Why we don’t all have the same 24 hours in a day

“Because I have hair, Jeff”

“We all have the same 24 hours in the day”? Nope.

I was told today that anyone can achieve radical productivity. That we all, and I’m quoting, have “the same number of hours in the day as Jeff Bezos, Oprah Winfrey and Elon Musk”.

Bull. Shit.

We don’t.

We may live in a universe where Jeff and the other billionaires occupy the same planet as everyone else, during the time it takes the sun to rise and fall, but we don’t have the same capacity available to us, to achieve our goals.

I mean, there are things I have to do daily that detract from the 16–20 hours of work I could motor through if I were Jeff, Oprah or Elon…

Let’s start small. I have to answer the door. Do you have any idea how many times a day my doorbell rings? And how no-one else in this house ever hears it or responds to it? About 59 times.

Then, I have to do my hair…

Because I have hair, Jeff.

Plus, I have to participate in meal planning. My Darling Husband cooks it and cleans up after it, with some very grudging help from his Less Darling Wife and Precious Child, but I’m expected to be involved in the decisions, the preparation, and the dishwasher. I’m pretty sure that Oprah is not.

I’m not a weird robot person, Elon. I’m an actual human being. So I don’t get up at 5am. And I don’t split my workday, including lunch-time, into 5-minute ‘chunks’, so that I can fit more tasks in.

Actually, Richard Branson wakes at 3.45am. if I did that, I’d be shockingly productive, yes, but also very grumpy. Then, he keeps meetings to 10 minutes or less. But remember: he’s Richard bloody Branson. If I told my clients they had a maximum of 10 minutes to talk to me, I’d be extremely poor.

I make my own coffee. I put on my own socks. Switch on heaters. Switch off lights. Worry about POPI and the GDPR. Close the cursed cupboard doors 65 times per day. Does Oprah? Nope.

And child-care? I’m sure Elon Musk barely even has to wipe his own bum, let alone someone else’s.

The radical daily habits of prominent leaders, prosperous entrepreneurs, and famous celebs are not the prerequisites for their success. They’re actually the luxuries that come with obscene wealth, enormous privilege, and a shit-ton of paid help.

See? We don’t all have the same 24 hours. With child-care, home-schooling, domestic chores, personal admin, family stuff, commuting (horror!), and the mundanities of a human life, most people are lucky to get 6–8 hours of productive work in.

And, with only 6 to 8 hours of daily earning time available, I’m sorry to tell you, you’re not gonna save up $28 million to go to space with Jeff.

But if you’re a real human being, like me, I do have some advice for you…

Do your best. That’s it. Just your best.

We’re living through a global plague, ongoing stressors when it comes to our health and wellbeing, social strife, political turmoil, and possibly even financial uncertainty. I usually say that 80% is still an A. But actually, right now, even 70% is fine.

And to help you a bit, here’s my own marvellous productivity hack for making myself seem like I’m on top of the game, even when I’m patently not. It’s called followupthen. (Before you ask: It’s free, I’m not an affiliate for it, you don’t have to download anything, and there’s no registration or sign up.)

A productivity tool should simple as hell, right? It should come to mind when you need it, and allow you to forget about it when you don’t, right? Well, followupthen gets you the right info at the right time: notes, reminders, webinar log-in info, meeting links, nudges to chase clients for feedback (or money!)…

I flipping love it.

(But I don’t love Jeff Bezos.)

Tiffany Markman gives good advice on freelancing. Want access to it? Join Tiffany’s newsletter community — dedicated specifically to freelancers and the self-employed — and get handy tips, clever tricks, useful info and honest, practical advice whenever she has value to add.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Safrea or its members.

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