We Don’t All Have the Same 24 Hours (Here’s What to do About It)

While speaking on the podcast ‘Diary of a CEO’, creative director of PrettyLittleThing (a women’s fashion brand) and reality television star, Molly-Mae Hague commented that “we all have the same 24 hours in a day” and that if we want something badly enough, we can achieve it no matter what.

The entire interview is about 2 hours, but a small section of it was clipped and shared on Twitter. Her exact statement was:

“Beyoncé has the same 24 hours in the day that we do and I just think, like, you’re given one life and it’s up to you what you do with it, you can literally go in any direction.”

– Molly Mae Hague

But, is this true?

Well, yes. Of course, we all have the same 24 hours, but the claim is essentially; that if you and I started our morning at the exact same time they’re saying we both have absolute capability to accomplish the same amount.

This leaves us with two scenarios:

  1. This is true, and you’re simply not putting in the effort to live up to your potential.
  2. This is false, and you’re stuck in a feedback loop that you don’t know how to escape.

Both are pretty unsatisfactory. So let’s explore this topic and figure out what to do about it.

 

Do we all really have the same 24 hours as Beyonce?

Let’s imagine two different scenarios amongst two different people:

Person A: Someone who is just trying to keep their head above water with minimal opportunities, earns a below-average income, and lives in a small town.

Person B: Someone who has the same goals and dreams, but for whom money has never been an issue, lives in a large city, and has an 800 credit score.

Now, there are tens of thousands of quotes plastered across the internet essentially telling you:

  • You’re not working hard enough
  • You’re not committed enough
  • You don’t believe in your dream
  • You’re not making necessary sacrifices
  • You’ve gotta hustle harder

The sentiment goes something like this:

“We all have the same 24 hours in a day. If someone else seems to be accomplishing more than you, they’re sacrificing more than you.”

– general blanket statement

There are plenty of people who say this in different ways:

Sure, the most wealthy and powerful people in the world are restricted by the same laws of time as the rest of us, in that yes there are 24 hours in a day.

Now, I wouldn’t consider myself part of that elite club, but I am a 30-something year old millionaire who built myself up from very little. These days, I have housekeepers, employees, virtual assistants, and plenty of automations that run my life for me.

  • I earn money in my sleep
  • I travel and fly for free
  • I work 1-3 hours per day if at all
  • I save money by using technology
  • I make money by using technology

In many ways, I could argue that I actually have more than 24 hours.

Successful people have teams of employees such as chefs, trainers, nannies, assistants, drivers, and managers – ultimately freeing up a lot more of those 24 hours which can then be spent on achieving their career goals or pursuing hobbies and travel. Employees also accomplish what the individual normally would, so if you have 3 employees that work an 8-hour day, you have 48 hours.

Whereas a mother of 5 actually has less than 24 hours.

Her children absorb the majority of her day, and she may have less than an hour of her entire day to contribute to her own life, especially her goals and dreams. And yet, even with that truth in mind, the “work hard and you’ll succeed” mantra persists.

In researching this topic, I took a poll from my followers:

 

Post by @mykemetzger
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And essentially the split was about 70/30.

  • 70% claim we do not have the same 24 hours.
  • The other 30% claim that we do have the same 24 hours.

So if the majority of people feel that we live different lives, why are so many people pressured by the 30% on social media to believe that we just need to work harder?

Yes, we can all make choices, but we do not all have the same options of choices.

No matter how hard some people work, life still challenges them beyond their capabilities.

There are always outliers, like someone who was living in poverty, with no home and living on welfare, and who is now the CEO of a successful company. This is not too far from the reality of my journey when I was 23 years old – before I was a millionaire, writer, and content creator traveling the world and running my businesses while on the go.

However, the majority of people have lives that won’t turn out that way, and that has nothing to do with their level of motivation or the number of hours in their day. It’s not that they ‘aren’t trying hard enough’, it’s that their 24 hours are devoted to putting food on the table as best they can.

 

The problem with the “I don’t have enough time in my day” excuse:

Most people who complain about not having enough time in the day have a prioritization problem.

