Bo Parfet on Getting Real with Your Time

Whenever we complain about not having enough time, we neglect to realize that every day is as long, and as short, as the next. Seconds, minutes, and hours are all finite units of measurement, but we still struggle to conceptualize how time fits into our busy schedules. While time may be a constant, we are the ones who seemingly struggle to remain consistent with our output. Is there a solution to this riddle? I certainly think so.

The solution to navigating your time lies in navigating your habits. Every day is twenty-four hours long, but we rarely end our days feeling like we accomplished everything we intended to when we woke up. I find that the more honest I am about what I can complete in a day, the more satisfied I am when the day comes to an end. Here are some tips on how navigating your habits will help you be more efficient with your time.

The first step is to stop being untruthful to yourself about what you can and cannot do.

Not everyone works in the same ways. Some people are intuitively able to wake up before the sun rises to work out, eat a full breakfast, and begin their work for the day. Others cannot wake up before 10 AM and fail to feel productive until everyone in their home has gone to bed for the night. Neither of these scenarios is superior to the other because everyone lives within unique sets of circumstances that make any comparison impossible.

When you insist that you will wake up tomorrow morning—hours before a deadline—to finish a project, is there a shadow of a doubt as to whether you will snooze your alarm(s)? Listen to that doubt. Sometimes, we need to force ourselves into an abnormal routine, but that need not always be the case. If you know that sleeping less to work more in the morning might make you unable to focus during the rest of the day, it is best to create a specific schedule tailored to you and your body.

When you stop being untruthful to yourself about what you can and cannot do, you consequently stop forcing your body into a set of rules that it does not enjoy. We work best when we find fulfillment in what we do and being untruthful to ourselves about aspects of our routine that do not fulfill us impedes professional enjoyment. Instead of dishonesty, try to play to your own set of strengths and weaknesses. If you know that you work best when your loved ones are asleep, then perhaps it is worthwhile setting some work aside for the nighttime.

Once you stop being untruthful to yourself about what you can and cannot do, you will find yourself prioritizing mindfulness more often.

Professionals must understand the true scope of their workload. We tend to lie to ourselves that we will feel more at peace once an upcoming deadline passes or once that three-day weekend finally rolls around. Treating a full schedule like an hourglass running out of time distracts us from performing to the best of our abilities. Looking ahead to when we will not be working not only prevents us from grounding ourselves, but it also robs us of the joy we could otherwise find in our work.

While vacation and the completion of projects are worth celebrating, it is equally worthwhile to develop consistent habits for managing stress. That, too, involves being realistic with your time since you might not create space for your ideal workout as often as you might like. Pay attention to which moments of stress relief enable you to be the best version of yourself. In doing so, you may find yourself enamored with a new hobby to keep you grounded during the busiest of days.

Stop using the phrase “I do not have the time.” Instead, opt for “I have not made the time.”

The way we discuss time plays a role in navigating our seconds, minutes, and hours. We must remind ourselves that we can make the time for anything we care about, as we decide what is worthwhile. Our work lives should feel whole and encompassing, not out of obligation, but out of holistic fulfillment. Remind yourself as often as possible that nothing is permanent, and that nothing needs to stay as it is for any longer than you feel comfortable.


About Bo Parfet

Bo Parfet is the co-founder and CEO of Denali Venture Philanthropy. Denali Venture Philanthropy partners with social entrepreneurs to make “impact investments” that foster positive social change throughout the global community. A Kalamazoo, Michigan native, Bo currently resides in Boulder, Colorado and St. Augustine, Florida with his family.