Time Is On Your Side, Despite What You May Believe - Guest Post by Mike Stopforth

James Preston 6 7:01 AM
Mike sporting typical Social Media fashion.
It's an immense privilege to have one of South Africa's prominent and influential Entrepreneurs doing a Guest Post here on jamespreston.org.  In 2009 Mike was voted as one of the Mail & Guardian's "300 Young South Africans To Take To Lunch", is the CEO of Cerebra, a hugely successful Communications Agency, and is also a noted blogger on his website, among many other things.  

I've been a fan of Mike's work for almost 3 years now, after being pointed to his blog by a friend of mine.  Engaging with him on Social Media, it is clear Mike is passionate about life, but more than that, committed to making a difference.  Especially in this glorious land of South Africa.  It makes perfect sense to have a man like this contributing to this Blog, giving us another tool in our quiver to get on with the job of Changing The World!  

He has kindly agreed to do an Interview on the Sonic Substance Podcast later this year, which I personally can't wait for.  But until then, enjoy this great post challenging our relationship with TIME...

Every Monday morning, on every social platform I bother looking at, it’s the same thing:

“Dear Monday, can you please die”

“Two words I hate: 1. Work. 2. Monday.”

“For once in my life I would love to wake up, turn on the news and hear “Monday has been canceled, go back to sleep.”"


Sure, weekends are cool. There’s sport, and family, and parties, and lots of food. I get that not all of us have jobs we enjoy, let alone love. So I’m going to do my very best not to sound like a sanctimonious twat, but…

I think we’re getting this wrong. Horribly wrong. I feel like most of us are in a non-stop battle with time. We wish it away, and then complain that we never have any.

That’s right. It’s always those people on my timeline or newsfeed that complain most about it being Monday, or the weekend being over, or “Oh-My-Gosh-Winter-is-here” that also seem to complain about never having enough time.

To be completely honest, I think very few of us have a right to complain about not having enough time. I mean, how dare I complain about not having enough time when people like Elon Musk exist? (James note: Musk is arguably one of greatest Entrepreneurs to come out of SA) The man is changing the universe with every breath he takes, and I don’t see him tweeting about how much he wishes it were Friday. Or how he wishes he could clone himself.

He just gets stuff done.

I don’t see Richard Branson complaining either. Or Marissa Meyer. Or Bono. Or Desmond Tutu.

Why is it then that the world’s busiest, most significant and successful people, who should have more right than anyone to complain, never complain about not having enough time?

I recently started running. Because I’m running and enjoying it, I’m feeling fitter. Because I’m feeling fitter, I started swimming and going to gym more. Because I’m committed to that, I’m eating better. Eating better requires effort and time. So every day I commit at least two hours to fitness. Come evening time, I’m physically finished. So I crash at about 10, and sleep like the dead for 7 or 8 hours.

So I’ve taken 2 hours out of every day, am getting to bed earlier and sleeping longer. Logically this would spell disaster for work, but I’ve easily doubled my productivity and have never felt like I’m achieving more. And it’s also not a “I’m exercising now so life is awesome” sermon either, it’s something else…

Although it might seem like I’m DOING more, I’m not. I think I’m just doing more of the “right” things.

I think there are really only two categories of activity we can choose to spend time on. Those that add life, and those that drain life. It’s no great mystery discerning the difference between the two either – I think we inherently know. The harder part is choosing the better option. If you choose the better option enough, it becomes a habit.

I used to hate getting out of bed, spent all day procrastinating (you know – those days when you’re procrastinating SO hard you actually manually refresh your Twitter timeline – seventy times), and all week hoping for that one thing on the weekend that would possibly sustain me for the next week. And yet I still had the nerve to tell people I was “hectic” and “manic”. What a clown.

What a lame way to live.

The really weird thing is that I feel like I have more time than ever. I’m busy, yes, but because I’ve made a conscious effort to replace the things I know I shouldn’t be doing with the things I should be. I’m not playing less golf, or having less rad catch-ups with friends, or watching less movies. I’m still doing those things and it’s important that I do because in my world they ADD life.

The more time I give to things that drain life, the more I’m cheating myself. The uglier the world looks. The sadder I get. I owe it to myself to boot those things.

I don’t think we need to fight tooth and nail with time. I think you, me, and time can find a happy, mutually-beneficial middle ground. Things undoubtedly move faster every day, I think spending time doing things that matter can slow it all down a tad.

Ultimately, life’s too short to wish any of it away. So rock every day. Even Monday!
What about YOU?  What are some of the things you could stop doing and some of the things you could start in order to be more productive in everyday life?


Absolutely brilliant post, Mike! I couldn't agree more! Love the writing skill ;) also epic theme James, I've trained you so well :P

This is awesome! Felt like he's been watching me when he said "refresh your twitter feed 70 times..." haha! Thanks for the inspiration.

Fascinating subject because it applies to every single person on planet earth whether we are a CEO or a street sweeper. Love the motivation and encouragement to re-assess our time wasters. The whole tone of this blog resonates so well with me

Haha, indeed you have trained me well. Although, remember, this is Blogspot, not Wordpress! You'll be surprised what you can do with Blogspot! ;) Mike is indeed a great writer.

Yep! That Twitter refresh comment resonated with me, too! Classic!

It's a great subject, and a great way to approach the subject, as well! Absolutely right, everyone can relate to this. Thanks for the comment, Trish!

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