  • They don’t rank tasks in order of importance or decide on what’s most important in their lives (which explains why they always feel like there are not enough hours in a day).
  • They also suffer due to a lack of planning (a lack of clear direction and a lack of time to plan can make it difficult to know what to focus on).

Thinking of your priorities is the easy part. Pinpointing the specifics of them, developing a plan of action, and then following through with that plan of action and getting past inevitable obstacles is a different problem entirely.

Not reaching a goal because of the fear of failure is crippling and an insecurity that can seriously hold you back in life. Nobody wants to fail, and a fear of failure often stems from a need for perfectionism (something I’ve struggled with greatly over the years and have spent a lot of time overcoming).

Excuses can be tempting when it comes to giving up on a goal, but they can also be paralyzing. If you don’t keep them in check, excuses can derail every goal you try to achieve. If you find yourself at risk of giving up on a goal, take a moment to reflect and ask yourself if the reason is valid or just a lame excuse.

Maybe you often say the following to yourself:

  • I don’t have the time, money, or resources to fix my problems.
  • I’m constantly bombarded by social media, email, or constant interruptions.
  • The people in my life are holding me back and making me feel obligated to continue down the path I’m already on, which is stressed, overwhelmed, and overworked.

These can all be creating procrastination in your life, but if you tend to put things off until the last minute, it’s going to be impossible to manage your time effectively.

Saying you “don’t have the time” just simply isn’t going to cut it, and you know it. You have to create the time through small consistent efforts.

 

“Walk slowly, but never backward.”

This quote by Abraham Lincoln speaks to the idea that the pace at which we move forward is not as important as the direction we are headed. Lincoln is also attributed to one of my favorite quotes:

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.”

– Abraham Lincoln

Both of these quotes make a simple reference to both patience and calculation.

For example, if you were to rush in unprepared, and ferociously try to chop down a tree with a dull axe, your results could likely be mediocre, as well as risking injury and exertion in exchange for a minimal result.

However, taking what seems like “extra” preparation time, ultimately ends up saving you time, helps you avoid mistakes, and makes the intended job much easier, quicker, and more effective.

In the same way, you might be rushing from one task to the next throughout your day and you can’t seem to catch your breath or have a moment to yourself.

Sidenote: I recommend downloading my free Daily Planner here if this is something you struggle with.

You feel like you don’t have any time, but the reality is that you’re not taking the needed time to plan your days and your overall schedule. You’re not reflecting on your past days, weeks, and months and adjusting based on what is working or not working. This is all because an extra 12 minutes in your day doesn’t seem worth the effort it takes in the beginning.

Your mind is stuck on the best-case scenario, instead of the good-case scenario.

The best case scenario is: You have an extra 2-3 hours in your day to prioritize yourself, your goals, and your peace.
The good case scenario is: You have an extra 15 minutes in your day, which may not seem like much.

What you might be failing to realize is that those 15 minutes are what eventually create the 2-3 hours you need.

“The best is the enemy of the good.”

– Voltaire

All big things come from small beginnings. You plant small seeds today. And in a couple of years, you have a large healthy garden.

Though it seems simple, the gap between doing and getting seems enormous. We know that good things take time. But this delay is the exact thing that keeps us away from having good things. We think that our progress should be linear. Always up and advancing, but the reality is quite different.

When we think about progress, we imagine a smooth staircase where every next step is with the same level of difficulty. Where in every few steps there is an award handed to us.

Unfortunately, this is not reality.

Rewards can take months or even years to achieve until a new level of performance is unlocked. Progress is like a staircase with uneven steps, which I refer to as ‘The Pit of Despair’.

What we think progress looks like actually looks like meme

The problem is that all of the things we need to do to get ahead are far too overwhelming to even start.

By adjusting our thinking and accepting that change starts with small actions, small habits, and small changes in routine, we can feel more confident that our goals will be achieved in time.

If you are:

  • working hectic 80 hours weeks
  • a busy mother of 4 children
  • catering to a demanding situation in your life
  • feel like you have no time in your day to focus on yourself and your wants and needs

– you must accept that this will be a slow journey that demands consistency and effort but will be greatly rewarding in the end.

