re on the right direction;
Check for typos;
Give it a final read to make sure you include all you wanted!
Taking little steps is a lot easier and more manageable when trying out something new. Break your new activity into as many steps as it takes for you to feel comfortable beginning and fitting it into your day.
Make It Easy and Enjoyable to Start
A big part of starting a new habit is learning how to make it as easy and enjoyable to start as possible. It’s easy for our brains to go back to old patterns and routines, like scrolling for hours on social media, because they’re easy and enjoyable to go back to. We need to trick our brains into feeling the same way about our new activities.
Let’s say that you want to start working out first thing in the morning. You can make it easier by keeping your workout clothes next to your bed and a water bottle on your nightstand, ready to go. If you want to be a bit more extreme, try sleeping with your workout clothes on!
Making working out enjoyable might seem harder, but it really isn’t. Exercising is all about movement and it doesn't have to mean endless reps at the gym or running a marathon. Do you enjoy dancing? Put on your favorite playlist and dance your heart away. Are you a nature person? Find the closest park or place with a good view and go for a nice walk.
The secret here is coming up with a few things that you love and trying to combine them with your new hobby or activity to make it more enjoyable.
Keep Showing up
Consistency is key when trying to start something new. You must commit to your new hobby or task a little bit, every day. It doesn’t matter if you achieve 1% of what you envisioned for the day, what matters is that you show up and do something. Working on your projects every day will give you momentum and you’ll start to see progress quickly.
Consider the following scenario: you need to complete a certification or an online course. You know it’s important to keep studying so you can evolve in your career… and it will look amazing on your LinkedIn profile! But you will need to spend many hours watching videos and taking notes in order to complete it. Feels overwhelming. So the trick here is to work on it a little bit every day. Some days you’ll watch a 15 minutes video and you’re done, others, maybe on Sundays, you’ll be able to focus on the course for 3h. How much you progress doesn’t matter. What matters is that you keep doing it and you create a habit. And sooner than you think, you’ll start doing it without considering it an obligation, maybe you’ll even miss it when you’re done!
Stack Your Habits
James Clear, the author of the book Atomic Habits, defends that staking new habits with old ones is a great way to get into new activities and hobbies. Habit stacking means starting a new task or habit right after you’re done with something that you already do, an old habit.
For example, let’s say you want to drink more water. A good way to stack this habit with something you already do is to commit to drinking a full glass of water right after you turn off your alarm in the morning. It’s easy to apply this to any type of activity you want to start.
All you need to do is think “After I do this, I’m immediately going to do that”:
As soon as I sit on the bus ride home, I’m going to listen to that podcast;
As soon as I start the coffee maker, I’m going to meditate;
As soon as I get home, I’ll put on my running shoes.
Your brain will start to associate these new habits with the other activities that you already do every day. Missing them will eventually feel like you’ve missed something important and will motivate you to keep doing them.
Never Miss Twice
You don’t have to feel discouraged if you miss a day of your new hobby or activity. Even the most productive people can get off track. What sets them apart from others in how well they succeed is how quickly they get back to their plans.
Missing a day has absolutely no impact on your long-term progress, however, if you miss repeatedly you’ll quickly fall back into your old patterns. The secret is to never miss two days in a row.
This is where you start to improve your self-control and discipline. Breaking your tasks into smaller ones and remembering to just show up will help you get through whatever feeling that’s making you not want to do the thing you should be doing. And then you’ll feel a lot better.
5 Tips to Help You Start Something New When You Don’t Have Time: Final Thoughts
If you’ve been stuck or postponing a new hobby or activity because you’ve felt like you didn’t have the time, now’s your chance to go for it. Most times it’s not about not having the time, it’s about being overwhelmed by how much it takes to get something done.
But now you’ve learned some actionable tips that’ll help you get things done. First, you need to break your task into smaller ones. Then, think of a few ways to make them easy and enjoyable. Keep at it every day, even if you don’t do much of it, and remember to never miss twice!
Finally, if you can stack your new habits on top of older habits that you do every day, it will be a lot easier to never miss them, as they’ll become a part of your day as well.
At KWAN we always want our team to be able to follow their dreams and passions outside of work. Hopefully, this article will help you get there faster!