Becoming a Ngo-Getter Through Sacrifice

As an extension of our discussion about time management, let’s talk about sacrifice.

Sometimes even having the best time management skills isn’t enough. Sometimes, it’s just impossible to fit everything into our schedules; when there’s too much on our plates, it’s like we’re trying to use 30 hours in a day when there’s only 24.

Now, many of you may have heard or read about The 10,000 Hour Rule that was popularized by Malcolm Gladwell. The rule is roughly this: if you spend 10,000 hours practicing a skill (essentially spending 90 minutes per day for 20 years), you’ll set yourself up for success. Though the rule is now largely contested by other academics, I think there’s some truth to it.

But some of us are too focused on being masters of everything that interests us, on having many hobbies in hopes that one of them will keep our interest long enough or that one of them will eventually turn into our main hustle. It’s important to have hobbies, but they’ll always remain hobbies if we treat them that way. If you’re really trying to turn a side hustle into a main hustle (or a really strong side hustle that gets you some extra gigs, money, etc.), you’re going to need to give yourself more time focusing on that part of your life.

Even if you don’t have any intention of making your hobby into anything more than a hobby, you still need to spend an adequate amount of time on your goals in order to achieve them in a reasonable timeframe. If it seems like you’re getting pulled in many different directions, it may be worth taking a few moments to think about your schedule and determining what you’re willing to sacrifice. Not everything makes it past the chopping block, but you need to make sure that your efforts are 100% behind it. Otherwise, what’s the point?

For example, I’m a Vice Chairman for my volunteer group that puts on an annual weekend-long convention. It’s a lot of work, and I put aside hours in the week to reply to emails and handle any other business that’s required of me, as well as sitting in on a two-hour-long phone call most Thursdays with my fellow chairmen. Unless there’s an personal matter that I need to take care of, Thursday nights are reserved for my volunteer group.

That’s the kind of sacrifice that you might need to do in order to have enough time to achieve your goals. Maybe you need to sacrifice a few hours of sleeping in on Saturday morning in order to fit some photography practice into your schedule. Or maybe stay in every other Friday to work on those banjo chords.

Still working on my banjo game. | Via Giphy.

It’s not always going to be easy. Sometimes sacrifice involves cutting away at time you would have spent with family or friends. Other times it might involve changing your lifestyle and doing away with dessert completely (I know, that sounds really tough!). But once you achieve your goals through a bit of sacrifice, won’t it make the reward that much sweeter?

Until next time,