There was a time when I also didn’t have the resources I needed. I didn’t have a quality smartphone, I didn’t have a laptop, and I didn’t even have a license or a vehicle to get around. This meant it was difficult to learn new skills (so I went to the public library and the local college campus), and I rode my bike or walked everywhere.

This means everything takes longer.

I didn’t have the money to travel to events or business conferences, and it was hard for me to do freelance work without a computer (so I borrowed one from my grandmother until I could get my own).

It was challenging for me to find where my next meal was going to come from. My environment was messy, cluttered, dark, and uninspiring.

I was always exhausted because when I could keep a job, it was always a late-night gig or a bartending job, which meant I was up late working, and often drinking to fall asleep. Then I would wake up late the next day, and the cycle would repeat.

Stack this on top of my other unhealthy thoughts, habits, and routines – and I felt stuck. These were my excuses.

You can hear a quick 1-minute version of my story and how I reinvented myself here, or the full version can be found in my book the ‘Credibility Method’, here. These days, I honestly don’t remember the last time I said “I’m too busy“ or “I don’t have the time”.

Using the Time Creation Cycle to bridge the gap from where you are, to where you want to be.

Accomplishing goals is seldom easy and can often take a long time and a lot of mental and physical sweat.

So how on Earth can we bridge the gap between where we are, and where we want to be – even when we feel like we’re drowning, and like it’s impossible to make progress with our current demands and burdens?

Aristotle said: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

He is talking about the value of repetition.

Habits form based on frequency not time.

Example: think of cleaning your house – if you only clean 4 times a year, it’s a huge task, and takes a lot of time and effort. Whereas if you always clean here and there consistently, your house is always clean, and it feels like you never really put a massive effort towards keeping it that way.

 

So the question becomes, what are you currently doing repeatedly?

If you’re reading this, then you’re likely not satisfied with how your time is being allocated at the present. As much as you may not want to admit it, this is because of your environment, decisions, habits, and routines. You’re realizing that your current habits are not the best way to solve the problems you face; they are simply the methods you learned to use earlier in your life.

After all, the Cardinal Rule of Behavior Change is that what is rewarded is repeated. What is punished is avoided. You can learn more about habits and behavior change in James Clear’s book Atomic Habits, which is a reference source for plenty of similar information to what is mentioned in this article, as well as one of my favorite books.

 

Be more concerned with your current trajectory than with your current results.

Imagine walking from Los Angeles to NYC without a map or a phone (your resources for a successful trip). It would be a 42-day journey without stopping, call it 50-60 days with food and rest.

You leave on what you think is the perfect trajectory – only to find out you were off by 2-3°, making your end destination in Washington DC 204 miles away, adding another 4-7 days to your journey.

a small change in trajectory = a large change in destination

The point here is that if you had all of the money and resources needed, this trip would be easy. You’d simply purchase a plane ticket, uber to the airport, and off you go. You’d be in NYC in less than 5 hours – even driving, you’d be there in less than a week. But to someone who doesn’t have the resources, knowledge, or budget – their experience is drastically different.

Let’s adjust this graphic slightly and look at how this relates to our decisions, habits, and skills:

a small change in decisions = a large change in habits

This demonstrates how very small decisions in our lives can make a massive difference over time. This is how we end up stuck in situations without even understanding how we landed in them to begin with.

There is redemption to be had though. It’s not too late to correct your trajectory, but first, you need more time, right?

This is achieved through what I call the Time Creation Cycle:

Establishing positive habits, solidifying effective routines, and achieving time freedom starts with a simple change in our environment and how we think about the decisions we make.

Environment > Decisions > Habits > Routines

  1. Our environment impacts our daily decisions.
  2. Our decisions then determine our habits.
  3. Our habits then make up our routines.
  4. Our routines then create our time freedom.

It all starts with our environment, including the people, places, and things around us. Small changes in our environment that seem unimportant at first will compound into remarkable results throughout our decisions, habits, and routines if we’re willing to stick with them for years.

The Time Creation Cycle by Myke Metzger

1. Environment

Our environment impacts our daily decisions, it is the first domino in the Time Creation Cycle. A small change in what you see can lead to a big shift in what you do. It is the ‘inspiration and motivation’ behind our decisions, per se. Our environment plays a crucial role in shaping and influencing our decisions, habits, and routines, which, in turn, have a significant impact on our ability to achieve goals. It is the invisible hand that shapes our behavior.

Your environment can either support or hinder the development of your habits. Disciplined people design their environment to work for them. They structure their lives in a way that does not require heroic willpower and self-control.

(For instance, if you want to establish a routine of reading before bed, having a quiet and comfortable reading nook in your bedroom can make it easier to stick to this habit.)

An enjoyable environment reduces the friction associated with performing desired behaviors. If your goal is to eat healthier, having a clean and well-organized kitchen stocked with nutritious foods makes it easier to make positive food choices. On the other hand, a cluttered and disorganized environment will make it more challenging to prepare healthy meals.

The people in your environment can influence your habits and behaviors. If you surround yourself with individuals who share similar goals or healthy habits, you’re more likely to be motivated and supported in achieving your objectives.

The way you structure your physical space can impact how you manage your time. An organized workspace, for example, can contribute to increased productivity, making it easier to stick to a routine that aligns with your goals.

The overall atmosphere and ambiance of your environment can affect your stress levels and well-being. High-stress environments may make it challenging to adhere to positive habits, as stress can lead to the adoption of coping mechanisms like unhealthy eating or procrastination.

Different environments can evoke varying levels of energy and motivation. A well-lit, organized, and aesthetically pleasing space can enhance your mood and motivation, making it more likely that you’ll engage in goal-related activities.

Can you see what I’m getting at here?

Achieving goals requires consistency over time. An environment that is aligned with your goals provides a consistent backdrop for the behaviors you’re trying to establish, reinforcing the habits that contribute to your success.

Being mindful of and intentionally shaping your environment can significantly increase the likelihood of success in reaching your objectives.

 

2. Decisions

Our decisions then determine our habits, which involves choosing between different options. By making intentional choices about our daily activities and routines, we effectively design the architecture of our habits. For example, choosing to pack a healthy lunch instead of opting for fast food contributes to the development of a healthy eating habit.

It’s simple really; positive decisions that align with our goals can reinforce good habits, while negative decisions can lead to the development of counterproductive habits. Consistently making decisions that support our goals strengthens the neural pathways associated with those behaviors.

Effective decision-making involves prioritizing tasks and activities. By deciding what is most important and allocating time and resources accordingly, we can establish routines that prioritize activities contributing to our goals.

(This helps prevent distractions and ensures focused effort on key objectives.)

Decisions help in setting boundaries and managing commitments. Whether it’s saying no to non-essential tasks or setting limits on work hours, decisions about boundaries are essential for preventing time from being overly consumed by activities that do not align with the goal of time freedom.

 

3. Habits

Our habits then make up our routines and once formed, become automatic behaviors. Habits do not restrict freedom, they create it, and they are the compound interest of self-improvement – so just start with repetition, not perfection. A habit must first be established before it can be improved.

The topic of habits deserves an entire article of its own, but by establishing positive habits related to time management, you can streamline your routines which reduces the need for constant decision-making.

Having well-established habits in place means that certain tasks and activities become regular parts of a routine. This predictability allows for better planning and allocation of time, contributing to effective time management.

When you have ingrained habits that help them complete tasks more quickly and effectively, they can accomplish more in less time. This time-saving aspect is essential for achieving time freedom. Habits contribute to improved productivity by creating a rhythm and flow in daily activities. When certain tasks become habitual, you can perform them more efficiently, leading to increased productivity and the potential for time to be used more efficiently through repeatable routines without even thinking about them.

Remember: You are what you do. Improvements are only temporary until they become part of who you are.

Example: all of us spend time scrolling on social media. Maybe it’s a guilty pleasure or you’ve convinced yourself that it’s your “moment to yourself” on your lunch break or before bed after putting the kids to sleep – but the reality is, that this is the exact make-or-break scenario where you decide what your priorities are.

If you choose to replace these small habits with steps towards making progress, you can slowly change what you do with your time, which in turn changes how your time impacts your life. It will begin to slow down.

Your outcomes are a lagging measure of your habits. When you work on your habits intentionally, your time is no longer wasted.

4. Routines

Our routines then create our time freedom. Achieving time freedom requires effective routines and time management. Decisions about how to allocate our time throughout the day, week, or month impact the overall structure of our routines. By making conscious decisions about how our time is spent, you can create efficient and purposeful routines that contribute to greater time freedom.

Routines provide a structured framework for organizing daily activities. By establishing routines, you can allocate specific time slots for various tasks and activities, helping to create a sense of order and predictability in their schedules.

I recommend downloading my free Daily Planner here if you do not currently have a set routine.

By having a set routine, you can streamline your daily activities, minimize procrastination, and complete tasks more quickly and effectively, ultimately leading to increased productivity and time savings.

Time saving = time creation.

 

Time slows down when you improve your decisions, habits, routines, and environment.

Time magnifies the margin between success and failure.

By improving these 4 areas – your life events will change and improve, time will slow down, and most importantly you will become a more consistent person.

If life events are the things holding you back, such as feeling like you can never catch a break – by changing your environment, your habits, and your routines, you slowly become a different person. A person who no longer sees themselves as a victim of their own time and environment. You can then build the confidence needed to structure your life, grasp your time, and achieve your goals.

Consistency sets the guidelines and expectations you have of yourself, and ultimately you start looking for new ways to conquer your day.

You become a stronger bolder human. This means you become more self-confident, and you become stronger in your values, self-discipline, boundaries, and will to build a great life.

When it comes to striving for success, consistency isn’t sexy. It’s not something that exactly ignites passion and drive. But it’s the one thing that separates those who hit their goals week in and week out, and those that don’t. Consistency is silent, it’s completely under the radar and it’s the key differentiator between success and failure.

Consistent is one of the absolute hardest traits to become. It is not hard to learn, but it is hard to master.

Everyone knows what consistency is – but few are willing to do what it takes to achieve it. The typical gurus come to mind such as David Goggins, Jocko WIlink, Andrew Huberman, Tim Ferris, and Chris Williamson – (all of which I like) – but consistency is simpler than “bio-hacking” your brain, taking nootropics, and waking up at 4 am every morning.

Consistency starts with simplicity, such as the 2 Minute Rule by James Clear. This method ensures that when starting a habit, it is simple enough to get used to by shortening it down to just two minutes. Almost every single habit can be reduced to a 2-minute version.

For instance:

  • Going on a walk can be reduced to filling your water bottle and putting your sneakers on
  • Reading every morning can be turned into reading just one page
  • 30 minutes of yoga can simply be turned into getting out your yoga mat

When you start a new habit, you should be able to come up with a 2-minute version of that habit.

Especially in this sense, your decisions create quick 2-minute actions, which are your habits, which then build your skillsets.

Decisions - Habits - Skills

Many decisions → make up a few habits.
Many habits → make up a few skills.

The ultimate form of intrinsic motivation is when a habit becomes part of your identity.

It’s one thing to say “I’m the type of person who wants this.”

It’s something very different to say “I’m the type of person who is this.”

Improvements are only temporary until they become part of who you are. Becoming the best version of yourself requires continuously editing your beliefs, upgrading, and expanding your identity.

Fall in love with the process, not the end result. You have to enjoy the journey of changing your current situation. You do not have to choose between building good habits and having time freedom.

Change your process/habits/systems →
Change your results/outcomes →
Change your identity/beliefs about yourself.

If you’re interested in joining the waitlist for my Life.0 all-in-one Life Management system, you can do that here.

An old identity can sabotage your plans for changing behavior, so by using the Time Creation Cycle to first change your environment, you will begin to change the way you see yourself and everything in your life.

Decide the type of person you want to be, and prove it to yourself with small wins.

So, do we have the same 24 hours in a day? Absolutely not. The original quote is a worthless sentiment. It’s like Live Love Laugh. It means nothing.

Daily Notion Focus Planner by Myke Metzger

After years of testing, trialing, failing, fixing, and learning – I’ve created the perfect Daily Focus Planner I use on a daily basis to help you:

  • Organize your day
  • Feel productive again
  • Eliminate your to-do list
  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Improve your daily routines
  • Make progress on your projects
  • Become more productive at work
  • Free up your time for what you love
  • Clear your plate so you can be present

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